Astronauts reach International Space Station, and more Zedlines

A Soyuz spacecraft has reached the International Space Station (ISS), completing the first two-man flight there in over a decade. Image source: Wikipedia

Russian Cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and US Astronaut Jack Fischer successfully docked into the ISS, ready to begin a five-month mission alongside three astronauts already stationed there.

The crew is set to conduct several experiments in orbit, including making a Russian dairy product.


Community event helping fund mental health initiatives

A community event has been instrumental in providing the funds needed to support a Central Queensland program helping prevent suicide among youth.

Rockhampton’s Black Dog Ball, which has been held annually since 2013 in October to coincide with mental health week, has raised over $100,000 for mental health initiatives.

Funds from last year’s event are helping more than 300 youth meet the challenges of mental health through art, with outback artist Sandy McLean supporting the project.


New t-shirts feature iconic Gold Coast locations

Five local artists have created t-shirts representing five iconic locations along the Gold Coast, in an effort to offer a unique alternative to the usual tacky souvenir options currently available.

Work on the Undercurrent artistic project, headed by Carly Snodgrass, began in January, and will include t-shirts theming Surfers Paradise, Burleigh Heads, Coolangatta, Mermaid Beach and Currumbin.

Ms Snodgrass said it is only the beginning, with more feature designs to come from other local artists representing different areas of the Gold Coast.

T-shirts are screen-printed in Burleigh by Monstar Screenprinting, with $2 from every t-shirt sold to be donated to Surf Life Saving Queensland.


Shorten promises to build 55,000 new homes if elected

Labor Leader Bill Shorten has promised to build 55,000 new homes if his party wins government.

The Labor party’s eight-point plan promises the new homes would be built over three years and boost employment by 25,000 new jobs per year.

The plan will also crack down on investors, by penalising those with empty properties in major cities, and banning the ability to borrow from self-managed super funds for real estate purchases.

Labor MP, Anthony Albanese said while there is no single solution, the overall policy will make housing more affordable by using a range of measures.


Medical council rules out IVF gender selection

Australia’s medical council have refused future parents the ability to choose the gender of their child through new national IVF guidelines, but say the door remains open for change in the future.

On Thursday, the National Health and Medical Research Council banned gender selection for non-medical purposes in the new guidelines for assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

Whilst the Australian Health Ethics Committee had considered condoning sex selection in certain circumstances, the council ultimately concluded that Australians are not yet ready for such a radical change.

Chair of the Ethics Committee, Ian Olver​, said further public discussion needed to take place before sex-selection could be recommended.


Belgian Man wins competition to live in cliffside cell

A Belgian man will realise his ‘dream job’ of becoming a hermit after winning a competition to live in a 350-year-old cliffside cell above the town of Saalfelden, in Western Austria.

Stan Vanuytrecht, a former artillery officer, beat 49 other candidates for the position, and will now live in one of Europe’s last hermitages, albeit with no heating, running water, internet or pay.

Mr Vanuytrecht, who is a Catholic deacon, said he is looking forward to balancing the peaceful scenery with the many visitors he is expected to have during the day.