Fascination with NZ's Prime Minister continues far from home as Jacinda Mania comes to Europe - Joy Reid

Jacinda Mania has come to Europe.

The PM is attempting to create a European FTA, and also discussed climate change and the Pacific with President Macron. Source: 1 NEWS

The fascination with New Zealand's Prime Minister crosses borders, continents and oceans.

In the past few weeks there have been long feature articles written about her in myriad top foreign newspapers, not just in the UK, but also in France and Germany.

Now she's actually here, she's attracting large media interest. As the Kiwi media contingent walked through the heavy security into the Elysee Palace ahead of the Prime Minister's first meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, our Embassy guide looked at the larger than usual media turn out and said "this is because of her".

Then as the PM walked up the palace stairs to greet the smiling warm French leader, the cameras furiously clicked and there were audible sighs, or gasps from the press pen – I couldn't tell which.

1 NEWS Europe Correspondent Joy Reid has the details. Source: Breakfast

Even the President seemed captivated, cupping her hand with both of his and guiding her at times with his hand on her back.

So what's Jacinda Ardern's x-factor? Is it her youth? That she's a pregnant leader? Her policies? Her publicly relaxed nature?

Or is it the whole package?

A young and vibrant new leader who is also a champion of climate change policy was always going to go down well in France – the home of the Paris Accord and a country whose people also recently voted for a vibrant young leader in Emmanuel Macron.

She easily won over a packed auditorium of students at a prestigious Parisian University where she delivered a key note speech on climate change.

She was introduced to her audience (or perhaps I should call them fans) by Sciences Po University's President who showered her with accolades about her achievements, hailing her as example to women for the way she was handling her "pregnancy and leadership".

In a university where more than half the students are female – it went down well.

She took a range of questions from the floor, to each one she would say "good question" and afterwards several students gushed about her.

Even her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau who happened to making a speech in the same venue shortly after her, squeezed in a brief bilateral chat, and dished out compliments as they posed for the cameras.

They say first impressions last, and with a number of first time "meet and greets" with world leaders coming up this week at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (including the Queen), if her day in France is anything to go by, it surely augurs well for New Zealand.



Russian scientist uses cholesterol to establish that 558 million-year-old fossil was one of the first animals

A piece of fat has helped solve a 558-million-year-old riddle and looks set to shoot a university student to scientific stardom.

When Professor Jochen Brocks received a call from a Russian student saying he wanted to use his Canberra lab to pull fat molecules from an ancient Ediacaran Biota fossil and prove it was the earth's first animal, he thought the idea was mad.

No scientist had been able to decipher what the weathered remnants, called Dickinsonia, were since their discovery in hills 650 kilometres north of Adelaide in 1946.

"This is the holy grail of paleontology and I had a student calling me from Moscow saying he had a solution," Prof Brocks told AAP.

None of this mattered to Ilya Bobrovskiy, the young geologist told Prof Brocks he knew of fossils so well preserved in a remote area of northwest Russia that the organic tissue still contained molecules of cholesterol, a type of fat that is the hallmark of animal life.

"I just couldn't believe that this exists anywhere in the world, I mean these things are really old, 558 million years old," Prof Brocks said.

If true, the findings could settle a feud raging between scientists over the strange 1.4 metre long leaf-shaped organism - was it a giant single-celled amoeba, a lichen, fungus, an animal or as some believe, a failed evolutionary experiment?

"I thought this is a student with no idea of how (fossils) work, it's a completely crazy idea," Prof Brocks said.

"But he struck me as very smart. I'll let him try it and when the project fails I'll give his something else."

The 27-year-old didn't fail, with Prof Brocks' backing he was helicoptered into the bear and mosquito infested White Sea region where he hung from 100-metre high cliffs to dig out the fossils.

"The data he got was beautiful, it's full of fossil cholesterol. That thing was an animal, this is the best evidence yet," Prof Brocks said.

"He's landed a number one hit and it's spreading across the country."

His Indiana Jones-like efforts have also developed a new approach to study the ancient fossils, which hold the key between the old world dominated by bacteria and the world of large animals that emerged 540 million years ago during the 'Cambrian explosion'.

The PhD student is now working on a new research project with the Australian National University in the Northern Territory.

His research is published in the journal Science.

This undated photo provided by Ilya Bobrovskiy in September 2018 shows a Dickinsonia fossil from the White Sea area of Russia. The body is about 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) long. In a report released on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, scientists say they've confirmed that these fossils from more than 500 million years ago are traces of an animal, which makes that creature one of the earliest known. (Ilya Bobrovskiy/Australian National University via AP)
Scientists say they've confirmed that these Dickinsonia fossils from more than 500 million years ago are traces of an animal, which makes that creature one of the earliest known. (Ilya Bobrovskiy/Australian National University) Source: Associated Press


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Meghan Markle, Prince Harry launch cookbook raising money for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire

Meghan Markle was joined by her mother on Thursday to launch a cookbook aimed at raising money for the victims of London's Grenfell Tower fire.

The former actress from the United States, who married Prince Harry and is now the Duchess of Sussex, hosted the reception at Kensington Palace beside her mother, Doria Ragland, to support the cookbook titled "Together."

The book celebrates the power of cooking to strengthen communities and bring people together.

Prince Harry also attended the event.

