An urgent search is under way in Western Australia after a tiny capsule containing a radioactive substance went missing between a town and city roughly 1,400km (870 miles) apart. The casing contains a small quantity of radioactive Caesium-137, which could cause serious illness if touched. The public has been warned to stay away from the capsule if they see it.
(CNN) — A passenger traveling from Bali, Indonesia to Australia has found themselves paying a hefty price for a McDonald’s breakfast.
The unnamed traveler was handed a fine of 2,664 Australian dollars ($1,874) after two undeclared egg and beef sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant were found in their luggage on arriving at Darwin Airport in the country’s Northern Territory last week.
The incident came about days after Australian authorities brought in tough new biosecurity rules after a Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Indonesia spread to Bali, a popular destination for Australian tourists.
SYDNEY, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Sydney reported its worst day of the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday with five deaths and a record rise in locally acquired infections as a weeks-long hard lockdown is struggling to contain the highly contagious Delta strain of the coronavirus.
Four of the five people that died were unvaccinated while one had one dose, New South Wales state health authorities said, as they implored residents to get inoculated as early as possible.
Authorities also announced a one-week lockdown from Thursday in the region surrounding the state’s second-largest city of Newcastle, 140 km (87 miles) north of Sydney, after six cases were reported there.
That will place an additional 615,000 people under lockdown, raising the total in New South Wales under strict stay-home restrictions to 6 million people out of 8 million in the state, or about a quarter of Australia’s population.
The authorities suspect the outbreak began with a beach party near Newcastle after people travelled from Sydney, an apparent violation of the city’s lockdown.
“Our strongest focus … is getting to the bottom of how the disease was transmitted and introduced into Newcastle,” New South Wales Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told reporters, as most cases were still being detected in Sydney, the state capital and Australia’s largest city.
There were 259 new COVID-19 cases in Sydney, out of 262 in all of New South Wales, health authorities said, daily records for the city and the state, which reported a previous high of 239 on Sunday.
There have been more than 4,300 cases in New South Wales during the latest surge that began seven weeks ago after the first case of the Delta variant was detected in an unvaccinated, unmasked limousine driver who transported overseas airline crew.
A man who was missing in Australia for 18 days has been found after surviving on mushrooms and dam water, police say.
Search efforts launched after Robert Weber, 58, went missing in the state of Queensland were called off this week.
But police said he had been found near a dam on Sunday by a “property owner”, who has been identified in Australian media as a local politician.
Mr Weber was “suffering exposure to the elements” but otherwise safe and well, police said.
Before Sunday, he had last been seen leaving a hotel in the town of Kilkivan with his dog on 6 January. He ran into trouble when his car got stuck in dirt on a farm road.
Police said Mr Weber spent three days in the car before running out of water and setting off on foot. He then became lost but remained near a dam where he survived by “sleeping on the ground, drinking dam water and eating mushrooms”.
SYDNEY (AP) — Sydney’s northern beaches will enter a lockdown similar to the one imposed during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March as a cluster of cases in the area increased to 41.
From late Saturday afternoon until midnight Wednesday, residents will only be permitted to leave their homes for five basic reasons: medical care, exercise, grocery shop, work or for compassionate care reasons.
Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region:
— Long lines snaked around coronavirus testing sites in the South Korean capital of Seoul, as the country reported another 1,053 cases, the fourth straight day of over 1,000. The viral resurgence has raised questions about the government’s handling of the outbreak.
(CNN)Firefighters in Australia are battling a massive bushfire that has been burning out of control for six weeks across the popular tourist spot of Fraser Island, as parts of the country’s east swelter through a record-breaking heat wave following the hottest November on record.
Tourists and staff on the UNESCO World Heritage site have been forced to evacuate as the fire closes in on local attractions and the island’s unique forests are smothered in smoke.
On Tuesday morning local time, fire and emergency services in the eastern state of Queensland issued a “prepare to leave” warning for the Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village on the island, as blazes in several locations threatened the area.
Emergency crews used water bombs to slow the blaze, but the fire service warned conditions could get worse.
“Fire crews are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door,” the directive said.
Queensland’s Bureau of Meteorology said the fire danger is likely to be exacerbated by strong winds and extreme heat wave conditions, which are forecast to continue in the state for the next few days.The blaze on Fraser Island was sparked by an illegal campfire. In six weeks it has torn through 76,000 hectares (187,800 acres) of bone-dry bush land, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.
Parts of Australia, including Sydney, sweltered through the hottest November night on record with temperatures likely to stay high on Sunday — prompting authorities to issue a total fire ban.
In Sydney, temperatures surpassed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday, while swathes of western New South Wales, South Australia and northern Victoria baked through even higher temperatures nearing 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).
Temperatures are expected to cross 40 degrees Celsius for a second straight day on Sunday, while the Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a five or six-day heatwave for parts of northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland.
The predictions for soaring temperatures prompted the Australian Energy Market Operator to say demand may exceed supply in New South Wales on Sunday afternoon.
Hong Kong (CNN Business)More than 500,000 Australians have signed a petition calling for an inquiry into the dominance of Rupert Murdoch’smedia empire.
The petition to parliament was launched by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a little over three weeks ago and closed on Wednesday. It calls for a Royal Commission — Australia’s highest form of public inquiry — to “investigate threats to media diversity.” It also accusedmedia businesses of encouraging “deliberately polarizing and politically manipulated news.”
While the petition raised several points of concern, including Google (GOOGL) and Facebook’s (FB) relationship with the news media, it singled out Murdoch’s News Corp (NWS) as a potential threat to free speech and public debate.
“We are especially concerned that Australia’s print media is overwhelmingly controlled by News Corporation, founded by Fox News billionaire Rupert Murdoch, with around two-thirds of daily newspaper readership,” the petition said. “This power is routinely used to attack opponents in business and politics by blending editorial opinion with news reporting.”