Daily News Roundup

March 1, 2018

My Gold Coast

Contaminated rockmelon crisis talks

Leaders of Australia’s melon industry will meet with supermarkets today to discuss strategies to get rockmelon back on shelves.

A listeria contamination connected to a New South Wales melon grower has been linked to two deaths in the state, reports the ABC.

Ten cases of listeria from contaminated rockmelon have been identified in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Listeria is a serious and sometimes fatal bacterial infection that It can be fatal in newborns, elderly people and people with a weakened immune system.

The contamination is on the fruit’s skin, not in the flesh.

Australian Melon Association industry development manager Dianne Fullelove said she would be meeting with Australian supermarkets today to discuss the best way to move forward.

“They are big suppliers of rockmelon so we’re doing everything we can,” she said.

“We’ll be listening to what requirements they want for fruit to be proven to be as good as it can be, and our industry will be doing whatever it can to meet those requirements.”

The outbreak has been traced to a farm at Nericon, near Griffith in the Riverina in NSW.

The grower has not supplied fruit since last Friday, and has started a voluntary trade level recall of any fruit that may still be in the market.

“He’s just devastated, nobody wants to grow fruit that makes people sick,” Ms Fullelove said.

“He has a very good food safety system in place but there has been a problem and he’s bending over backwards now to work out where that problem is.


PM’s bullying letter to principals

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has written to every school principal across Australia urging them to help stamp out bullying and violence, both online and inside the school gates.

The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence is later in March, and the letter penned by Mr Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham said schools, parents and families all had a role in ending bullying.

“We believe all students have the right to be safe at school,” the letter said.

“Bullying and violence has no place in Australia.”

The death of 14-year-old Northern Territorian Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett after alleged bullying has focused the minds of the nation’s politicians, and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk successfully put the issue of cyber bullying on the COAG agenda.

“Malcolm and Lucy both spent time speaking with Dolly’s parents and truly engaged in talking to them to understand the circumstances that she had


Another Trump advisor quits

Hope Hicks, one of US President Donald Trump’s longest-serving aides, is resigning from her job as White House communications director, according to spokeswoman Sarah Huckerbee Sanders.

She added the timeline for Ms Hicks’ departure was unclear and that it was not related to her testimony to a congressional committee on Tuesday (local time) about a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Ms Hicks has served in the role since August last year, when former director Anthony Scaramucci was fired.

She was the fourth person in the Trump administration to take the communications job.

Ms Hicks, 29, was one of the first people hired by then-businessman Mr Trump when he began his campaign for the presidency, and is one of his most trusted advisers. Aides said she had approached the President and told him she wanted to leave so she could start exploring opportunities outside the White House.

“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person,” Donald Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

Before her PR and political careers, Ms Hicks modelled with the Ford agency, including a campaign for Ralph Lauren, and also featured on the cover of a Gossip Girl spin-off novel.


More rain for Townsville

The Townsville region is continuing to be drenched amid a severe weather warning for heavy rain, with emergency crews on standby for more flooding in north Queensland.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said there were heavy falls overnight although conditions had eased slightly.

Townsville had recorded 150 millimetres of rain since 9:00am on Wednesday until 5:00am today, with some places to the north recording up to 300mm.

State Emergency Service crews spent the night helping residents sandbag and cover roofs with tarps.

The SES has received more than 50 tasks since Tuesday night.

Regional controller John Forde said the focus would move further south later today, with the potential of flooding in the town of Giru.

“Guys have got all their supplies and stock ready for possible jobs in relation to inundation flooding, leaking rooms, as well as the possibility of trees down,” he said.

Meanwhile, two people have been stranded by rising floodwaters in a house at Yabulu, north of Townsville this morning, with swift-water rescue crews planning on using a boat or helicopter to get the pair out.

faced, and indeed as a grandparent to young children, he is very touched by this issue,” Senator Birmingham told the ABC’s AM program.

“Now, what can we do? Well, there’s no single silver bullet.”

The letter has been sent during a period of broader debate about student safety across Australia, in the wake of a damning report into the culture of the nation’s residential colleges.

Authors of the Red Zone report detailed horrific examples of alleged violent behaviour and hazing across the country.

Universities have been criticised for their response to the incidents, because they argue their ability to control independent residential colleges is constrained.

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