World News Quick Take

Agencies

Mon, Sep 10, 2018 - Page 5

AUSTRALIA

Coalition faces poll defeat

The ruling Liberal-National coalition is facing a major defeat in a by-election after voters vented their frustration over recent political infighting that led to a change in prime minister. Rural voters in Wagga Wagga, an agricultural electorate in New South Wales (NSW), yesterday posted a 29 percent swing against the Liberal Party in first preference voting, according to Electoral Commission figures, in a result that would strip the party of the rural seat for the first time since 1956. Independent candidate Joe McGirr was expected to win with a leading primary vote of 24.69 percent, although counting is to continue today to confirm the result. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian conceded defeat on behalf of the party in a news conference.

JAPAN

Pig cholera outbreak reported

The nation is suffering its first outbreak of pig cholera in more than 25 years, authorities said yesterday after culling more than 600 animals and suspending pork exports. A farm in Gifu city saw 80 pigs die last week after catching the highly contagious disease, a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official said. Early tests showed negative results for classical swine fever, but follow-up tests came out positive yesterday, prompting the cull of all 610 pigs at the farm, he added. The government has set up a team of specialists to analyze possible infection routes, the ministry said in a statement.

AUSTRALIA

NSW drought to persist

A devastating drought that has left farmers in the east of the nation struggling to stay afloat is set to persist, despite widespread and significant rain last month, authorities have said. “While the rain has been welcomed and has provided a more positive outlook for field conditions in some regions, the drought is far from over,” New South Wales (NSW) Department of Primary Industries’ agriculture climate specialist Anthony Clark said in a statement. “We need more significant widespread rainfall in the coming weeks and months for agricultural recovery to commence and farmland to return to a productive state.”

AUSTRALIA

Five found dead in Perth

Police in Perth yesterday found up to five dead people, including a woman and children, in a suburb of the city, a senior officer said. “This is early and we’ve not yet fully examined the scene. We understand that there are adults and children involved,” Western Australia Police Assistant Commissioner Paul Steel told a news conference. “I can say there was at least one woman, but I can’t say more than that I’m afraid. The scene has not yet been forensically examined, so the exact number of adults and children is actually unknown to me,” Steel said. A man in his 20s was helping police with their inquiries, he said.

NEPAL

Chopper crash kills six

An Altitude Air helicopter on Saturday crashed into a hillside in central Gorkha District, killing six on board, including a Japanese tourist, officials said. One woman survived the crash with injuries and has been airlifted to Kathmandu. District police chief Basanta Bahadur Kunwar said that authorities were working to retrieve the bodies, but that reaching the crash site, located in thick forest and with no road access, had been “challenging.” The cause of the accident remained unknown, he added.

UNITED KINGDOM

Unions might back poll

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) would support a second referendum on a Brexit deal if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to get a deal with the EU that can help the nation’s workforce, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said yesterday. O’Grady told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: “We should extend Article 50 [which gives two years to negotiate an exit deal]. We should focus on getting a deal that is actually good for this country and that means good for working people. But if the prime minister is not prepared to do that then I think it has to go back to the people and if there isn’t going to be an early general election the only way is a popular vote.” His comments came as the ruling Conservative Party was embroiled in a new dispute after former secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs Boris Johnson said the government’s strategy put the country in a “suicide vest,” with Brussels holding the detonator. “We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution — and handed the detonator to [EU Brexit negotiator] Michel Barnier,” he wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

KOSOVO

erbian leader blocked

Kosovar Albanians yesterday blocked roads and burned tires on a planned route by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in the former Serbian province, further fueling tensions between the two Balkan foes. During his two-day trip, Vucic planned to visit a Serb-populated village in the center of the country, but roads leading to the region were blocked by wooden logs, trucks and heavy machinery. Vucic and his entourage were later stopped by police on the road to the Drenica region and were told they could not continue for security reasons. Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj posted on Facebook that he had “canceled the permission issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry for Serb President’s visit to the Drenica zone,” adding that “citizens’ security is above all.”

UNITED STATES

Forest fire shuts highway

A roaring wildfire that shut down a stretch of a major interstate near the California-Oregon border exploded in size as crews on Saturday scrambled to prevent flames from reaching rural communities. The blaze in California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest was burning out of control after chewing through 150km2 of timber and brush since Wednesday. Aircraft were temporarily prevented from making water and retardant drops because heavy smoke was trapped under cloud cover, making for limited visibility for pilots. The fire has destroyed thousands of trees — some 20m tall — that could fall onto the highway that traverses the entire West Coast from Mexico to Canada and serves as a main artery for commerce.

ITALY

Ancient coin cache found

Hundreds of ancient Roman gold coins have been discovered on the site of an old theater in Como, the Ministry of Culture said. The coins date back to the end of the Roman Empire in the fifth century and were found in a kind of stone urn in the Cressoni theater basement, not far from the site of the ancient city of Novum Comum. Media reports said the coins could be worth millions of euros. The theater, which was inaugurated in 1870 and later became a movie theater before closing in 1997, was due to be demolished to allow the construction of a luxury residence. Authorities plan to suspend work at the site to allow further excavations.