Britain considers banning sale of energy drinks to children over health concerns

The sale of energy drinks to British children could be banned due to concerns over their high caffeine and sugar content.

In a statement, Prime Minister Theresa May said, "With thousands of young people regularly consuming energy drinks, often because they are sold at cheaper prices than soft drinks, we will consult on banning the sale of energy drinks to children."

The ban, which would only apply to England, would only be enforced for energy drinks with 150mg of caffeine or more per litre, Reuters reports.

A sugar tax on soft drinks came into effect across the UK in April this year.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Politicians say sugar and caffeine are damaging children’s health. Source: 1 NEWS



Ban 1080 activist denies killing native birds scattered across Parliament's steps by children - 'an act of theatre'

A Ban 1080 activist has denied killing any of the native birds that were scattered across Parliament's steps by children in a protest over the use of the pesticide.

Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard yesterday revealed five native birds were among those placed on the precinct - including two kererū which appear to have been bludgeoned to death.

He's laid a complaint with the police and the Department of Conservation (DOC). It is illegal to kill or possess native wildlife.

Department of Conservation staff say in the past month they've had their car tyres slashed and wheel nuts loosened. Source: 1 NEWS

One of the protest's leaders Alan Gurden told RNZ none of the creatures had been harmed by the protesters.

"They were dead creatures.... we're not the sort of people to go round killing birds to make a point."

The quail and weka were roadkill, but the other birds and mice had been collected from a 1080 drop-zone, he said.

"These animals were all killed from various methods but it certainly was not at the hand of us.... It was an act of theatre designed to show New Zealand what we put up with on the frontline."

He said the carcasses had been given to one of his friends to store after they were collected from drop-zones or from the roadside.

"I'm not going to divulge my source, but someone else brought those to the scene. They were laid on the steps by the children," Mr Gurden said.

"So technically I have never owned, or had in my possession, any native birds."

Mr Gurden refused to name his friend who stored the birds, but said there was "no way" he would have killed them.

"I've known him for quite a while. He's on the same cause as me and he has the same kaupapa as me," he said.

"There's no way he'd go out and kill birds to prove a point."

Mr Gurden said he had not been contacted by the police or DOC. In a statement, police said inquiries were ongoing.

Anti-1080 activists wielding placards and loudspeakers marched to Parliament over the weekend demanding an end to the use of the poison.

A vast array of conservation and farming organisations support the use of 1080, describing it is an effective pest control tool.

They include DOC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and lobby groups like Federated Farmers and Forest and Bird.

- By Craig McCulloch

rnz.co.nz

Marama Davidson said New Zealand needs "community-led conversations" about the use of 1080. Source: 1 NEWS


San Francisco to remove statue deemed racist and demeaning to indigenous groups

A San Francisco board has voted unanimously to remove a 19th century statue that activists say is racist and demeaning to indigenous people.

The unanimous decision yesterday by the San Francisco Board of Appeals involves the "Early Days" statue, which depicts a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and a Catholic missionary. It is part of a group of statues near City Hall that depict the founding of California.

San Francisco's Arts Commission spokeswoman Kate Patterson said the statue will be removed as soon as possible but wouldn't give an exact date, citing security concerns.

Native American activists have tried to have the statue removed for decades. They renewed efforts last year after clashes broke out over Confederate monuments.

"This has been a tough 30-plus years. But this is wonderful," Dee Dee Ybarra, an Ohlone tribal leader who urged the commissioners to remove the statue, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

After it is removed from public viewing, the statue will be restored and put in storage until officials decide what to do with it, Patterson said.

Several entities, including a museum in California, have expressed interest in housing it, she added.

In April, the board unanimously voted to overturn a decision by the city's Arts Commission to remove the sculpture. At the time, appeals board member Rick Swig called the statue "horrible" but said removing it from public view would squash free speech.

The quasi-judicial, five-member body agreed in June to reconsider its decision.

Earlier this year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to end the Columbus Day holiday and celebrate indigenous people and Italian Americans on the second Monday of October.

Board members said Native people suffered greatly after explorer Christopher Columbus arrived.

A 19th century statue depicting a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and Catholic missionary in San Francisco will be removed following a unanimous decision by a San Francisco board. Source: Associated Press

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Police search for culprit who hid needles inside Australian strawberry stocks

Police are still searching for the culprit who hid sewing needles inside of strawberry stocks from a Sunshine Coast-based supplier.

A fourth punnet of strawberries inserted with needles was discovered on Thursday by a Gladstone woman whose son bit into a contaminated berry he'd taken to school in his lunch box.

It comes a day after consumers in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales were urged to throw out berries bought in the past week following three similar incidents, one in Queensland and two in Victoria.

The Warmuran farm which supplied the berries under the brand names Berry Obsession and Berry Licious, was inspected by Queensland police and Australian Border Force officers on Thursday.

An investigation is also under way after a Coles employee found a small metal rod laying across the top of some strawberries inside a plastic punnet on the shelves of a Gatton store.

Police have cast doubt on the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association theory a disgruntled farm worker may be responsible.

Consumers are being told to cut up strawberries to make sure they are safe to eat and police want anyone who finds a needle to contact them.



Hurricane Florence weakens as its outer winds hit US, but storm still regarded as lethal

The outer bands of wind and rain from a weakened but still lethal Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina on Thursday as the monster storm moved in for a prolonged and potentially catastrophic drenching along the Southeast coast.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225 kph to 165 kph by midmorning, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2. But forecasters warned that the widening storm — and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day — will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm," National Hurricane Centre Director Ken Graham said. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that."

It’s predicted the fierce weather system will linger over the Carolina coast for days, not hours. Source: 1 NEWS

As of 11 a.m. EDT, Florence was centred about 230 kilometres southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 17 kph. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles 130 kilometres from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315 kilometres.

Forecasters said Florence's eye could come ashore early Friday around the North Carolina-South Carolina line. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to nearly 4 metres of storm surge and unloading water on both states.

By midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington. On North Carolina's Outer Banks, water flowed through streets and between beachfront homes, and some of the few people still left in Nags Head took photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

The forecast calls for as much as 102 centimetres of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

The result could be what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farms and industrial sites.

The police chief of a barrier island in Florence's bulls'-eye said he was asking for next-of-kin contact information from the few residents who refused to leave.

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate," Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents to remain alert despite changing forecasts.

"Don't relax, don't get complacent. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. Today the threat becomes a reality," he said.

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 160 kph, but that's still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind does.

Scientists said it is too soon to say what role, if any, global warming played in the storm. But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster because of human-caused climate change.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled ahead of the storm, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Airlines cancelled about 1,200 flights and counting, and some airports in the Carolinas virtually shut down. Home Depot and Lowe's activated emergency response centres and sent in around 1,100 trucks to get generators, trash bags and bottled water to stores before and after the storm.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

Florence's weakening as it neared the coast created tension between some who left home and authorities who worried that the storm could still be deadly.

Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that has since been downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a hotel in Wilmington several miles inland.

"Against my better judgement, due to emotionalism, I evacuated," he said. "I've got four cats inside the house. If I can't get back in a week, after a while they might turn on each other or trash the place."

Body surfer Andrew Vanotteren, of Savannah, Ga., crashes into waves from Hurricane Florence, Wednesday, Sept., 12, 2018, on the south beach of Tybee Island, Ga. Vanotteren and his friend Bailey Gaddis said the waves have gotten bigger and better every evening as the storm approaches. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
A body surfer takes advantage of the waves in Georgia. Source: Associated Press