Daily News Roundup

August 7, 2018

TUESDAY, AUGUST 7

Australia’s population will hit the 25 million mark later tonight according to projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a milestone reached in record time as net migration continues to outpace births.

The ABS population clock estimates Australia’s population is increasing by one person every 83 seconds, and the new population record is likely to be set at about 11:00pm.

While we cannot know for certain who the 25 millionth person will be, author and political commentator George Megalogenis said they would most likely be a young, female Chinese student or skilled worker.

“The two biggest migrant groups in Australia are Chinese and Indians since the turn of the 21st century,” he told The World program on ABC..

“So we’re getting an extraordinary number of Chinese and Indians from two countries that are actually rising.

“Since about 2005, we’re receiving more people from overseas than have been added to our population through natural increase, so more migrants than babies.

“The biggest story in the 21st century for Australia is the migration story.”

Net overseas migration — the number of arrivals minus departures — currently accounts for 62 per cent of Australia’s growth. Natural increase makes up 38 per cent.

“Last time that happened was in the gold rushes of the 1850s,” Megalogenis said.

If you look at arrival figures, as opposed to net overseas migration, people born in China emerge as the largest group of migrants accounting for 15.8 per cent of total arrivals.

Divided by visa category, international students are the largest group of arrivals, and China is the most common country of birth for international students in Australia.

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Indonesian Government officials are trying to coordinate a massive relief effort for residents and tourists on the island of Lombok, with the death toll from Sunday’s earthquake standing at 98, and many more missing.

The island was further rattled by a magnitude-5.2 earthquake last night.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said it expected the death toll to rise once the rubble of more than 13,000 houses felled by two powerful quakes in the space of a week was cleared.

Power and communications have been cut in some areas, hampering the search for missing people, with landslides and a collapsed bridge blocking access to areas around the epicentre in the north.

Indonesia’s military said it would send a ship with medical aid, supplies and logistics support.

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from the island.

Several hundred foreigners spent a second night with no electricity or water on the Gili Islands, off the north-west coast of Lombok, after rescue boats ran out of fuel.

Officials said more than 2,000 people had been evacuated from the three Gili islands.

On Lombok, whole villages have been flattened.

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In what has been described as a “miraculous” rescue, a Brisbane vet has surgically implanted feathers into a badly injured wild bird, saving it from certain death, the ABC reports.

A report by Shelley Lloyd and Patrick Williams said a tawny frogmouth was recently found tangled in a barbed wire fence at Jimboomba, south-west of Brisbane.

The distressed bird was cut free by wildlife carer Annette Bird and taken to the Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary hospital at suburban Greenslopes on the city’s south side.

“When I saw him I thought game over,” Ms Bird said.

“Clearly he was stuck and I realised he was in big trouble, so I had to cut his main flight feathers to get him free, or it was going to end badly.”

The tawny frogmouth, called Koura, was sedated and cut from the fence but before it could be taken to the vet, Ms Bird received a call from the RSPCA to rescue another tawny frogmouth nearby.

“Unfortunately the other bird had a horribly smashed wing from a car strike and wasn’t going to live, but I gathered it up anyway and rushed both birds to the vet,” she said.

“As it turns out it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Koura’s luck continued when vet Hamish Baron was on duty at the Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Clinic.

He examined Koura and found that he would not be able to fly and survive in the wild in his current condition and drastic measures were needed to save him.

“Fortuitously, I’ve just got back from three-and-a-half months training doing falconry medicine in Dubai and we did feather implants every day over there because the birds were breaking their wing feathers during training,” Dr Baron said.

“This bird was the perfect candidate, because it came in with another bird that had passed away — a tawny frogmouth of the same size and sex — and so we were able to transplant the feathers without any dramas trying to find a donor bird.

“The stars really did align for this bird.”

Dr Baron said a delicate procedure called “imping”, or feather transplant, was used to save Koura.

“We trimmed the feather shafts really short and placed a little bamboo skewer inside the shaft and attached that also to the feather that we’re replacing it with,” he said.

“Then we used some glue and bicarb soda just to provide a good seal and then just use an emery board to smooth all the feathers down.

“It was a very, very lucky bird and it was a little bit of a miracle that everything came together, that we had the skill and the time that day to do it and we also had the feathers from the donor bird.”

Koura was released into the care of Ms Bird that afternoon and five days later, after a couple of test flights, was released back into the wild.

“I took him back out to Jimboomba to release him in his area, and he flew straight, he flew high — it was just awesome to see,” Ms Bird said.

“The outcome was unbelievable as far as I’m concerned, it was miraculous really.

“It was an unbelievable feeling when I saw him fly off — you can’t even put words to it — it was just awesome.”

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

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