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Iran confirms arrests over shootdown of Ukrainian plane that killed 176

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Iran’s judiciary has confirmed arrests and the possibility of a special judiciary court over the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed all 176 people on board.

Perth man in jail over ‘cabbie bashing’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Tore Gerard Vincenzo Bembasciuto, 23, is behind bars in a Balinese prison after allegedly punching a taxi driver and snatching his phone in an altercation in Kuta.

Government set to revise total number of hectares destroyed during bushfire season

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The Northern Territory was not previously included in the official count.

Riot ends with inmate jumping into swimming pool

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Teenagers at the Cobham Youth Justice Centre near Penrith made their way onto the roof this afternoon.

A Conservative Mums Group Is Really Upset Burger King Used The ‘D-Word’ In An Ad

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Conservative activist group One Million Moms has beef with Burger King over its use of the so-called “d-word” in a commercial for the Impossible Whopper burger. The group, which infamously pressured Hallmark to remove a commercial depi…

Tasmania’s Premier Will Hodgman resigns

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The Tasmanian Liberals’ longest-serving member has resigned as Premier, saying it is time for new leadership for Tasmania.

Meet Some Of The Australian Animals Hardest Hit By The Bushfire Disaster

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The bushfires in Australia have burned through more than 10 million hectares, killing hundreds of millions of animals in the path of the blazes and devastating significant swaths of crucial habitat for the survivors. 

Numerous animals in the hardest-hit states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia face real threats to extinction as they struggle to recover from the destructive fires.


The federal government has committed $50 million to a wildlife recovery fund. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced half this sum would go to wildlife rescues, hospitals and conservation groups, and the other $25 million would go to an emergency intervention fund advised by a panel of experts.

Ecology expert Chris Dickman from the University of Sydney conservatively estimates more than 1 billion animals may have perished across the country, based on mammal, bird and reptile population density estimates multiplied by the area burned.

According to a draft of the Victorian state government’s bushfire biodiversity response plan obtained by HuffPost, the blazes in the state had burned through “mostly high biodiversity value areas.” The report listed 54 species for immediate concern based on the extent of habitat burned, with numerous species having lost more than 40% of their habitat and some projected to lose more than 70%. Among the 54 species are 13 amphibians, 2 bats, 8 mammals, 11 birds, 7 reptiles and 13 aquatic fauna.

A spokesperson for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service said an emergency recovery plan to protect and restore wildlife populations in the state is being developed. “On-ground interventions to protect threatened species and remaining habitat will need to include provision of food, water and shelter as well as pest and weed control,” she said.

Here’s a snapshot of the species facing serious threat from the fires.

Brush-tailed rock-wallaby

A brush-tailed rock-wallaby enjoys a carrot after thousands of pounds of vegetables were airdropped across New South Wales after the bushfires.

The brush-tailed rock-wallaby was already listed as endangered prior to the bushfires. Mark Eldridge, the principal research scientist at the Australian Museum Research Institute, has been studying the species for more than three decades. He said many of the remaining wallaby colonies had been burned by the “unprecedented large and hot fires.”

“The fires have killed some individuals but others have survived as they were able to shelter in their rocky crevices. However, the survivors now face an extremely difficult time as the fire has removed all or most of their food so they face starvation, and with most plant cover gone they are now very exposed to predators … which are often attracted to burnt areas.”

He said that, although he does not usually favor intervention, these were “desperate times,” nodding to the New South Wales government’s current aerial food drops of carrots and sweet potatoes for hungry animals.

“The species has certainly taken a hit and will continue to suffer. Once we know more about the impact, we will be able to see if their conservation status needs to be reassessed.”

He said there was an urgent need to step up control of non-native predators and herbivores in fire-affected areas to give survivors a chance to recover.

Kangaroo Island dunnart

Kangaroo Island dunnart

The Kangaroo Island dunnart is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Rosie Hohnen, an ecologist at Charles Darwin University who researches the species, said that the fires have burned “all sites that they have been detected at since 1990, so effectively its entire range.”

“Given it was previously considered critically endangered and that it will be very difficult for individuals to survive in burnt areas, it’s clear the species is in real peril, on the very edge of extinction,” Hohnen said.

Attempts to recover the species will involve surveying unburned habitat, controlling predators in those areas and fencing off the predator-free areas.


