Robert Irwin celebrates birthday at Australia Zoo


Robert Irwin has celebrated his 17th birthday in style, surrounded by animals, family, friends and a mammoth diprotodon cake at Australia Zoo.

The zoo let children in for free in honour of the youngest Irwin, who took to social media on the weekend to ask people to come and enjoy the animals.

“As 2020 comes to an end, I think we’re all looking back at what a crazy year it was … It’s been very challenging for all of us,” he said in a video on Sunday.

“I wanted to reach out to all of you to let you know you’re all invited (to my birthday celebrations) … Please do stop by the zoo.

“There will be activities, free birthday cake and ice cream. Hopefully it’s a day for you all to relax with some animals amid this crazy time.

“There’s no better way to unwind than a day spent with our beautiful family of animals.”

Hundreds of visitors packed the Australia Zoo Crocoseum to wish him a happy birthday and watch him feed the semi-aquatic reptiles.

Robert was just two when his father Steve died after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb.

Sister Bindi, who is 23 weeks pregnant, penned a touching tribute to her brother on Instagram, writing “Happy birthday to my amazing brother! Your kind heart and fantastic sense of humour makes my every day. Our baby girl is going to love her ‘funcle’ (fun uncle) so very much. You’re one of the brightest lights the world has ever seen. I’ll always be here for you. Love you!”

Mother Terri shared two photos of Robert side-by-side – one of him as a four-year-old in a hollow tree, the other of him as a 17-year-old in the same tree.

“I remember the hollow tree that was your castle when you were four,” she wrote.

“Today you are seventeen. May the simple things in life always bring you happiness. Every day you make me happy. And proud. And I will love you beyond forever.”

Bindi’s husband Chandler Powell, who is a close friend of Robert’s, also shared a touching birthday message alongside a photo of the Irwin siblings and himself holding a mini Australia Zoo work shirt.

“Wishing a happy 17th birthday to my awesome brother-in-law,” Chandler wrote.

“Whether it’s going for a surf, feeding a crocodile or late night spotlighting, I’m always grateful for all of the adventures we have! Can’t wait to celebrate with you today, Robert.”



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Oldest living Kangaroos captain Dick Poole celebrates 90th birthday


Dick Poole brought up many milestones during a fantasic playing career in rugby league, and on Friday he celebrated the off-field variety.

Australia’s oldest living Kangaroos captain marked his 90th birthday with family and friends at his Earlwood home. Poole’s first-grade career began with Newtown way back in 1950, where he played 115 games before a 32-game stint at Wests. He returned to the Bluebags as their coach after hanging up the boots.

Poole’s playing career was a storied one; the centre captained the Kangaroos to World Cup glory and also represented NSW on 10 occasions.

Even in his twilight years, he remains as sharp off the field as he was on it. Asked what he remembers about his playing days, he quipped “I can’t remember” before providing an insight into how much rugby league has changed over the years.



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Bendigo Pioneers’ Jack Ginnivan hoping for a double celebration of birthday and AFL club selection


He tried to make the most of the situation, working to build up his body with weights and running plenty. But when it came to playing footy, all he could do for a while was have a kick with a mate who lives 10 minutes away.

“The strength side was pretty easy with my mate. The actual works on the game was a little bit challenging,” Ginnivan said.

Bendigo’s Jack Ginnivan (with ball in hand) hopes for a double celebration on December 9.

But he is back training with his local club Strathfieldsaye and will be able to do a bit of work with the Bendigo Pioneers ahead of the draft.

“I get to train with some people that I hardly ever get to,” he said of training at Strathfieldsaye.

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“Pioneers starts on Sunday so it’s good just to get those couple of sessions in before Pioneers starts and then we’ll get right into it.”

With AFL list sizes cut and having been denied the opportunity to stake his claim, Ginnivan is mindful that things mightn’t go his way on draft night.

“[I’m] pretty nervous at the moment. A lot of the year I was focusing on football, school was playing a little bit of second fiddle. But whatever happens on the night happens and you’ve just got to move on if it doesn’t work.”

He is mates with Port Adelaide’s Kane Farrell and North Melbourne’s Flynn Perez – both fellow Bendigo products – the latter of whom is advising him simply to keep working hard. He has also been counselled by Bailey Henderson, another ex-Pioneers player who missed out in the draft a few years ago and has since played with Richmond’s VFL side.

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Henderson has urged him to “make sure you have that ‘plan B’ so you can adapt if it doesn’t happen.”

Ginnivan made headlines six years ago when he kicked 119 goals in a season for Newstead in a team coached by his father Craig.

Jack reflects proudly on that feat, which Craig made sure only got so far.

