Daily News Roundup

June 28, 2019

FRIDAY, June 28

As fears continue to grow for missing Australian man Alek Sigley, in North Korea, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says no new information has  emerged. 

“It is troubling to me and I’m sure his family as well,” Mr Morrison told the ABC.

The 29-year-old Perth man’s family and friends haven’t had contact with him for days

Mr Morrison said other world leaders had raised the plight of the Perth man, who has not made contact with his family for days, since the Prime Minister arrived in Japan for G20 meetings.

“The expressions of support and assistance that have come from other nations I have met with here has been very welcome.

“We will continue to focus sharply on that and seek to clarify what exactly has occurred and then take steps from there.”

Australia’s diplomatic presence is limited in North Korea, but officials have been making urgent inquiries through Swedish diplomats.

Mr Sigley speaks fluent Korean and began studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang last year.

He is believed to be the only Australian living in North Korea and sources have told the ABC that friends of Mr Sigley reported him missing earlier this week.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) yesterday said it was “urgently seeking clarification” about his disappearance.

But Mr Morrison said no new information had emerged.

“We need to determine the facts and we need to determine the specific circumstances that have evolved here,” the Prime Minister said.

A spokeswoman for the Sigley family yesterday said it had not been confirmed if Mr Sigley had been detained.

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An intense heatwave has sent temperatures across Europe soaring to record highs, with central Europe forecast to hit the mid-40s on Friday.

Temperatures climbed towards 44 degrees Celsius in parts of Spain and France where calls to emergency services are on the rise.

An intense wildfire in Spain is thought to have started after chicken poo combusted

New records have already been set in Poland and the Czech Republic, which both reached their highest temperatures for June on Wednesday, while Austria expects to have its warmest June on record — 4.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term average.

In Germany, 51 observing stations broke their June temperature records this week, according to the World Meteorology Organization, but there has been some relief for northern Germany with Berlin dropping from 37C on Wednesday down to just 21C on Thursday.

Across the continent, zookeepers struggled to keep animals cool, feeding frozen treats to animals and providing water tubs and hoses to cool down elephants and primates.

Temperatures have climbed past 44C in northern Spain and southern France, driving people to seek refuge in the sea or nearby rivers, with it predicted to rise even higher on Friday.

French authorities put restrictions on vehicles to reduce pollution and schools have been closed.

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said the conditions were unprecedented and emergency services were overwhelmed with patients.

Spanish firefighters are battling wildfires in Catalonia, the worst the state has seen in two decades, according to the local government.

Hundreds of firefighters have struggled to contain the blaze in north-eastern Spain, with it already spreading over 5,500 hectares and forcing the evacuation of 53 residents.

Wildfires are burning in Spain and four people have reportedly died in south France, as Europe swelters in a heatwave, but Germany has seen some relief.

The Italian Health Ministry said seven cities, including Florence, Rome and Turin, already were at Italy’s highest heat warning level on Thursday.

On Friday, 16 cities will be under alerts for high temperatures.

Italian authorities instructed people to avoid being outside during the hottest hours of the day and to stay away from areas with a lot of vehicle traffic to prevent ozone exposure.

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Harry and Megan are planning a visit to South Africa later this year and baby Archie is going with them, according to Buckingham Palace.

The Royal couple described the trip later this year as “their first official tour as a family”.

Harry and Meghan will visit the country in the northern autumn and a posting on their official Instagram account describes how they are “really looking forward” to meeting people during the trip.

The duke will also carry out solo visits to Angola, Malawi and Botswana.

The Instagram posting said: “The duke and duchess are really looking forward to meeting so many of you on the ground and continuing to raise awareness of the high impact work local communities are doing across the commonwealth and beyond.

“This will be their first official tour as a family!”

Baby Archie will be around five months old when his parents take him on his first official overseas trip.

The Duke of Cambridge was just nine months old when his parents the Prince and Princess of Wales took him to Australia and New Zealand for a royal tour in 1983 and when William became a father, his son Prince George travelled with him and Kate to the same countries in 2014.

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