Good morning everyone. Who’s excited for a shorter working week this week?
We’ve got a sunny day ahead today – Bendigo 25, Maryborough 25, Castlemaine 24, Redesdale 26, and Echuca 27.
Catch up on news here:
Should the Bendigo Easter Festival be smoke-free?
Bendigo leaders “appalled” at the number of smokers along the Easter parade route this year want organisers to consider making the event tobacco-free. More here.
Maldon puts on a grand day out | Photos
More than 100 parade entries filled the town centre of Maldon on Monday. The town held its 140th Easter fair this weekend, which finished with a grand procession parade on Monday morning. More here.
Regional drinking cultures explored
Limited cultural activities in rural areas lead people to drink as a way to socialise, a study suggests. More here.
Fitzpatrick signs as North Geelong coach
Bendigo will be without its leading wicket taker next season after the appointment of Nathan Fitzpatrick as coach of Geelong Cricket Association club North Geelong. More here.
State of the nation
► Bendigo, VIC: It may have promised to be “environmentally and socially sustainable”, but the state’s planning tribunal has found a new music festival near Maldon is too isolated, lacks access roads and could be a bushfire risk.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal knocked back the WildThings Festival in a recent ruling – the latest hurdle for the micro-festival.
► NATIONAL: A Liberal MP has called on Tony Abbott to quit Parliament, labelling the former prime minister a "wrecker" who is trashing his own legacy and sacrificing the national interest to wage "jihad" against Malcolm Turnbull.
Queensland MP Warren Entsch said Mr Abbott's "nonsense" was driving voters into the arms of minor parties and independents, and likened his actions to Kevin Rudd's relentless campaign of vengeance against Julia Gillard.
► Forresters Beach, NSW: On Easter Sunday, 2008, a detective repeatedly struck a plastic dummy doused in blood in an experiment part-way through the trial of a teenager, 16, charged with the shocking stabbing murder of a girl, 15, on the Central Coast.
In a judgment on Thursday, almost nine years to the day since the experiment, three judges of the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that while much of the detective’s evidence was misleading or incorrect, and almost certainly influenced the jury’s guilty verdict, the murderer’s appeal against his conviction “must be dismissed”.
► Newcastle, NSW: The elegant, once controversial, Civic Park fountain in Newcastle is taken for granted today. It’s a timeless, classic design. One passionate Sydney radio broadcaster has described it as “one of the finest pieces of public sculpture in Australia”.
Even after all these years it still appears modern. Not a bad achievement for something that was unveiled back in November 1966.
► Kangaroo Island, SA: Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s worth seeing our home through visitors’ eyes.
The sights, and the sheer unadulterated beauty that we call home, seen through the new eyes offers us a different perspective of what, perhaps, has become commonplace.
Eye on the weather
What does it look like in your neck of the woods today?
► Washington: Donald Trump has drawn his own red line on North Korea's dangerous weapons program - equating a threatened intercontinental missile test with a nuclear weapon that could hit the US, the President tweeted bluntly in January: "It won't happen."
And at the weekend, his aides gave definition to that categoric claim's terms and timeline - for now, at least, it stops short of a pre-emptive military strike, but Pyongyang's determination to press ahead with tests is a challenge that Trump will confront within months.
► Malaysia: The well-planned abduction by at least 15 masked men of a Protestant pastor and the disappearances of three other church-linked people in Malaysia have prompted fears of religious vigilantism in the Muslim-majority nation.
Security camera footage showed the daylight abduction of the 62 year-old pastor Raymond Koh in the leafy suburb of Kelana Jaya near the capital Kuala Lumpur on February 13.
Faces of Australia
CALE Fletcher thought he had closed the door on his passion for dance.
Mr Fletcher, 24, had spent more than 15 years relishing learning, teaching and competing in tap and jazz, yet had pushed it aside for two years to focus on his medicine degree.
But the night before the world-famous Moulin Rogue held its biennial auditions in Sydney last year, he felt something inside him ignite.
“I thought it would be a big regret if I didn’t give it one last attempt while I was still fit enough and flexible enough to make an impression,” he said. “I had a lot of doubts but went in with no expectations, which meant I had a clear head and could pick up the choreography quickly.”
► TWITTER: Australia’s oldest and richest short distance running race, The Stawell Gift, took place on Easter Monday with elite athletic events and family entertainment. See highlights from the day in a series of images by Pat Scala.
On this day …
1025 Bolesław Chrobry is crowned in Gniezno, becoming the first King of Poland.
1506 The cornerstone of the current St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, is laid.
1775 Paul Revere and William Dawes ride from Charleston to Lexington warning the "regulars are coming!"
1783 Fighting ceases in the American Revolution, eight years to the day since it began.
1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire kills nearly 4,000 while destroying 75% of the city
1954 Colonel Gamal Abdal Nasser seizes power & becomes Prime Minister of Egypt