Parents of missing bride-to-be Stephanie Scott plan air search of NSW Riverina

Family fear disappearance of 26-year-old, who has not been seen since Easter Sunday in Leeton, has something to do with ‘her car or foul play’

The parents of bride-to-be Stephanie Scott, who disappeared four days ago in the New South Wales Riverina region, plan to hire a helicopter to join the search for their daughter.

Scott has not been seen since about noon on Easter Sunday in Leeton. The 26-year-old had driven to nearby Griffith in the morning to pick up groomsmen cufflinks for her wedding this weekend. She also bought items for her honeymoon.

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Queensland teenager who travelled to Syria influenced by ‘the wrong people’

Toowoomba 18-year-old Oliver Bridgeman failed to return from humanitarian trip to Indonesia

Friends of a Queensland teenager, who is believed to have travelled to Syria, say he has been transformed and influenced by “the wrong people”.

The 18-year-old, named by the Courier Mail as Oliver Bridgeman, failed to return from a humanitarian trip to Indonesia.

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Washington state declares drought emergency with $1.2bn in crops at risk

In a year of little snow, state is following in California’s dangerous path: ‘The drought is unlike any we’ve ever experienced’

Related: California drought shaming takes on a class-conscious edge

With more than two-thirds of Washington state experiencing abnormal dry conditions and more than half of the state experiencing moderate drought, Governor Jay Inslee on Friday declared a statewide drought emergency.

The 21st-century projections make the [previous] mega-droughts seem like quaint walks through the garden of Eden

Related: US faces worst droughts in 1,000 years, predict scientists

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Bernie Sanders says he’s no ‘spoiler’ for Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2016

Senator voices affection for his Democratic rival, calling for serious media coverage without having to ‘rip apart somebody else’

Related: Rise of progressive policies signals Democrats’ embrace of Bernie Sanders’ ideals

Bernie Sanders, the independent Vermont senator who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination on 2016, on Sunday denied that he would be a “spoiler” for the electoral chances of the establishment favourite and said: “Maybe I shouldn’t say this: I like Hillary Clinton.”

Related: Get to know Bernie Sanders, your latest (socialist!) candidate for president

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BHP Billiton refuses to reveal tax bill estimate to Senate committee

Senators agree to force mining giant reveal details of tax liability and Singapore operations, dismissing claims the information is commercial in confidence

BHP Billiton executives have infuriated a Senate committee by refusing to say how much the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) believes it is owed because of the way the mining giant channels profits through a marketing hub in Singapore.

They also declined to say how much tax it paid in that country.

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Arguments over Greek debt echo ancient disputes about Easter

For eastern Christians, the emphasis is on Christ leaping from the grave not hanging on a cross. It is about life triumphant over death

The eastern Orthodox churches finally split with the Roman Catholic western church in 1054, though the differences had been building up long before and have continued ever since. Among these, the eastern churches retained the Julian calendar – which is why, this year, Orthodox Easter falls on Sunday 12 April, a week later than for the western churches. More significantly, because of this great schism, eastern churches such as the Greek Orthodox church didn’t fall under the sway of a theory of salvation developed by St Anselm of Canterbury and his massively influential Cur Deus Homo of 1089, a book that radically altered the western understanding of Easter and, with it, a great deal of our moral hinterland. Indeed, the respective current attitudes towards debt of the Greek and German governments can be seen, to a remarkable extent, to track the eastern-western split over the meaning of Easter.

According to Anselm, and the Reformation thinkers that followed him, the story of Easter is basically God’s response to a debt crisis. The argument is this: human beings have sinned against God, thus incurring a debt that has to be paid. (If you think this shift from sin to debt is odd – and it is – remember we still speak of criminals as “paying back” their debt to society.) On this model, the scales of justice have to be balanced. Crimes must be paid for, with the level of punishment being proportionate to the level of offence. But the theological problem is that human debt is way too high – us being miserable sinners and all that – which means that we are totally incapable of paying back the required amount.

No, they say, salvation is not some bloody cosmic accountancy. It’s a prison break

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Tony Abbott backs away from iron ore inquiry after lobbying by BHP and Rio

Prime minister says ‘no decision has been made’ to probe the market as mining companies say an inquiry would be a ‘ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ money’

Tony Abbott appears to have backed away from a government-supported inquiry into the iron ore market after a backlash from mining giants and some cabinet colleagues.

On Monday, on a visit to Mackay in Queensland, the prime minister said: “I think it is important to get to the facts and an inquiry may well be a very good way of doing that.”

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Rand Paul full Guardian Periscope interview – video

In an interview on the new smartphone app Periscope, the Republican presidential candidate discusses Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi controversy, as well as his pending legislation that would seek reform for incidents such as the shocking police killing of a man in South Carolina last week. And then, pressed for details on Republican poll numbers, the Kentucky senator abruptly ends the interview by walking off the set. Continue reading…