Weekly News Roundup

September 14, 2018

Image: ABC News

Three more Queensland strawberry punnets found contaminated with needles

Another brand of strawberries will be pulled from shelves after three more punnets were found contaminated with sewing needles, Queensland Health has confirmed.

The strawberries are understood to have come from Donnybrook strawberry farms, north of Brisbane.

One punnet has been identified in Tweed Heads on the New South Wales border, as well as one in Redbank Plains, west of Brisbane and another in the northern Brisbane suburb of Everton Park.

At a media conference in Brisbane, Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said Donnybrook’s strawberries would be pulled from supermarket shelves.

“These three further instances are cases in which needles have been found within the strawberries and people have gone to eat them, have cut them up and found the needles,” Dr Young said.

“We are currently working with retailers nationwide to ensure that all Donnybrook stock is removed from sale.

“Donnybrook distributes strawberries throughout Australia, so that process will take a while.

“If you have Donnybrook strawberries at home, or are unsure of the brand, you should return them to the store or throw them away.”

Dr Young recommended strawberries of all brands be cut up before eating.


Hurricane Florence: Wind and rain hit US coast ahead of system making landfall

Hurricane Florence’s leading edge is battering the Carolina coast, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets, as the hulking storm closes in with 160kph winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

The expected high winds and slow movement of the hurricane as it comes ashore are likely to make rescue efforts in flooded areas challenging, senior US Defence Department officials say.

Tens of thousands of people are already without power.

Forecasters said conditions would only get more lethal when the storm smashed ashore early on Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawled slowly inland.

Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 900mm of rain, triggering severe flooding.

Florence’s winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 225 kph earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying category four to a two.

But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned: “Don’t relax, don’t get complacent. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. Today the threat becomes a reality.”

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.


Police car speeding without sirens or lights when it hit grandmother’s car in Cronulla

The NSW police car that hit a Sydney grandmother’s car was travelling at 124kph in a 70kph zone and did not have its lights flashing or sirens on at the time of the crash.

Police today revealed details about last week’s crash in Cronulla which left 68-year-old Gai Vieira critically injured, after her family yesterday called for them to “take responsibility” and for certain pursuits to be banned.

Ms Vieira was driving with her grandson Tyler on the Kingsway when their car was T-boned by a police vehicle pursuing another driver — what NSW Police call an “urgent duty”.

Police say the driver they were attempting to stop had been using a mobile phone.

Ms Vieira is still in a coma in St George Hospital with broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken pelvis, elbow and ankle and bleeding on her brain.

NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, said he spoke today to ensure Ms Vieira’s family and the public they were being transparent as the investigation into the crash continued.

“We’re pulling out all stops to make sure it’s an open process,” he said. “And our thoughts are with the family.”

“We are taking this crash very seriously. It is a very complicated crash to deal with. We have 12 statements, and there’s three to go, but we make sure we have all the information before we conclude it.

“We look at all the evidence and all the data — we look at these things from every point of view.”

The family is demanding the State Government follow the lead of Queensland and Victoria, which restrict police pursuits to situations in which public safety is directly at risk.

Assistant Commissioner Corboy said police had the “unenviable task” of having to make decisions at any time of the night and day in what was an “inherently dangerous practice”.

“We will continue to do it, but we will continue to do it in a way which complies with our safe driver policy.”

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