Australia's deadliest bushfires for 22 years left nine people dead and dozens injured yesterday as firefighters fought to control blazes raging in two states and threatening a third. \nThe fires razed almost 50,000 hectares of bush and farmland, destroying homes, farms, cars and caravans and forcing hundreds of people to flee, some into the sea to be rescued by boats. \nEight of the victims, including two children aged two and four, were burned to death in cars as they tried to flee firestorms sweeping South Australia's Eyre Peninsula, part of which remained cut off yesterday. \nThe charred body of a ninth victim was found yesterday in the badly damaged beach township of North Shields. \nPolice said a further 15 people remained unaccounted for but said they did not expect the death toll to rise. \nThousands of sheep and cattle were also killed or badly burned and teams of veterinary officers began yesterday to examine injured animals and assess the extent of livestock damage. \nAn unknown number of homes were left without essential services and people left homeless were given refuge in cinemas and other public buildings. \nQueensland holidaymaker Borbala Nemes, who fled a caravan park in North Shields, told reporters how a park resident was rescued by a fishing boat after jumping into the sea with his daughter. \n"He had to swim and he has a 12-year-old daughter, Laura is her name, and they were swimming out to the sea and the fishing boat picked them up," she said. \nRussell Puckridge, who lost his home in North Shields, told ABC radio he had just paid off his mortgage after 15 years. \n"A lot of work all gone up in smoke, that's all I can say," he said. "We've got nothing left, nothing. My missus couldn't even grab her handbag or nothing, no money, cards, no nothing. We've got what we're wearing and that's it." \nPrime Minister John Howard offered condolences to families, saying the tragic loss of life was "a terrible reminder of the ever-present threat of bushfires and their devastating effect on this country." \nIn neighboring Victoria, firefighters used bulldozers and other heavy machinery to establish control lines around a fire which claimed at least one home, destroyed more than 2,000 sheep and at one stage threatened two small towns. \nThe worst fires since the Ash Wednesday bushfires claimed 75 lives in South Australia and Victoria in 1983, were sparked this week by high winds and searing temperatures in bush already tinder dry after a long drought. \nSimilar conditions were being forecast for yesterday and today in the eastern state of New South Wales, extra fire crews and water-bombing aircraft were placed on standby in high-risk areas. \nSouth Australian Authorities said weather had helped the firefighters, allowing defensive backburning, but warned that hotter weather was forecast again for later in the week. \nThe state's Emergency Services Minister Patrick Conlon said the scale of the destruction was staggering. \n"It has moved faster than any similar sort of fire that we have had records of. That is why, tragically, it has caught some people fleeing," he said.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
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