Daily News Roundup

June 12, 2018

TUESDAY, June 12

A beekeeper in outback Queensland has started hand-feeding his stock as the drought creates a pollen shortage in the area.

The story captured the imagination of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, on his ‘listening tour’ of western Queensland, who posted extensively about it on social media, according to a story on the ABC’s Country Hour.

“The mayor of Bulloo Shire Council John ‘Tractor’ Ferguson said it was so dry he was hand- feeding his bees,” Mr Turnbull said in a Facebook video.

“I thought he was pulling my leg, but it actually is true,” the Prime Minister said.

The Bulloo Shire, in Queensland’s channel country, has been drought-declared for the past seven years, creating a tough environment for local industries.

Local mayor and beekeeper John ‘Tractor’ Ferguson has been producing honey in the channel country for about 40 years.

Mr Ferguson said hand feeding the bees was a job he often had to do, but with extended drought conditions he was feeding more than ever.

With a lack of pollen on the trees Mr Ferguson has been making up a supplement with flour, brewer’s yeast, and vitamins mixed into sugar syrup.

“2010 was the last good rain we had and we’ve just had hit-and-miss storms ever since,” he said.

“When the seasons are good we don’t have to worry about it, the bees go out naturally and get the natural pollen, which is better for them.”

Mr Ferguson said hand-feeding the bees was not profitable.

“We’re just keeping our hives alive so when it does rain we don’t have to go and buy more,” he said.

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A UK family of amateur sleuths have exposed a man’s efforts to coordinate a terror attack at Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market.

Victoria Police say there is no specific threat to Melbourne, after revelations a terrorist plot to blow up Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market was foiled by members of a British family who pretended to be a willing recruit.

A man, who claimed to be part of an overseas terrorist network, sent encrypted texts and voice files with instructions on how to set off a bomb at the market to the ‘recruit’ over five months.

But the recruit was actually a British-based family of “amateur jihadi hunters” and the correspondence was forwarded to the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police, the Herald-Sun reported on Tuesday.

Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther, who heads the counter terrorism unit, said police were made aware of the communications early this year, but concluded there was no specific threat.

“We take any reports of threats to infrastructure and people in Melbourne very seriously,” Asst Commissioner Guenther told Melbourne radio 3AW.

“We’re more than satisfied I have to say and I want to be really clear about that, there was no clear plot against anywhere in the city of Melbourne.”

The plot apparently involved making a car bomb and driving it at a crowded corner of the market.

Mr Guenther said the market was one of several Melbourne icons mentioned in the communications, with others including the court precinct and Federation Square.

“We’re very satisfied … this plot was not viable.”

The conversations, which in this case were between a person of interest in the Middle East and someone in the UK, were not unusual, he said.

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