Daily News Roundup

August 6, 2018

Image: ABC News

Indonesia earthquake leaves at least 82 dead in Lombok, Bali as residents flee

A strong earthquake has struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing at least 82 people and shaking neighbouring Bali, one week after another quake on Lombok killed more than a dozen.

The magnitude-7 quake struck at a depth of 15 kilometres early on Sunday evening in the northern part of Lombok, triggering a brief tsunami warning and damaging buildings as far away as Denpasar in Bali. It was followed by aftershocks as strong as magnitude-5.4.

On Lombok, thousands fled from their homes to gather for safety in open spaces, but a tsunami warning was lifted after waves just 15 centimetres high were recorded in three villages.

The ABC’s Indonesia correspondent David Lipson said a witness on the nearby Gili Islands reported hundreds of people fleeing to higher ground.

“Some were huddled in the dark wearing life vests and praying after each aftershock,” he said.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 65 of the deaths were in North Lombok district, nine in West Lombok district, four in the provincial capital Mataram and two each in Central Lombok and East Lombok districts.

Thousands of houses were damaged, and most of those killed were hit by collapsed houses, he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is contacting the Indonesian President today to offer Australia’s help to cope with the earthquake.

“We always reach out to our neighbours when natural disasters strike,” he said.

Mr Turnbull said there were no reports at this stage of Australians being injured by the quake.

“Obviously Australians have been affected, they felt the shock, including Minister Peter Dutton who was at a counter-terrorism conference in Lombok,” he said.

“There are a lot of Australians in Indonesia at any time, so our consular services will be doing everything they can to ascertain the safety of Australians.”

Mr Dutton said his delegation was safe but had to be evacuated from its hotel.

“Very grateful to Indonesian police and authorities and the AFP,” he tweeted.

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SA Police offer rewards for information on Tanja Ebert and Michael Modesti

South Australian Police are offering two separate $200,000 rewards for information on the suspected murders of an outback woman and an Adelaide man who went missing in 2016.

Almost a year to the day after mother-of-two Tanja Ebert was reported missing, police have announced a reward for information leading to the recovery of her body.

Her husband, Michael Burdon, killed himself at the couple’s property, at Manna Hill, in the state’s far north-east, on August 16 as police searched the 410 square-kilometre Oulnina Park Station.

Police believe he may have told someone where Ms Ebert’s remains were hidden.

Major Crime Investigation Branch Detective Sergeant Paul Ward said police did not believe Mr Burdon’s story that Ms Ebert — a German citizen — got out of the family vehicle at Roseworthy on August 8 and walked away.

“There are now two young boys who are orphaned and Tanja’s family in Germany have no place to visit, or body to lay to rest,” he said.

“And while her remains have not been found, Oulnina Park Station will always have a cloud over it.

“We, as the investigation team, suspect her remains are on that property, so until she is found there will always be that question over the station at Manna Hill.

“We have searched all the waterways, all the sentimental locations, and buildings at the property but unfortunately we have not found her.

“This property is enormous, but everything leads us to believe she is there.”

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Sea Shepherd sets sail for north Queensland to stop Adani Carmichael coal project

Conservation group Sea Shepherd is training its sights on campaigning to stop Adani’s Carmichael coal project but Federal MP George Christensen has criticised the move, saying the activists should “stick to what they know”.

Sea Shepherd, best known for its long-running battle with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, which it abandoned last year, this week sailed north for Abbot Point in north Queensland where the coal project is underway.

The group’s managing director Jeff Hansen said the 12 stop trip aimed to draw international attention to the mine and to raise awareness about the “detrimental impacts it will have on the Great Barrier Reef”.

“The reality is if this coal mine goes ahead, say goodbye to our Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Hansen said.

“The mine puts at risk any chance of a liveable climate for our kids, it puts at risk 64,000 jobs that the reef supports, not to mention tens of thousands of jobs for farmers throughout the Galilee Basin.

“It doesn’t stack up on any level — be that environmentally, be that in supporting the region in jobs.”

‘Supporting the mine would be un-Australian’

Mr Hansen said the coal expansion would bring additional ships, noise and pollution to waters surrounding the reef, and would contribute to its die-off.

“Massive coal ships are going to go right through that area,” he said.

“If this goes ahead, say goodbye to an Australian icon, she [the Great Barrier Reef] is sick, a third of her is already dead. It would just be un-Australian to support the project.”

But local MP George Christensen has slammed the move, saying Sea Shepherd has joined a bandwagon of green groups against the mine.

He said claims the coal project would impact on the reef or environment were false.

“I think Sea Shepherd should continue their focus on chasing whalers and not chasing headlines,” he said.

“The facts they’re spouting are just facts they’ve gotten from other green groups, which aren’t facts at all.

“There’s going to be one extra coal ship coming into Abbot Point a week once they’re at full production, and I understand that the passage at which they get to Abbot Point they’re no closer than 40 kilometres away from the nearest reef.

“There’s a lot of myth and a lot of spin going on, but those are the facts.”

This daily news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News. 
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