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Good morning, and welcome to our morning news coverage. We will be bringing you the best of what’s happening this morning, so you can get across the news quickly.

8:40am:

A handyman in the US has been thwarted in his cheeky effort to pay a parking fine with 2,500 pennies. The rolls of one cent denominations were intended to pay a US$25 dollar fine Justin Green incurred recently.

However Chambersburg officials in Pennsylvania told Mr Greene his passive-aggressive payment of 2,500 pennies wasn’t allowed under a federal rule designating the copper coins as small change — not tender for debts greater than 25 cents.

8:25am:

A black bear cub escaped its enclosure at A Chinese zoo and made the unfortunate decision to wander into the tiger enclosure.

Mobile footage shot by zoogoers briefly shows the moment the young bear made its way into the enclosure before being swarmed by tigers.

A spokesperson for the zoo was reported by the People’s Daily Online said the cub slipped through the gates between the bear and tiger enclosures and that zoo staff drove an armoured vehicle into the enclosure but were too late to save the bear.

WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT

8:10am:

A young Sydney man has allegedly pinched a cab while the driver was paying for petrol, sparking a police case through the city’s northern suburbs.

The cabbie had filled up at a Crows Nest service station just after 4am this morning when the 21-year-old jumped behind the wheel.

The stolen cab was spotted at Lane Cove but failed to stop for police, prompting a car chase through Ryde and the northern beaches.

The joyride came to an end when the young man was arrested following a short foot chase.

8am:

Keep scrolling, nothing unusual to see here. Unless of course you think a man trying to live like a goat is unusual.

Because that’s exactly what Thomas Thwaites has been doing.

Thomas Thwaites, The Goat Man Picture: Tom Bowditch

Thomas Thwaites, The Goat Man Picture: Tom Bowditch Source: Supplied

He commissioned limb prosthetics that allowed him to walk on all fours in relative comfort and even considered acquiring an artificial goat stomach which would digest grass for him to consume, reports Motherboard.

He then convinced a goat farmer in the Swiss Alps to let him roam free among the herd.

Why is he doing this? Well, Mr Thwaites is a British conceptual designer and is interested in how humans will use technology to fulfil their desires — no matter how strange they are.

“Posthumanism, transhumanism technology and stuff, is about allowing humans to achieve their desires in a way,” he said.

And he’s written a book about the experience called: GoatMan How I Took a Holiday from Being Human.

Surely an interesting read …

Thomas Thwaites, The Goat Man Picture: Tom Bowditch

Thomas Thwaites, The Goat Man Picture: Tom Bowditch. Source: Supplied

7:50am:

Australian foreign fighters in Syria are being trained to conduct terrorist attacks in the West and are serving in a specialised unit of English-speaking jihadists, reportsthe Australian.

The paper has identified about 10 Australian foreign fighters serving with the so-called “Anwar al-Awlaki Brigade”.

Instead of fighting on the battlefield, the group is reportedly earmarked for other purposes, such as planning or personally conducting attacks outside Syria.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed the development, which she described as “deeply disturbing’’

Australians in specialist jihad brigade

Australians in specialist jihad brigade

7:35am:

Did this practical joke go way too far?

Holiday-makers at a luxury hotel in Turkey feared for their lives after hotel staff dressed as mock terrorists in a “joke” attack, just months after the Tunisia massacre.

A group of staff dressed in what the Sun described as “Arab clothing” and appeared by the pool at the five-star Grand Yazici Mares hotel with fake rifles and a water canister marked “fuel”.

“There were loads of British people round the pool, and suddenly everyone became terrified,” British guest, Jason Phythian said. “I looked round and saw Arab-looking guys stalking around and above the pool carrying big guns.”

When it was revealed to be a prank, he said he was one of many who ran to the hotel manager to complain.

Read more here.

7:25am:

Convicted national security leaker Chelsea Manning could be placed in solitary confinement indefinitely for allegedly violating prison rules by having a copy ofVanity Fair with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover and an expired tube of toothpaste, according to her lawyer.

“This is like prison disciplinary infractions in a civilian prison and there will be a hearing, but frankly it looks to me like harassment,” her lawyer, Nancy Hollander said.

Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick.

Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick. Source: AP

The former intelligence analyst, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was convicted in 2013 of espionage and other offences for sending more than 700,000 classified documents while working in Iraq. She is serving a 35-year sentence at the military prison.

-AFP

7:15am:

A surfer in Victoria was photobombed by an unlikely culprit this week.

While dropping into a wave at Logans Beach in the state’s southwest, a whale appeared behind him, stealing the show.

Surf photographer Mark Williams was on hand and quickly snapped a photo.

“It wasn’t a great whale picture, it wasn’t a great surfing picture, what I liked about it was it showed Australia,” Mr Williams said.