Purkunas the koala at Taronga Zoo's Wildlife Hospital in Sydney. The zoo has received a $1 million boost in the wake of the fires to continue its conservation efforts.

Koalas have been hit hard in some of their populations, such as near Port Macquarie, New South Wales, where populations of several hundreds have been reduced to very few, said Mathew Crowther, a University of Sydney expert in wildlife ecology. However, a lot of koala habitat does still remain unaffected by the bushfires, he said. 

Federal environment minister Sussan Ley said that up to 30% of their habitat in New South Wales had been destroyed and that the fires might move the koala from its “vulnerable” classification to “endangered.”

Southern corroboree frog

Taronga Zoo is attempting to save the southern corroboree frog from destruction due to climate change, habitat loss and deadly introduced species.

Experts are gravely concerned about the critically endangered southern corroboree frog. The species already faced a grim future due to disease, and climate change has affected its alpine environment in the Kosciuzko National Park, Zoos Victoria says on its site. A mega-blaze comprised of three fires has moved through this region, leaving experts unclear on the frogs’ fate. However, conservation groups have “insurance” populations of captive-bred frogs on site.

Regent honeyeater

With the population of regent honeyeaters plummeting, Australian officials have turned to captive breeding in the hopes of saving the endangered bird from extinction.

This critically endangered songbird has lost important breeding habitat, especially in its Capertee Valley stronghold. According to Ross Crates, the lead researcher for the species at Australian National University, at least 20% of its known breeding habitat had been lost. “Probably at least 60% of the areas where they may disperse through to spend the winter has been burnt,” he said.

A plan to release captive-bred regent honeyeaters last year has been rescheduled for spring due to the wildfires, however, surveying of burned sites will need to take place to see if this plan is still viable.

Spotted-tail quoll 

The spotted-tail quoll is endemic to eastern Australia and has suffered substantial decline since European settlement in Australia.

The spotted-tail quoll was endangered even before the fires and suffered losses to feral predators and habitat destruction from changing fire patterns, land clearing and logging. The fires destroyed key habitat in areas including the Tallaganda National Park, a biodiversity stronghold, which urgently needs rain to regenerate. 

Long-footed potoroo

Long-footed potoroos are a forest-dwelling rat-kangaroo found in New South Wales and Victoria.

The long-footed potoroo, found in Victoria’s fire-ravaged East Gippsland region and in southeastern New South Wales, is a forest-dwelling mini kangaroo that feeds almost exclusively on a type of fungi. The animal is likely to have sustained serious loss of food and habitat, and it will be vulnerable and exposed to predators.

Glossy black cockatoo

A rare, wild glossy black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami lathami) in flight in New South Wales.

Kangaroo Island’s unique subspecies of glossy black cockatoo was, until recently, a success story for Australia’s conservation. Daniella Teixeira, a conservation biologist at the University of Queensland, said that, although it was not yet safe for staff to get on the ground to make assessments, as much as 60% of the habitat may have been lost.

“With a population of fewer than 400 birds before this crisis, this loss of habitat will be a major setback to the long-running conservation efforts for this unique bird,” she said.

She said the devastating losses may even put the bird back on the “critically endangered” list. However, her team would work hard to recover the species.

“By winter, we hope to plants thousands, if not tens of thousands, of food trees. These will provide food within five to 10 years. That probably seems like a long time, but that’s actually really quick for a tree. Our overall objective is to create more habitat so that the birds have a better chance of surviving such events in the future,” she said.

You can support organisations saving wildlife by donating to the Nature Foundation’s Wildlife Recovery Fund, the Save the Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoo fund, WWF Australia, NSW-based animal rescue group Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES), Zoos Victoria’s bushfire emergency wildlife fund, Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital, or Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

Army reservist visits resting place of family lost in fires

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Police officer and Army reservist, Kynan Lang’s uncle and cousin both perished in Adelaide’s fires.

Hodman Resigns

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Will Hodgman has resigned as Premier of Tasmania today. He has also resigned as an MHA for Franklin. “I leave this job Tasmania in a better place,” he said at the press conference at Parliament House this afternoon with his family by his side. He said he only just made the decision after reflecting with […]

The post Hodman Resigns appeared first on Tasmanian Times.