“It’s a pretty cool thing. Dad kicked 128 one year so he didn’t want me to break that so in the last couple of games he always used to chuck me in the backline. It wasn’t great!”

Other than training, preparing to get his driver’s licence and seeing his girlfriend Christijana, who he hasn’t seen much of lately while she’s been focusing on trying to get into a university law course, Ginnivan has taken some shifts as a lifeguard to fill his time over the coming weeks now that his year 12 exams are finished at Bendigo Senior Secondary College.

He’s also heading down to Melbourne this week for a combined Vic Metro and Vic Country training session; the last chance for Victorian talent to show their wares to AFL recruiters before the draft.

Away from football he’s eyeing a career as a policeman.

“Me and my mum used to watch a lot of crime shows when I was younger. I’ve always watched that and thought it was pretty cool. My cricket coach is a cop [too],” Ginnivan said.

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Bowler’s ‘breakout’ bowling performance on 17th birthday



FOR his 17th birthday, Jack Dwyer’s gift to himself was a match-winning five-fa against the previously unbeaten DBCT Poole Cup ladder-leaders.

The Brothers pace ace, who travels from Proserpine each weekend to play, claimed the key wicket of Walkerston opener Jakob Frerichs in his first over, before returning for a scintillating second spell and running roughshod through the lower order.

Dwyer finished with 5/31 from eight overs, including a near-perfect wicket maiden in the final over, blemished only by a first-ball wide.

His breakthrough bowling masterclass was the catalyst for a brilliant Brothers victory, lifting his side into outright top spot with one round to play before Christmas.

Brothers skipper Matthew Wicks has long been an advocate for Dwyer’s bowling potential.

The youngster started making waves at the club last season and has gone from strength to strength this season.

“To be honest it was no different to what he gives us every other week,” Wicks said.

“It was just one of those days where luck is on your side.

“He puts out quality every week and it was good he got the rewards for it.”

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Brothers batsman Michael Comerford said the early wicket of Frerichs, one of the competition’s best bats, was a key turning point early in the contest.

“He got Frerichs in his first over which was a pretty big scalp. Then his second spell was really controlled,” Comerford said.

“He and Wicksy came up with a plan together and Jack was able to execute. Four of his five wickets came in that second spell which is what allowed us to really tighten up (on Walkerston).”

Comerford said the team had joked Dwyer’s “breakout game” was on the cards when he arrived at the ground on Sunday celebrating his 17th.

“We were joking before the game about things going his way for his birthday. It’s great for him that it did,” he said.

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Celeste Manno’s family grieve lost 24th birthday


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Ms Manno would have turned 24 on Sunday.

“I’ve been trying to find the words to write this for what feels like forever now, and I’ve been putting it off because I didn’t want it to be real,” her brother, Jayden, wrote on Sunday.

“I’ve always said of all the Mannos, you are the brightest, wisest, and most certainly the toughest. And you were.

“You were your family’s rock, pillar of strength and protector. You were a devoted daughter, niece, sister and aunt.”

Mr Manno, 33, said that despite being the older brother, he felt he always had more to learn from his sister.

“I’m sorry we didn’t get to spend as much time together as we would have liked, but I will forever cherish the time we had together,” he said.

“My daughter, who you were so proud and excited to call your niece, will always grow to hear stories of how amazing her Zia Celeste was and I promise you I will do my absolute best to raise her and to empower her to be as strong and as wise as you.

People have been laying flowers for Celeste Manno, who was found dead at her home in Mernda.Credit:Paul Jeffers

“Happy birthday my little sister and rest in peace. I love you.”

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In the days after her death, Jayden said his sister had been extremely excited about seeing her baby niece Daisy this week as coronavirus restrictions lifted.

Mr Sako and Ms Manno were former colleagues at a call centre in Mill Park.

Ms Manno’s family say Mr Sako became “obsessed” with her after she was kind to him on the day he was fired more than a year ago.

The family says Ms Manno went to police with concerns she was being stalked and an intervention order was in place at the time of her death.

An online petition to tighten laws around stalking has garnered almost 5000 signatures.

On Friday, police seized a mobile phone during a search for evidence in the area between Ms Manno’s home and Mernda police station.

A makeshift shrine outside Ms Manno’s home also continues to grow, with dozens of people leaving floral tributes. Friends and family members have also left cards, candles, picture frames and a Care Bear.

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Grandad dies day after 54th birthday following missed GP appointment during lockdown


A grandad died a day after his 54th birthday following a missed GP appointment during lockdown.

Andy Steels tested negative on two occasions for  coronavirus, despite developing a chesty cough around the same time that the pandemic was taking its grip on the UK.

