Queensland missing out on $40 million opportunity and more 8AM Zedlines.

The Australia Sex Party claims the state economy could be boosted by tens of millions of dollars, should the government introduce just one nude beach. Source: Wikipeida Creative Commons

Catholic schools shut-down over wages, working conditions

More than 200 Catholic Queensland schools will be affected by teachers protesting over unfair conditions today.

Over 8000 Catholic school staff will go on strike on Thursday morning, bartering for better pay and fairer working conditions.

Members of the Independent Education Union of Australia have been in negotiations for more than 10 months, wanting equal wages to their NSW counterparts and adjustments over increased workloads.

Parents have been asked to keep their children at home, and a list of affected schools can be found at the Queensland Independent Education Union website.


Push for Queensland's first nude beach

The Australian Sex Party says Queensland is missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of tourist revenue by refusing to legalise nude beaches.

In a submission to the Queensland Parliament last night, the party calculates that one beach in Noosa could contribute an additional $40 million to the state economy if nude bathing is allowed.

Queensland is the only state in Australia that does not legally recognise nude beaches.

The Sex Party submission called on the government to allow local councils to declare beaches as “clothing optional”.


Medicinal cannabis laws passed

Medicinal cannabis will now be grown in Australia, after changes to the Narcotic Drugs Act were passed in the Senate last night.

The changes mean a national licensing scheme for growers can now be established, allowing for regulation of the medicinal crops.

Health Minister Sussan Ley said those in need would be able to access locally-produced medicinal cannabis with a valid prescription, under the new scheme.


Former ABC director slams government undermining 

In his final address as ABC boss last night, Mark Scott condemned successive Australian governments over continued cuts to the ABC, claiming they are the biggest challenge the ABC faces.

Mr Scott suggested merging the ABC and SBS stations as a cost saving measure, claiming the two services have become increasingly similar over the years and often compete for the same audience and content.

At the same time he made the statements, the SBS launched a 24 hour Arabic broadcast and online news service, Arabic24.

An SBS spokesman said: "Our sole focus is on delivering unique services to Australian audiences at a time when it has never been more important to promote the value of cultural diversity."


Palestinian journalist nears death after hunger strike

A Palestinian journalist is close to death as he continues to refuse food and water while being detained by Israeli forces.

Muhammad al-Qeq is 92 days into his hunger strike, after being arrested in November last year over his alleged involvement with Islamist group Hamas.

Prisoner’s rights groups said his imprisonment was enforced by an administrative detention order allowing prisoners to be jailed indefinitely without charges or evidence brought against them.

Protester’s believe he is one of more than 600 Palestinians held by Israeli authorities without trial or charges.


Indian women now serving in army, navy, air force

India’s president has announced that women will be allowed to serve in combat roles across all sections of the nation’s army, navy, and air force ranks.

President Pranab Mukherjee said future recruitment practices would include women for active military roles in India’s armed forces, despite the nation’s history of denying similar initiatives.

Women’s rights activists have endorsed the move, but say bringing real gender parity into the nation’s defence will be a slow process.