The photo has been doing the rounds on social media over the past couple of days garnering thousands of shares and comments.

“I am overwhelmed by the reaction,” Mr Williams said

Thomas Thwaites, The Goat Man Picture: Tom Bowditch.

Straya. Source: Supplied

7:05am:

Another Cabinet minister has come out to reject colleague Scott Morrison’s push for a referendum on same-sex marriage.

Attorney General George Brandis has dismissed the suggestion of changing the constitution, labelling Mr Morrison’s proposal as entirely unnecessary.

Christopher Pyne agreed this morning, telling the Nine Network “a referendum would cost a great deal of money, in fact only to achieve no outcome because there is no legal basis for a referendum”.

-AAP

6:55am:

Nick Kyrgios’ mum, Nill, has stepped in to defend her boy.

The young Aussie star sent the tennis world into a frenzy with a sledge he fired at Stan Wawrinka shortly after losing the first set in their Rogers Cup match yesterday.

“Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that mate,” he said as the players approached the net.

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius to be released form jail next week.

Local tennis hero Nick Kyrgios (left) is welcomed home to Canberra by his Mum Nill. Source: News Corp Australia

But Nick’s mum has said the harsh words were a result of some bad blood after Wawrinka had accused her son of faking an injury when he had a sinus infection during a match between the two in June. Nick Kyrgios also suffers from asthma.

“It’s not a nice thing to say, it’s not, but you can’t always cop it on the chin from other people without retaliating,” she told The Canberra Times.

“If you give people lip then you’ve got to receive some back.”

She also took to Twitter following the incident to defend her son, but has since deleted her account.

6:40am:

Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign has released an online ad. And it’s very Donald Trump.

The rather strange clip accuses politicians of having fun while the world burns and attempts to drive home this message by juxtaposing images of terrorists and the Benghazi embassy attack with more joyous images of Obama happily golfing and the Clintons dancing.

Trump posted the video to his Facebook page with the caption: “Not under my watch.”

http://www.facebook.com/v2.3/plugins/post.php?app_id=&channel=http%3A%2F%2Fstatic.ak.facebook.com%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F7tUlZKGPU61.js%3Fversion%3D41%23cb%3Df2dd9cd31%26domain%3Dwww.news.com.au%26origin%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.news.com.au%252Ff18b297f14%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=650&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fvideo.php%3Fv%3D10155969588025725&locale=en_GB&sdk=joey&width=500

6:25am:

It’s gotta be pretty frustrating for a journalist in this situation.

CNN journalist Will Ripley was mauled by locals while reporting live on air following a series of explosions yesterday in China that killed 17 and injured hundreds.

Smoke billows from the site of an explosion that reduced a parking lot filled with new ca

Smoke billows from the site of an explosion that reduced a parking lot filled with new cars to charred remains at a warehouse in north-eastern China’s Tianjin municipality, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Source: AP

As the studio anchor asks the journalist to describe the scene of the explosions, a number of men appear shouting and grabbing at Mr Ripley’s handheld camera.

His attempts to calm the mob can be heard as they ambush him.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” he can be heard saying as the footage becomes increasingly shaky before cutting out entirely.

“Tempers obviously running high after an awful night in Tianjin,” he wrote on Twitter quickly after the incident.

6:10am:

Labor will scrap the Abbott government’s direct action climate change policy if elected.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will use a speech to the University of NSW today to declare the nation cannot afford to waste taxpayer money on a policy that will not work.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten visits the Royalla Solar Farm near Canberra, Thurs

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten visits the Royalla Solar Farm near Canberra, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Source:AAP

Labor will continue to honour contracts already awarded by the federal government under the $2.55 billion emissions reduction fund — where companies bid against each other to win funds to slash pollution.

“We will not continue to subsidise windfalls for companies that are already acting,” Mr Shorten will say.

The government costs its direct action policy at $200 million a year, but independent modelling suggests taxpayers could fork over hundreds of billions by 2030.

-AAP

6am:

It was the murder trial that captured the world’s attention.

And now, Oscar Pistorius is just days away from being released from jail after serving just 10 months of a five-year sentence for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The Olympic runner will leave prison next week after the Pretoria parole board recommended he be released into the community at the earliest opportunity.

Thomas Thwaites, The Goat Man Picture: Tom Bowditch.

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. Source: Supplied

While he’s due to taste freedom on August 21, there’s just one catch.

His case remains subject to a Supreme Court appeal hearing in November, when prosecutors will argue that his conviction of culpable homicide should be upgraded to murder — a charge which carries a minimum jail term of 15 years.

Pistorius will not be expected to attend the hearing, in which a handful of judges will ultimately decide his fate.