However, co-owner of AJS Tyres Mr Steels, from East Riding, was actually suffering from stage four lung cancer.

Having had Covid-19 tests in March and April – both of which revealed no trace of the virus – the “workaholic” ploughed on, eventually getting a phone appointment with a doctor on June 15, reports Hull Live.

His wife Jo said: “Andy was a workaholic, he always said he’d die with his boots on.

“Back in March Andy started to feel chesty, he had a cough and was immediately tested for Covid-19, it came back negative. He was tested again in April, negative again.

“Andy had a cough all his life, but this cough was different.

“We tried to get in to see a GP in March but couldn’t and Andy wasn’t getting any better.”



Andy was admitted to Castle Hill Hospital for treatment but was found to be too unwell for chemotherapy

In June, the loving husband, dad and grandad was referred for an emergency chest x-ray and, after numerous tests, he was phoned at work by his GP who revealed his devastating diagnosis.

He had developed stage four lung cancer.

Andy was admitted to Castle Hill Hospital for treatment but was found to be too unwell for chemotherapy. The cancer had spread throughout his body, including into his liver and kidneys.

His funeral was held on August 18.

Jo said: “The medical professionals kept saying that if he’d got here quicker there would’ve been more that they could do to stop the tumour spreading.

“He was too poorly for chemotherapy, the cancer had spread too far, by now it was in his liver and kidneys.

“Andy died within six weeks of his diagnosis.”

Andy is one of an estimated 50,000 people who have missed a cancer diagnosis due to the pandemic, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

He passed away the day after his 54th birthday, leading his wife to lead a campaign to raise money for the charity.

“Andy and I were always ‘go-to people’; we were fixers. We always had a positive state of mind and I want to keep that going through this fundraising for Macmillan,” she said.

“Cancer hasn’t gone anywhere and families all over the country are losing people too soon because of delays to diagnosis and treatment. We can’t let cancer become the ‘Forgotten C’.”

Jo has organised numerous fundraising events including a Macmillan coffee morning, charity golf day, Christmas raffle and more, to raise vital funds for the charity.

Commenting on the dire situation many families are facing, Julie Hoole, Macmillan’s Strategic Partnership manager for Yorkshire, said: “Because of the pandemic, Macmillan estimate that an additional 50,000 people are missing a cancer diagnosis and others are having their appointments disrupted. It is unbearable to hear stories like that of Jo and Andy, where delays have had an effect on treatment options.

“Cancer doesn’t stop for Covid-19 and neither can our health services. Macmillan is doing whatever it takes to support people with cancer and our exhausted NHS staff, but we need more. Governments need to promise every person with cancer that they won’t be forgotten and ensure cancer services are protected, come what may.”

You can donate to Andy’s cause here.





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Philippines’ Duterte absolves police chief over COVID-19 lockdown birthday party


MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday (Nov 14) cleared his newly appointed police chief of any violation of rules when he celebrated his birthday in May during one of the world’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns.

In a national address, Duterte defended police chief Debold Sinas, promoted on Monday to national police commander from Manila police boss, and noted his appointee’s achievements despite a social media stir over perceived special treatment.

Sinas had led anti-drug operations in which thousands of people were killed.

“If he has (committed) any offence, he is pardoned already. I do not see any wrongdoing with moral implications and malice,” Duterte said, adding that Sinas was not at fault for receiving a surprise festivity.

Sinas has been under investigation by the justice ministry for celebrating his birthday with fellow officers in May despite coronavirus curbs and at a time police were arresting thousands of people for quarantine violations. He has apologised for “causing anxiety to the public”.

It was not immediately clear if Duterte’s comments meant those investigations were no longer active. Contacted for comment by Reuters, justice minister Menardo Guevarra said in a text message: “I did not hear what the president said exactly. I need to know the context.”

Sinas’s appointment to lead the Philippines’ 200,000-strong police force was met with activists’ concerns of unchecked human rights abuses. Rights group say the police had summarily executed suspects, but police say those suspects had violently resisted arrest. 

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Diego Maradona hospitalised, 60th birthday, Pele, COVID-19, GOAT


Argentine football great Diego Maradona was admitted to hospital Monday for medical checks, his personal doctor announced.

Less than a week after his 60th birthday, the footballing legend was taken to hospital but his doctor was quick to play down the reason.

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“It’s not a serious situation and we didn’t come for an emergency,” Leopoldo Luque told reporters outside the clinic in La Plata, south of Buenos Aires.

Though he gave no details of Maradona’s condition, Luque said his patient would undergo a series of medical check-ups.

“He’s an elderly patient with many pressures in his life. It’s a time when we must help him. It’s very difficult to be Maradona,” Luque said of the star.

