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Australia charges woman with using needles to contaminate strawberries

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Strawberry punnets being labeled with safety seal | REUTERS

An Australian court on Monday (November 12) ordered a 50-year-old farm supervisor, charged in a strawberry needle contamination case that sparked a major food scare, to stay in custody until she next appears in court.

Australia’s strawberry industry, worth A$160 million ($116 million), was rocked in September after nearly 200 complaints were made of sewing needles found in strawberries and other fruits. Several major supermarkets withdrew the fruit as shoppers abandoned purchases, forcing some growers to dump their strawberries.

On Monday, police said they had charged the woman, identified as My Ut Trinh in court lists, with seven cases of contamination, the first charges laid in the case. Police said the woman was a former supervisor at a berry farm of one of the brands affected but did not say which one.

Trinh faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty after Australia’s conservative government toughened sentencing in a bid to contain the crisis. — Reuters

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Australian man dies after shark attack in popular tourist area

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

 

Medical personnel pushing victim on a stretcher from a helicopter into a hospital in Mackay, Australia | REUTERS

A man died after he was attacked by a shark in waters off Australia’s tropical northeast coast on Monday (November 6), police said, the third attack in the popular tourist region in the last two months.

The 33-year-old Australian man was paddle boarding and then swimming off a chartered yacht in the Whitsunday Islands’ Cid Harbour when he was bitten by a shark at around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, police said. The man suffered severe injuries in his legs and arm, and was resuscitated before being transferred to Mackay Base Hospital, Queensland Police Inspector Steve O’Connell said.

O’Connell said the shark species involved in the incident had not yet been confirmed.

The attack follows two others in the same area in September, when a 12-year-old girl and a 46-year-old man suffered severe injuries from shark attacks while swimming on two consecutive days.

Australia ranked behind only the United States in the number of unprovoked shark encounters with humans in 2017, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File.

The Whitsunday Islands is a popular tourist site 900 km (560 miles) northwest of the state capital Brisbane. — Reuters

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Warehouse fire lights up Melbourne morning sky

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2018

 

Aerial shot of fireball from a Melbourne warehouse fire | REUTERS

A fire in an industrial warehouse lit up the Melbourne sky on Wednesday morning (August 30) with thick smoke billowing across the city skyline, forcing residents to seek shelter and schools to shut, according to Australian media.

Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) said the fire began around 5 am local time (1900 GMT), with more than 100 fire-fighters battling the blaze, according to the Nine Network. MFB Acting Deputy Chief Officer Ken Brown said that the warehouse contained acetone and oxyacetylene, which energized the fire.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that several schools in the proximity of the smoke were closed, while planes were diverted from the area.

The fire is expected to burn for several hours. — Reuters

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China expresses ‘serious concerns’ over Australia’s ban of Huawei from mobile network project

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, August 24th, 2018

Huawei. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

China on Thursday (August 23) expressed “serious concerns” over Australia’s ban of Chinese telecoms firm Huawei Technologies from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network in the country.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Australia should not “use various excuses to artificially erect barriers.”

Australia had banned Huawei, citing risks of foreign interference and hacking which Beijing dismissed as an “excuse” to tilt the playing field against a Chinese firm.

The move, following advice from security agencies, signals a hardening of Australia’s stance toward its biggest trading partner as relations have soured over Canberra’s allegations of Chinese meddling in Australian politics.

It also brings Australia in line with the United States, which restricted Huawei and compatriot ZTE Corp from its lucrative market for similar reasons. — Reuters

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