Venezuelan opposition party take assembly majority - plus more 11am zedlines

Despite recent measures taken by Preident Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan opposition party has taken its assembly majority (image: creative commons)

Qld man injured in Tasmanian rockclimbing incident

A Queensland man has been seriously injured after plunging eight metres at Cape Raoul on the Tasman Peninsula.

The accident occurred yesterday afternoon after the man was climbing a rock pillar known as the Pole Dancer.

The man was secured by his fellow climbers before being airlifted out and flown to Royal Hobart Hospital.

Further sulfuric acid leaks in North-West Queensland

Sulfuric acid may have leaked from a second wagon on a train that derailed in North-West Queensland more than a week ago.

The train was carrying over 800,000 litres of sulfuric acid when it derailed near Julia Creek on December 27.

The initial estimate was that 31,500 had spilled from one wagon, however it has become apparent that a second wagon may also have sprung a leak.

The wet conditions have hindered the construction of a temporary track and recovery efforts in the area.

New discovery regarding celestial magnetic fields

An international group of astronomers, led by the University of Sydney, have found that stars only slightly bigger than the sun have strong magnetic fields.

Stars only slightly bigger than the sun have been found to have internal magnetic fields up to 10 millions times that of Earth.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Dennis Stello of the University of Sydney says these findings are extremely exciting as it was previously thought only five to ten per cent of stars held strong magnetic fields.

Professor Stello went on to say suchs fields were originally regarded as insignificant for understanding stellar evolution, however the new findings shows this assumption needs to be revisited.

Politicians get foul-mouthed in Jamie Briggs fallout

The fallout continues from Liberal MP Jamie Briggs’ inappropriate behaviour towards a young public servant in a Hong Kong bar.

On Monday Peter Dutton mistakenly sent to journalist Samantha Maiden a text intended for Mr Briggs, which described Ms Maiden as a “mad witch”.

Yesterday Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm complained about politicians “looking for offence”. When a twitter user asked how he would feel if abused, he said he would call the person “a c..t”.

Meanwhile, deputy Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce yesterday defended Mr Dutton and said that he “never wants our country to be completely sterile."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has criticised Briggs, Dutton, and the anonymous Liberal member who leaked a photo circulated by Mr Briggs of the woman who made the complaint, but ruled out an inquiry.

Venezuela's opposition party sworn in to assembly majority

Venezuela’s opposition party has taken its new position as assembly majority despite moves from president Nicholas Maduro to restrict their power.

The assembly election in December gave opposition parties a two-thirds majority, which would have given them special powers including removing cabinet ministers from their posts and forcing legislation to a referendum.

That so-called “super majority” though was scuppered when the national assembly controversially refused to swear in four members due to electoral fraud allegations.

The period between the election and yesterday’s swearing in of the new assembly saw other moves by president Maduro to protect his power; including a fast-tracked approval of supreme court judges who can reject legislation, and a presidential decree allowing him to appoint the heads of the central bank.

Maduro’s term as Venezuelan president ends in 2019, though opposition head Jorge Borges has vowed to find a method to change the government.

Islamic State's territory shrunk in 2015

According the the US-led coalition, Islamic State’s territory shrank by 40 per cent in Iraq, and by 20 per cent in Syria in 2015, as international forces have pushed it out of several cities.

Islamic State swept through a third of Iraq in 2014, seizing Mosul, the largest city in the north, and reaching the vicinity of Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says 2016 will be the year of victory on the hardline group.