The doctor ruled out any link to the coronavirus pandemic, which is ravaging the South American country, much of it still under confinement.

Maradona, who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse and poor health, is considered at high risk of coronavirus complications should he be infected.

He has suffered two heart attacks in the past and contracted hepatitis.

“Diego is fine, but he can be much better. I didn’t find him the way I wanted to see him. I had a previous talk with him, I told him: ‘Let’s go to a clinic to improve a little,’ and he said: ‘Well, let’s go,’” said Luque.

The former Argentina captain, who led his team to triumph in the 1986 World Cup, is currently coach of Argentine SuperLiga club Gimnasia.

Along with Brazil’s Pele, Maradona is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time.

Pele paid tribute to his fellow footballing legend.

“My great friend, Maradona. I will always applaud you. I will always root for you. May your journey be long and may you always smile, and make me smile too! Happy Birthday!” Pele wrote on Instagram, along with a picture of him and Maradona.

The message came a week after Maradona wished Pele a happy birthday on his 80th, joining what he called “the universal tribute to the King.” Pele and Maradona often vie for the title of best footballer in history. The Brazilian and Argentine were jointly named best player of the 20th century by FIFA in 2000.

He joined his players briefly at the club’s training ground on his birthday, but had obvious difficulty walking and had to be helped away by his assistants after staying only 30 minutes.

“It breaks my heart to see him like this,” one of his daughters, Giannina, tweeted the next day.

“I didn’t go to see him that day, but the day before he was very well,” his doctor told reporters outside the clinic in La Plata, where Gimnasia is based.

Maradona went into self-isolation last month after a bodyguard showed symptoms of the virus, though he later tested negative.



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Doubleview Primary School students celebrate 75th birthday together


CLASSMATES of a Perth primary school will celebrate their milestone birthday along the beach they spent much of their childhood at.

Four 1957 graduates of Doubleview Primary School have formed a committee to organise a reunion at Rendezvouz Hotel in Scarborough.

“This is a fancy one because we’re all turning 75 years of age, so it’s like a celebration of it,” committee member Noel Clarkson said.

“It’s probably going to be the last one…we’re getting to the age where some of us may not be around.”

Camera IconThe student cohort in 1955. Credit: Supplied

Committee member Barry Chesson said the reunion would feature music from the 1950s, to bring back memories and prompt patrons to reminisce their time at Doubleview PS.

“People who went here spent a lot of time on Scarborough beach, so we thought that we’ll build on that and have our venue down by the beach at Rendezvous Hotel,” he said.

“Doubleview PS was built during an unprecedented post-war period when there was a large population growth, so schools were springing up everywhere.”

L-R: Noel Clarkson, Barry Chesson, Christine Fogarty-Reston and Rob Davenport in front of one of the original Doubleview PS buildings, at International School of WA.
Camera IconL-R: Noel Clarkson, Barry Chesson, Christine Fogarty-Reston and Rob Davenport in front of one of the original Doubleview PS buildings, at International School of WA. Credit: Nadia Budihardjo

Fellow committee member Christine Fogarty-Reston said classes would have more than 50 students.

“We had 63 in one of our classes that one time,” she said.

The reunion will be held at Rendezvouz Hotel in Scarborough on November 8.

L-R: Noel Clarkson, Christine Fogarty-Reston and Rob Davenport at the new Doubleview Primary School sign.
Camera IconL-R: Noel Clarkson, Christine Fogarty-Reston and Rob Davenport at the new Doubleview Primary School sign. Credit: Nadia Budihardjo

“In those days, kids would wander around out of the schoolgrounds…It was just an easy life, in primary school,” fellow committee member Rob Davenport said.

“I always think about our swimming lessons, there were no swimming pools in Perth then.

“We learnt to swim in the Swan River…so we would swim among all the jellyfish.”

Doubleview PS moved into its new location in 2018 while the original buildings became home to the International School of WA.



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Texas boy, 3, dies after accidentally shooting himself in the chest at birthday party


A Texas child is dead after accidentally shooting himself in the chest during his birthday party, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were dispatched to a home in Porter, Texas — about 25 miles north of Houston — on Saturday for a wellness check, according to a press release.

When the officers arrived, they were told the child, 3, who has not been identified, had been shot in the chest. Family and friends had gathered at the home for the birthday party.

While playing cards they heard the gunshot go off.

The child found the gun, a pistol, after it fell out of a family member’s pocket, according to the press release.

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The boy was taken to a nearby fire station where he later died from his wounds.

It was unclear if an investigation was ongoing into the death, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said its “thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this tragic accident.”



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