Daily News Roundup

March 19, 2018

MONDAY, MARCH 19

More than 70 homes and other buildings are feared to have been destroyed in and around the town of Tathra, on the New South Wales south coast, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) reported.

It is believed four people in the Tathra region have been treated for smoke inhalation and one RFS volunteer has been injured, but there are no reports of missing people.

According to ABC News, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is flying down to the devastated area.

Weather conditions eased overnight and the fire, which spans more than 1,070 hectares, was downgraded from emergency warning to watch-and-act level.

The RFS said it was being controlled.

The RFS began assessing the extent of the damage this morning, finding mobile phone towers were down and businesses as well as homes had been damaged or lost.

“Building impact assessment teams will move across the fire ground and that will be a process of going street to street, house to house,” the RFS’ Paul Best said.

The RFS said it was not yet safe for residents to return home due to a number of hazards like fallen trees and powerlines.

“It is really a dangerous place for people to be at the moment and we are definitely asking people to remain outside the township of Tathra as the firefighters go about their work,” Mr Best said.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says it is nonsense to think that Moscow would have poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who are critically ill in a British hospital.

Britain said Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by the Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent, and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Sunday that Russia has been stockpiling it and investigating how such weapons could be used in assassinations.

But Mr Putin, in his first detailed comments on the poisoning, said Russia had been falsely accused.

“As for the tragedy that you mentioned, I found out about it from the media,” Mr Putin told reporters, reported ABC news..

“The first thing that entered my head was that if it had been a military-grade nerve agent, the people would have died on the spot.

“Secondly, Russia does not have such [nerve] agents.

“We destroyed all our chemical weapons under the supervision of international organisations, and we did it first, unlike some of our partners who promised to do it, but unfortunately did not keep their promises.”

Despite the tensions, Mr Putin said Moscow was ready to work with London.

“We are ready to cooperate, we said that straight away, we are ready to take part in the necessary investigations, but for that there needs be a desire from the other side, and we don’t see that yet,” Mr Putin said.

“But we are not taking it off the agenda, joint efforts are possible.

“I think any sensible person would understand that it would be rubbish, drivel, nonsense, for Russia to embark on such an escapade on the eve of a presidential election. It’s just unthinkable.”

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A long-time aerialist with Cirque du Soleil has died after falling onto the stage during a performance in Florida, the company has confirmed.

Yann Arnaud was injured performing the aerial straps number during the show Volta in Tampa on Saturday night (local time), reports the ABC..

In a statement, company president Daniel Lamarre said emergency procedures were immediately activated and Mr Arnaud was taken to the nearest hospital, where he later passed away.

“The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy,” the statement said.

“Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had a chance to know him.

“Over the coming days and weeks, our focus will be on supporting Yann’s family and our employees, especially the Volta team, as we go through these difficult times together.”

Volta’s remaining two shows in Tampa have been cancelled.

Mr Lamarre said the company was gathering more information about Mr Arnaud’s death and offered its “full and transparent collaboration” to authorities.

In 2013 acrobat Sarah Guyard was the first performer to die the history of Cirque du Soleil.

The 31-year-old fell from the high wire during a performance of KA in Las Vegas.

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