2 Filipinos killed, 3 others injured after being hit by train in New Zealand

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2019   •   4742

Two Filipino workers were killed and three others were hurt when the car they were riding in was hit by a train in New Zealand, the Philippine Embassy in Auckland said.

Philippine Ambassador Jesus Domingo said the victims were trying to cross the railway on their way to work when the accident happened in the Bay of Plenty near Pongakawa school road around 8:15 a.m. local time.

Domingo said that based on the account of several eye witnesses, the oncoming train blared its horns but the Filipinos allegedly drove through the train crossing.

One of the three wounded Filipinos sustained serious injuries and is being monitored in an Intensive Care Unit at the Waikato Hospital.

Domingo said the Filipinos arrived in New Zealand last week as fruit pickers.

Authorities are yet to release the names of the victims since they are still trying to reach their families and employers.

An investigation into the incident is underway. (with details from Paul Gatchalian)

Australian police seize $600 million worth of MDMA powder

Marje Pelayo   •   August 15, 2019

Police in the Australian state of Queensland have seized 766 kg of MDMA ( methylenedioxymethamphetamine ) powder in one of the state’s biggest hauls, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The drugs were located at a property in Brisbane’s southern suburb of Loganlea, Australian media reported.

Police have estimated the drugs to be worth over A$900 million ($609 million) if sold on the streets.

The ABC reported that two citizens from the United Kingdom have been charged, along with an Australian man in relation to the MDMA.

As part of the Queensland operation, a further 200 kilograms of methamphetamine was also seized in Auckland, New Zealand last week, police said.

A 49-year-old male and a 60-year-old male, both from the United Kingdom were charged in relation to the seized methamphetamine, Queensland Police said. – REUTERS

(Production: Jill Gralow)

World’s longest electric vehicle trip ends in New Zealand

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2019

Dutch adventurer Wiebe Wakker posing beside his vehicle the ‘Blue Bandit’, to celebrate the completion of his three-year drive across more than 30 countries in an electric vehicle. | Courtesy: Reuters

A Dutch sustainability advocate completed the longest ever journey in an electric vehicle in New Zealand on Friday (July 19) after a three-year drive that took him through more than 30 countries.

Wiebe Wakker set off from the Netherlands in March 2016 in his “Blue Bandit” to showcase the potential of sustainable transport, funded by donations from those following his trip on social media.

“So I wanted to do my bit to promote this technology and show that sustainability is a viable way of transport. So I wanted really to do something that really speaks to the imagination which is driving an electric car from Amsterdam to literally the other side of the world to show that it can be done,” he said.

The 101,000 kilometers (62,800 miles) trip took Wakker through Eastern Europe, Iran, India, Southeast Asia, before traveling around much of Australia and across to New Zealand.

Wakker gave regular updates on his blog and social media throughout the journey, detailing visiting Iran’s biggest car manufacturer in Tehran, a breakdown on the Indonesian island of Java and visits to Australia’s outback and world-famous Uluru.

The drive had relied on the support of strangers across the globe who offered the traveler food, a place to stay and the essential means to charge his car along the way. (REUTERS)

(Production: James Redmayne)

Gas explosion in New Zealand’s Christchurch injures several people

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2019

Wreckage left by the gas explosion | Courtesy: Reuters

New Zealand emergency services evacuated residents near what they said was a suspected gas explosion in the South Island city of Christchurch on Friday (July 19) that left a house on fire and several people injured.

The city remains on edge four months after a lone gunman killed 51 people and wounded dozens in attacks on two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand’s worst peacetime mass shooting.

There was no indication that Friday’s blast had any wider security implications.

Police said in a statement that initial reports suggested that a number of people had been injured in the incident in the residential suburb of Northwood. Media reports said six people had been taken to hospital.

A house was on fire and police had closed roads and were carrying out evacuations following what they described as a “serious incident.” (REUTERS)

(Production: James Redmayne)

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