WEDNESDAY, September 4
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suffered a major defeat in Parliament and is now pressing for a snap election on October 14.
A cross-party alliance of British MPs voted to take control of Parliament in a bid to prevent the UK from leaving the European Union without a deal at the end of October.
More than three years since the UK voted to leave the European Union in a referendum, the outcome of the Brexit crisis remains uncertain with a range of options from a turbulent no-deal exit to abandoning the entire endeavour.
Rebel Conservative MPs joined forces with the Opposition — voting 328 to 301 — to seize Wednesday’s parliamentary agenda and bring forward a bill that would force Mr Johnson to delay Brexit unless a new deal was backed by MPs or they voted for a no-deal exit.
Mr Johnson has consistently said the UK must leave the EU on October 31 — with or without a deal — and he has put forward a motion to call a snap election on October 14.
After the vote, Mr Johnson vowed to stop “another pointless delay to Brexit”.
“I don’t want an election, but if MPs vote to stop negotiations and compel another pointless delay to Brexit, potentially for years, then that would be the only way to resolve this,” he said.
“I can confirm that we are tonight tabling a motion under the Fixed Term Parliament Act.”
An election would pit the avowed Brexiteer against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Corbyn has long demanded an election as the best way out of the crisis, but many of those seeking to prevent a no-deal Brexit say Mr Johnson could time the poll to ensure Parliament cannot prevent an October 31 departure with or without a deal.
Authorities in the Bahamas say there are scenes of utter ruin in parts of the island nation in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the most powerful storm on record to hit the islands.
Aerial videos show parts of Bahamas were flattened by the storm which had winds of up to 295kph. The hurricane has now been downgraded to a category two storm as it moves towards the coast of Florida
At least five people have died, with the full scope of the disaster still unknown until the storm completely passes and rescue crews can begiunm work.
More than 13,000 houses, or about 45 per cent of the homes in Grand Bahama and the hard-hit Abaco Island, are believed to have been severely damaged or destroyed, according to a representative of Red Cross.
“It’s total devastation. It’s decimated. Apocalyptic. It looks like a bomb went off,” Lia Head-Rigby, who helps run a local hurricane relief organisation, said about Abaco Island.
“It’s not rebuilding something that was there, we have to start again.”
She said her representative on Abaco told her that “there’s a lot more dead” and that the bodies were being gathered up.
Emergency authorities have struggled to reach victims, amid conditions which are deemed too dangerous even for rescue workers, and urged people to hang on.
Aerial video recorded over the Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island showed stretches of flooded neighbourhoods, pulverised buildings, upturned boats and shipping containers scattered.
Many buildings that had not been flattened had walls or roofs partly ripped away.
While its winds had diminished to a category two storm, Dorian expanded in size and picked up speed on Tuesday (local time).
Hurricane Dorian did not budge over a portion of the Bahamas for a day and a half.
It pounded the northern islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama with winds up to 295 kilometres per hour and torrential rain before finally moving into open waters on Tuesday (local time) on a course for the US state of Florida.
Its winds have died down but still considered dangerous at 175 kph.
Forecasters said it would come “dangerously close” in the next 36 hours to Florida’s east coast, where more than a million people have been ordered to evacuate.
The tiny, endangered bird that held up the Adani Carmichael coal mine is being successfully bred in captivity by primary school students in Townsville, Queensland, reports the ABC.
The southern subspecies of the black-throated finch is believed extinct in New South Wales, and an estimated 1,000 birds remain in Queensland but at the primary school, the bird’s numbers are booming, say ABC North Qld reporters Hannah Palmer and Nathalie Fernbach
Under the direction of STEM teacher Brett Murphy, the Belgian Gardens State School established a bird breeding program seven years ago.
“We’ve been very successful breeding 120 finches in the past six years,” Mr Murphy said.
“When we first started, we found it very difficult to find finches nearby, but we finally sourced two pairs locally and straight away started breeding birds.”
The breeding program focuses on the black-throated finch and other bird species, such as the Gouldian finch and golden-shouldered parrot, and is integrated into Year 4 science classes at the school.
Mr Murphy said the program was initiated for a more hands-on approach to education.
“We find with our students that if we make it real-life learning, they’re more engaged and immersed in the unit of work,” he said.
“With our science unit focused on endangered species, it’s the perfect opportunity to have some beautiful birds that the kids can care for everyday and learn about their plight in the wild.”
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