Love Island’s Cynthia Taylu Details ‘Uncomfortable’ Encounter With Stranger Who Touched Her Chest In Public: ‘He Complimented My Skin Colour’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Love Island star Cynthia Taylu has said she feels “frightened to walk down a street alone” after a terrifying experience last Friday. 

The 23-year-old, who appeared on the 2019 season of Love Island Australia,  said she was approached by a man during an afternoon stroll in Brisbane, who commented on her skin colour before inappropriately touching her without consent. 

“My body, my choice,” she wrote on Instagram. “I was walking home yesterday afternoon when a guy in his 40’s/50’s complimented my skin colour and told me he didn’t see many people within the area who were black. I felt uncomfortable but politely smiled and said thank you.”

Love Island star Cynthia Taylu.

Cynthia, who was born in Liberia, west Africa and moved to Australia at age seven, then detailed the stranger’s inappropriate physical behaviour.

“It wasn’t until he stepped into my space, and touched my chest area that I quickly realised this was not a normal encounter,” she wrote. “I pushed him away and started yelling at him.


“His response was ‘I couldn’t help myself.’ I was in utter disbelief that something like this could happen in 2020 at 3:30pm on a Friday afternoon in Brisbane.

“The world we live in forces me to constantly look over my shoulder, to feel frightened to walk down a street alone, to be protective of my colour,” she continued. 

“As a woman of colour living in this day and age, I tell you, it’s not easy.
Words can’t even communicate the things we have to go through as women.” 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Cynthia Taylu (@taylu_me) on Jan 10, 2020 at 8:35pm PST

After sharing the post, Cynthia replied to a concerned fan who asked if any passers-by offered her assistance during the ordeal.

“Guy nearby did ask me if I was alright. Was appreciative of that,” the reality star responded. 

HuffPost Australia has contacted Cynthia for comment. 

Cynthia was the first black contestant to appear on the Australian version of Love Island, and said she knew dating on the show would be challenging, because she “wasn’t going to be everyone’s type”. 

“I think for me going into the villa, I always knew that I wasn’t always going to be everyone’s type or that stereotypical Australian beauty,” she previously told HuffPost Australia. 

The show’s first night sparked a race debate amongst viewers when the initial pairing-up process left contestant Cynthia the last to be picked.

“I always knew I wasn’t going to be everyone’s type. I’m fine with that and I was happy with being coupled up with Sam the very first time,” said Cynthia. 

“I just try not to take offence to it because I think once you start kind of using your race as a bad thing or be like, ‘Oh they didn’t pick me because I’m black’, [it could’ve] just like really ruined my experience.

“It’s just one of those things, you just kind of go into it and you just know you’re not going to be everyone’s type, but at the end of the day, you have to be comfortable with who you are.” 

Cynthia Taylu was the first black contestant to appear on the Australian version of Love Island.

The actress and model also said she decided to apply for Love Island because she believed cultural representation on television is important. 

“For me, I watched the show last year and that was something that I noticed, ‘Oh there’s not really much diversity’,” she said.

“Obviously I did go on the show to find love but I also thought it would be really cool for someone of my background to go on a show that’s about love.” 

She said she’s “really happy” to have set an example for other young women of colour, who “can be a bit scared of putting themselves out there and doing particular things because they feel as though people won’t accept them because of their colour”. 

“Accept yourself for who you are. Think of yourself as an individual and go for it,” she said. 

After struggling to find romance in the Fiji villa, Cynthia eventually connected with latecomer, Aaron Shaw. The pair announced their split soon after the show ended. 

Need help? In Australia, call 1800 RESPECT (737 732) for the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service

‘Top secret’ UFO briefings revealed at Pentagon

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A Freedom of Information request in the US has revealed that the Pentagon is holding Top-Secret classified briefings about a widely-reported UFO encounter.

Craig Kelly Disputes Claim That Smoke Will Do Lap Of Earth, Reminding NASA That Earth Is Flat

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Liberal backbencher and science whiz Craig Kelly says NASA’s claim that smoke from Australia’s fires will do a full lap of the earth is ‘ridiculous’, pointing out that it’s impossible to ‘lap’ a two dimensional object. NASA scientists believe the smoke will travel entirely around the globe before returning to Australia from the west, but […]

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