Authorities think deadly Texas package explosions are linked after second death

Two package bombs which killed a teenager and wounded two women overnight in Austin are probably linked to a similar bombing that killed a man elsewhere in the city this month, authorities say.

Investigators are considering whether race was a factor because most of the victims were black.

Shortly after Police Chief Brian Manley announced the suspected link between the recent blasts and a March 2 attack that killed a 39-year-old man, authorities rushed to the scene of a third explosion that badly injured a second woman.

Authorities have not said whether that blast was also caused by a package bomb or if the victim, like those hit in the two confirmed bombings, is black.

Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted that the woman is in her 70s and was taken to a hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries.

Authorities urged the public to call police if they receive any unexpected packages.

The latest explosions happened during the South by Southwest music, film and technology festival, which brings about 400,000 visitors to Austin each year.

The explosions happened far from the main events of the festival, and there was no immediate word from organisers about additional safety precautions being taken.

Four years ago, a driver ploughed through a barricade and into festival-goers, killing four people and injuring many others.

Additional security measures were taken in the aftermath, including additional policing, tougher security checks and brighter street lighting, among others.

The three explosions occurred in different parts of east Austin.



Drum lines set out as hunt begins for shark that attacked Kiwi girl in Queensland

Drum lines will be set after two tourists were critically injured in separate attacks at a harbour in the Whitsunday Islands in north Queensland.

A 12-year-old New Zealand girl holidaying with her father and sister received a life-threatening wound to her leg on Thursday afternoon at Cid Harbour.

Emergency services say the young girl lost a lot of blood in the Whitsunday Islands attack. Source: Breakfast

The attack came less than 24 hours after Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick, 46, was also bitten on her left thigh while snorkelling in the same harbour.

The child was in a critical condition at Mackay Base Hospital but it's understood she will be transported to Brisbane for further treatment.

Ms Barwick was taken to Brisbane on Thursday and her condition has since been upgraded to stable in intensive care at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

Fisheries Queensland will set three baited drum lines in the harbour on Friday in a bid to catch the shark or sharks responsible.

"It is possible that there's more than one shark involved in these unfortunate events," the department's shark control program manager Jeff Krause told the ABC.

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"We don't normally go out and search for any sharks that may have been involved in a shark attack but due to the nature of these multiple attacks, Fisheries Queensland is going to deploy three drum lines in a bid to try and catch some of the sharks in that area."

Mr Krause said various types of whaler species as well as bull and tiger sharks can be found in waters around the harbour and he advised against swimming in or near Cid Harbour for the time being.

The last attack in the area was eight years ago.

Shark attack expert Daryl McPhee, from Bond University, said while the likelihood of being attacked by a shark is slim, the Great Barrier Reef has a higher population of sharks than other areas.

"That increases the chances of something happening," Associate Professor McPhee said.

"Sharks will bite things that they think are prey and sometimes they consider people prey."

The girl was on holiday with her father and sister when her upper leg was attacked in the Whitsunday Islands. Source: CH9

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

US man charged with putting daughter in game machine to steal prizes

A Massachusetts teacher has been charged with putting his toddler daughter into a game machine at a New Hampshire shopping mall and using her to steal prizes.

Police in Salem say 34-year-old Anthony Helinski, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, turned himself in Wednesday, five days after witnesses at the Mall at Rockingham Park recorded video of a man encouraging the girl to hand out prizes from within the KeyMaster game.

The video then shows the toddler climbing out of the machine.

Andover Public Schools told WCVB-TV that Helinski has been placed on leave from his job as a middle school teacher.

Helinski is charged with theft, trespassing and child endangerment.

A Massachusetts teacher has been charged with putting the toddler into a game machine at a shopping mall and using her to steal prizes. Source: Associated Press

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

New law in California limits plastic straws in restaurants

People who want straws with their drinks at California restaurants will have to ask for them under a new state law.

The law signed today by Governor Jerry Brown makes California the first US state to bar full-service restaurants from automatically giving out single-use plastic straws. It takes effect next year.300

The law doesn't ban plastic straws outright like some cities have.

Restaurants that don't comply will get two warnings before being fined up to NZ $450 per year. It will apply only to full-service restaurants, not fast food establishments.

Democratic lawmakers who support the law call it a small step toward reducing ocean pollution.

Plastic is bad, including straws, but the trouble is other options don’t always do the trick. Source: Seven Sharp

The law comes as cities and businesses around the world experiment with ditching the plastic products.

In April, 26 bars, restaurants, cafes and food trucks along Wellington's waterfront pledged to go plastic straw free.

"Our primary position is no straw if we can get away with it, but if somebody request one we will put one in the glass," Munchen Bar owner John Henderson told 1 NEWS at the time.

Businesses in Rangiora in North Canterbury have made similar moves, and politicians in the United Kingdom have announced straws will be banned there as early as next year.

Critics argue California's new law is government overreach that won't significantly improve the environment. Some say restricting straws hurts disabled people who rely on them.

Allison Franklin from Christchurch is passionate about the environment, but she also wants to use a plastic straw. Source: 1 NEWS

But straws are an eyesore that litter beaches around the world, and banning them is a step in the right direction, advocates in New Zealand agree.

"If you walk along beaches, especially Oriental Bay and Evans Bay (in Wellington), you'll see plastic straws strewn around the beaches," Oliver Vetter of Sustainable Oceans told 1 NEWS after the voluntary business ban in Wellington.

"We pick up about ten thousand straws a year just as part of our Love Your Coast program in Wellington."

Twenty-six bars, cafes, restaurants and food trucks on the waterfront are trialling a plastic straw-free future. Source: 1 NEWS


Pacific update with Barbara Dreaver: Stoush over use of bula in US, polio outbreak in PNG, and one giant fish

Pacific update with Barbara Dreaver is 1 NEWS' weekly look at the goings-on around the Pacific.

This week, we look at a stoush breaking out over the use of the word bula in the United States, the response to a polio outbreak in PNG, and a giant fish being hauled in.

Dreaver also looks at what is doing the rounds in the Pacific community on social media.

1 NEWS’ Pacific correspondent brings us the latest from around the Pacific. Source: 1 NEWS