STATE OF THE NATIONSaturday, February 4, 2017

State of the nationNeed a national news snapshot first thing –well, we have you covered.

​►SYDNEY:It was supposed to be a family holiday to discover his homeland of Egypt.

But when a Sydney teenager was detained and tortured after he allegedly ran away to join Islamic militants during the disastrous trip, the holiday led to a mental breakdown, his father claims. Read on.

One of the boys, in white, uploaded videos of him converting other young people to Islam. Photo: Facebook

​►BATHURST:Adopted Bathurst local Grant Denyer has so far been impressed with the calibre of cars and drivers from around the world that hasbeen ondisplay at Mount Panorama, as he prepares to drive in the Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race on Sunday.

Mr Denyer, who is a part of Keltic Racing alongside Anthony and Klark Quinn, will be driving a McLaren 650 GT3.

He said the race is becoming a “must attend” event for some of the world’sbiggest and best drivers. Read on.

Bathurst 12 Hour. Photo: Nathan Wong.

​►MUDGEE:A NSW school bus driver is appealing against the severity of his penalty after two pre-schoolers wereleft on a school bus in the NSW central west for six hours.

Themother of one of the boyssaid her four-year-old sonwas left traumatised and covered in his own sweat and urine after he became trapped on the bus in Mudgeefor the entireschool day. More here.

One of the two pre-schoolers with his mother, who was left on a bus for six hours. Both mother and son cannot be named for legal reasons. Photo: Supplied

​►SCONE: Horsetrainer Greg Bennett will hand in his trainer’s licence after The Championship in April and take up a position atAquis Farm in Queensland.

Bennett, who won the Country Championship with Clearly Innocent last year, is looking forward to a new challenge, where he will oversee the education of Aquis’racing stock.

ON THE MOVE: Scone trainer Greg Bennett will leave the area after The Championship in April. Pic: Katrina Partridge Photography

His Scone stable will be taken over by Albury trainer Brett Cavanough. More here.

​►MOWBRAY:Tasmania Police have charged two men with the murder of missing Mowbray man Bradley Breward.

Mr Breward was last seen by friends on New Year’s Eve and was reported missing to Tasmania Police on January 17.

Bradley Breward.

Investigations into his disappearance resulted in the arrest of 25-year-old Ricky John Izard, of South Launceston, and 41-year-old Mark Rodney Jones, of West Launceston. Read on.

​►NEWCASTLE: A “detailed” investigationhas begun that will see around 200 samples taken from land believed to have been tainted with toxic chemicals from a former gasworks at Waratah. Read on.

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Crews drilling at a property on Turton Road in Waratah on Friday. The homes have been contaminated by the old gasworks. Picture: Marina Neil

National news►Liberal Party MPs who support same-sex marriage will push to abandon the government’s plebiscite policy over the next fortnight in favour of a free vote on the floor of Parliament, in a move that could divide the Coalition and create a fresh political headache for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Rainbow Families opposed to a plebiscite on same sex marriage outside Parliament House in Canberra in September 2016. Photo: Andrew Meares

Fairfax Media understands Liberal MPs including Dean Smith, Warren Entsch, Tim Wilson, Trent Zimmerman, Trevor Evans and Melissa Price are among those leading discussions on how to advance the issue. More here.

► Lucky Gattellari, the Crown’s star witness, sat in the witness box with a fixed smile on his face, twirling his reading glasses around with some vigour.

He had just listened to a phone tap. It was October 8, 2010 and Ron Medich’s son Peter was heard apologising to Gattellari that his father wasn’t going to be able to meet up at the Babylon massage parlour in Haymarket as arranged.

Ron Medich allegedly baulked at spending $300,000 on a contract killing. Photo: Nick Moir

Gattellari explained to a Supreme Court jury hearing Mr Medich’s murder trial that he and Mr Medich needed to talk in person as they were sure their phone calls were being recorded

National weather radarInternational news►USA:US President Donald Trump says his conversation with Malcolm Turnbull was “very civil”, after news of an adversarial phone call between the allies hit headlines around the world.

On Thursday, theWashington Postbroke news of the tense call, with White House sources saying Mr Trump labelled a refugee deal between the US and “the worst deal ever”.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting at the White House on February 2.

He also complained the call was “the worst by far” of any world leader that day, before abruptly ending the conversation 25 minutes into the scheduled hour, sources said. Read the full report.

►INDIA:Ansuya Deshmukh recently realised her dream – to write her name. The name she has had her entire life but could not write because she never went to school. At 90, she’s relieved she has managed it.

Deshmukh, a widow, has lived in Phangane, a village in India’s Maharashtra state, ever since she was married.Her two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren live with her. It’s her youngest granddaughter who escorts her to school every morning.

80-year-old Ramabai Ganpat Khandakle is one of 30 elderly women who are going to school for the first time in their life in the Thane district, India. Photo: Allison Joyce/Newslions

Deshmukh attends a School for Grannies (Aajibaichi Shala), probably the only one of its kind in India.

This day in history211:Roman EmperorSeptimius Severusdies, leaving the Roman Empire in the hands of his two quarrelsome sons, Caracalla and Geta

960:Coronation of Zhao Kuangyin as Emperor Taizu of the Song, initiating three centuries of Song Dynasty dominance in southern China

1789:1st US electoral college choosesGeorge Washingtonas President and John Adams as Vice-President

1859:The Codex Sinaiticus is discovered in Egypt.

1969:The Palestine National Congress appointsYasser Arafatchairman of the PLO

Source: Onthisday

Faces of :Sophia ShaferSophia Shafer is surrounded by love.

Her birth makes herthe fifth living generationunder family matriarchHazel Grey.

“When I first heard my great granddaughter Christina was pregnant, I thought oh my goodness, I’m now a great, great grandmother!

“I never thought I would be around to see the fifth generation of my family, it’s just wonderful. It was such a joyous time when Sophia came into the world,” Mrs Grey, 84,said. Read on.

FAMILY LOVE: Five generations from one family is pretty special. Little Sophia Shafer, 9-and-a-half weeks old, with her mother, Christina Shafer, 19, grandmother Maria Cox, great grandmother Margaret Grey and the matriarch of the family, great, great grandmother Hazel Grey. Picture: Kia Woodmore

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