'They absolutely are' – Kiwi crews hugely confident ahead of Bathurst showdown

1 NEWS' Kimberlee Downs has been assessing the chances of Kiwi drivers at Mt Panorama. Source: Breakfast



As Australia's strawberry scare expands to apples and bananas, police offer big reward hoping for clues

Almost two weeks after a Queensland man was taken to hospital after biting into a strawberry with a sewing needle inside, the hunt for those responsible goes on.

The contamination has spread nationwide, with West Australian police confirming on yesterday that they were investigating claims a primary school student had bitten into a strawberry with a needle inside.

Starting this morning, all fresh strawberries being exported from Australia must be metal-contaminant free.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources announced the interim control measure yesterday evening in response to the growing situation.

"In order for strawberry export permits to be approved, exporters will be required to provide assurance to the department that their consignment is free from metal contaminants," the department said in a statement.

The family of one grower has shared the heartbreak of having to dump truckloads of strawberries. Source: Donnybrook Berries/Facebook

"These measures apply to fresh strawberry exports to all markets, and will remain in place until the risk of metal contaminants has been appropriately managed."

Yesterday's report was the fifth incident of needle-contaminated strawberries in WA.

The latest incident has led to the WA government following the Queensland government in offering a NZ $110,000 reward for information on the culprit or culprits.

"The motive appears unclear ... at the end of the day it's an act of treachery to the people of Australia," Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty told reporters, confirming NSW police were investigating at least 20 cases of needles being found in fruit including claims of needles being found in an apple and a banana.

The halt comes after needles were found in different brands in Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

Det Supt Doherty said perpetrators, including copycats and consumers falsely claiming a discovery, could face up to 10 years in jail for food contamination.

No-one has been charged in relation to the tampering.

In Queensland, struggling growers have been boosted by the announcement of a NZ $1.1 million fund to assist them through the crisis.

Horticulture body Growcom has implored consumers to keep buying strawberries.

"Hang in there with us and our saying will be 'cut it up, don't cut us out'," Growcom chief executive David Thomson said.

The scare is expected to result in a review of fruit handling, storage and packaging following the police investigations, Mr Thomson said.

NSW authorities are investigating more than 20 incidents of needles found in strawberries. Source: Breakfast


Supporters call for fair trial for Sri Lankan university student held on terror charges in Australia

Family members, human rights activists and civic groups have gathered in Colombo to demand a speedy and fair investigation of a Sri Lankan student detained in Australia on suspicion of terrorism.

The New South Wales police website says Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney on August 30 for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Police say they found the alleged plans described in a notebook.

A support group, United for Kamer, planned a silent protest today to support their call for a fair trial for the 25-year-old student.

The group says Nizamdeen was working for the University of New South Wales and has been kept in solitary confinement since his arrest.

It says Nizamdeen denies what police say he wrote in the notebook.

A statement from the family read out at the protest said Kamer was allowed to contact one family member immediately after the arrest but thereafter denied access to legal counsel or family members.

The protesters silently held placards and banners with slogans about Kamer's innocence as well as the investigation.

Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney last month for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Source: Associated Press

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Four-time IndyCar champ in awe of former teammate Scott Dixon's dominance

One of Indycar's most successful drivers has described his former teammate Scott Dixon as "a chameleon" with "exceptional desire" after surpassing him for career driver's championship wins.

Dixon won his fifth IndyCar title on Monday to sit second only to American great AJ Foyt who won seven championships.

With the achievement, the 38-year-old Kiwi broke away from the four-time winners group of Dario Franchitti, Mario Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais.

Franchitti drove alongside Dixon before becoming an adviser to Chip Ganassi Racing - the team Dixon races for - and said the Kiwi's ability to adapt was phenomenal.

"He's like a chameleon. He adapts to different styles of cars and different styles of tyres," Franchitti told IndyCar.com.

"He learns from every teammate he's got. He uses every resource he can get, and he'll ask questions of them. You see the results.

"Talent only gets you so far. He's got lots of it, maybe more than I've ever raced against. That's saying a lot with some of the people I've raced against. He just keeps working at it. That desire is exceptional."

But Dixon said after yesterday's triumph it was more than just him.

"It’s all about the people, I’m the lucky one that gets to take it across the line," he said.

"I can’t thank my wife, Emma, enough, she’s been so amazing through the whole season, it’s actually the anniversary of her father’s passing today so it’s an emotional time."

The Kiwi driver notched up the milestone at Sonoma Raceway in California. Source: Seven Sharp


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Needle found in Sydney apple amid strawberry contamination crisis - report

A mother has reportedly found a needle inside an apple she bought from a Woolworths supermarket in Sydney's northwest.

The Seven Network today reported the needle was found in a six-pack of Pink Lady apples purchased from a supermarket at The Ponds.

The Kellyville Ridge mother reportedly found the needle when peeling an apple for her daughters this morning.

"I just thought wow this can't possibly be happening," she told the Seven Network.

"Not in apples. I'd seen the news about the strawberries and I'd been vigilant about cutting those up for the girls but to see this in an apple ..."

A Woolworths spokesman told AAP "we're aware of the customer report and understand police are investigating".

"The details have been referred to the authorities leading the response to this matter and we'll consult with them on next steps," he said in a statement.

New South Wales Police say they are investigating and have called a press conference to discuss the matter.

Needles have been found in strawberries across Australia with New Zealand announcing this week it would pull the Australian-grown fruit from its supermarket shelves.

A health warning to throw out or cut up strawberries remains in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia.

Cripps Pink apples just in from harvest at an apple orchard
Apples (file picture). Source: istock.com