What’s news? Catalyst News picks the top 5 stories that made headlines this week

By Rachael Merritt |@rachael_liz_m

Photo by: Wired, The New Daily, BBC, Sky New

1. It’s a date- Prime Minister calls federal election

After much waiting and speculation, Scott Morrison has announced May 18 as the day Australia will head to the polls to decide who will form the next Federal Government. On Thursday, Mr Morrison visited Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove at Government House for a very prompt meeting, lasting only 8 minutes, where Cosgrove dissolved the Parliament and triggered an election.

In a press conference held shortly after, Mr Morrison said the election would be a “clear choice” for voters.

“Keeping our economy strong ensures that we can secure your wage, your job, your business and, importantly, the business you are going to work for today,” Mr Morrison said.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten tweeted the Labor party is “ready to deliver a fair go for Australia”.

In a press conference, Mr Shorten said Labor will “deliver more jobs, better health and education, take real action on climate change and renewable energy and help push energy prices down”.

If you’re a first time voter, make sure to check you are enrolled to vote as electoral rolls close on April 18.

2. Seeing the unseeable – world first image of black hole

It’s taken seven years, a network of telescopes scattered from Antarctica to Europe and a team of 200 researchers to capture the world’s first image of a black hole. Situated 55 million light-years away from our Milky Way and 6.5 billion times heavier than the Sun, the supermassive black hole sits at the centre of M87, a galaxy near the Milky Way.

Despite an abundance of research on black holes, no one has ever produced an image of one, due to their incredibly strong gravitational pull which even light cannot escape, rendering them virtually impossible to capture. The image was created by the Event Horizon Telescope, a network of telescopes from around the world which combined data to make a complete image.

3. Green light for Adani mine groundwater plan

Environment Minister Melissa Price has signed off on two Adani groundwater management plans, marking the final construction approval from the Federal Government. However, the controversial project for the Indian energy company to create a coal mine and rail project in central Queensland is yet to be approved by the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments.  

Anti-Adani campaigners and environmentalists are protesting the decision, concerned the mine will damage the Great Artesian Basin and groundwater rivers and springs, creating water shortages for farmers and communities.

It’s likely the fate of the Adani mine will rest in limbo for months as the company battles a number of government and legal hurdles, including a conservation plan for the endangered black-throated finch which is native to the area.  

4. Jackson family responds to Leaving Neverland documentary

The family of late pop star Michael Jackson have broken their silence on the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland which accused the ‘king of pop’ of sexually abusing two minors.

In a half hour documentary published on Youtube titled Neverland Firsthand, Jackson’s close family refute the abuse claims by poking holes in the victim’s statements and addressing facts the documentary left out.

Jackson’s niece, Brandi said Wade Robson, one of the men who accused Jackson of sexual abuse,  was an “opportunist” who filed a lawsuit for fame and financial gain.

Jackson’s nephew, Taj, said the claims of the two men didn’t add up and they had taken advantage of Jackson’s “niceness”.

Taj is also planning to produce a separate documentary to counter the claims of Leaving Neverland and has set up a Go Fund Me page.

5. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is arrested

After a seven-year asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, Julian Assange has been arrested by British police. Assange emerged from the embassy accompanied by at least seven men and was ushered into a police van.

Police were invited to the embassy to arrest Assange after the Ecuadorian Government withdrew his asylum.

The Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks found himself in hot water in 2010 when the company published a classified military video which showed a helicopter attack in Baghdad which killed a dozen people.

Since 2012, Assange has been hauled up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he was wanted for questioning over a sexual assault investigation.

While the case was dropped, Assange feared leaving the embassy would mean he could be extradited to the US to face federal charges related to WikiLeaks and sought asylum in the embassy.

Assange was taken to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court and remains in British police custody.

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