The book was inspired by Markle's visit to the Hubb Community Kitchen in North Kensington, which could only open a few days a week for lack of funds.

The cookbook features recipes from women in the community who prepare food to help and heal.

The dishes include coconut chicken curry, aubergine masala, caramelized plum upside-down cake and spiced mint tea.

The 2017 Grenfell Tower fire killed 72 people and prompted nationwide calls for tightening building codes and increasing firefighting capabilities for large apartment blocks.

It was a family affair at the launch, with Meghan’s mum also mingling with women in the community whose recipes fill the book titled Together. Source: Associated Press


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New Zealand girl, 12, believed critically hurt in Queensland shark mauling

A young girl believed to be from New Zealand has been attacked by a shark at the same Queensland island where a Tasmanian mother was mauled less than 24 hours earlier.

The 12-year-old was rescued by helicopter from Cid Harbour in the Whitsunday Islands on Thursday afternoon after being bitten on the upper leg.

The girl, who was holidaying with her father and sister, was flown to the Mackay Base Hospital in a critical condition and will have surgery.

Queensland Ambulance Service operations manager Tracey Eastwick said the girl had lost a significant amount of blood after she was mauled on the thigh.

"It is horrific ... for us as a community of paramedics it is quite confronting to have two similar incidents in the space of less than 24 hours," she told reporters in Mackay.

"In north Queensland, shark attacks are not that common."

The last attack in the area was eight years ago.

The Queensland government will set three drum lines in the Cid Harbour area tomorrow, in a bid to prevent any further attacks.

Fisheries officers and water police are also patrolling the area, while swimmers are being told to stay out of the water at the popular holiday hotspot.

On Wednesday evening, Justine Barwick, 46, was also mauled off the same island, while snorkelling, and is lucky to be alive.

Ms Barwick, a mother of two, was flown to Brisbane on Thursday evening for medical treatment after undergoing surgery at Mackay Base Hospital.

She would likely have bled to death from a severe wound to her left thigh without the quick-thinking actions of people in nearby boats.

A rescue helicopter scrambled to the region was just 15 minutes away from the scene due to an earlier operation.

The hovering chopper drew the attention of John Hadok, an emergency doctor from Mackay Base Hospital, who was sailing nearby and soon joined the effort to save Ms Barwick's life.

Dr Hadok's direction ensured correct first aid was given to Ms Barwick, allowing her to be safely winched into the helicopter.

RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter crewman Ben McCauley said the doctor and others who gave first aid to Ms Barwick before she was winched aboard had likely saved her life.

"The original first aid was actually really well done," Mr McCauley told reporters on Thursday.

"We actually didn't have to do anything with the leg, it was pretty much tourniqueted up, bandaged up and bleeding had stopped. They'd done a really good job."

Although he didn't see the wound, Mr McCauley was told Ms Barwick had "quite a big chunk of leg taken" and had suffered arterial bleeding.

She also suffered puncture wounds to her calf muscle.

The helicopter then stopped at Proserpine to refuel, allowing blood from a local hospital to be transfused and other medical treatment given.

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


Maryland suffers another mass shooting, months after newspaper targeted

Three people were killed overnight in a shooting at a distribution centre for a US pharmacy chain, officials said.

A law enforcement official in Maryland with knowledge of the shooting stressed that the number of dead is based on preliminary information. The official wasn't authorized to discuss details by name and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.

The incident took place at an aid distribution centre near Baltimore. Source: Breakfast

A suspect was taken into custody and was in critical condition, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told a news conference.

It appears there was only one weapon, a handgun, that was used and there were no shots fired by responding law enforcement officers, Mr Gahler said. Mr Gahler also said multiple people had been killed and wounded in the shooting, without giving any other details on casualties.

A Baltimore hospital said it had received four patients with gunshot wounds from the shooting. Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center spokeswoman Monica Stone said in an email today that she was unable to provide details about the patients' conditions.

Mr Gahler said the call about shots fired came in from the Rite Aid distribution centre at about 9.06am (local time) and deputies and other officers were on the scene in just over five minutes.

"We are so preliminary in this investigation," Mr Gahler said. "It's so important that we deal in facts." He said authorities don't want to "make it worse" for the families involved by giving out incorrect information.

At a nearby fire station, family members were waiting to be reunited with loved ones. Police blocked off the road outside but were waving in cars driven by people who said they were there to meet up with people who were at the distribution centre.

The attack came nearly three months after a man armed with a shotgun attacked a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five staff members. Authorities accused Jarrod W. Ramos of attacking The Capital Gazette because of a longstanding grudge against the paper.

The FBI described the Aberdeen incident as an "active shooter situation" and said its Baltimore field office was assisting.
In a tweet, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said his office is monitoring the situation in Aberdeen and that the state stands ready to offer any support.

Susan Henderson, spokesman for Rite Aid, said the shooting happened on the campus of a company distribution centre in Aberdeen. She described it as a support facility adjacent to a larger building.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said that unfortunately, incidents like this are "becoming a too-often occurrence not only in Harford County but in the country".

Shirley Pollack, of Perryville, Md. reacts to what authorities have called a shooting with multiple victims in Perryman, Md. on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. Authorities say multiple people have been shot in northeast Maryland in what the FBI is describing as an "active shooter situation."   Pollack,was concerned about her son  who worked near the scene of the shooting.  (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
Concerned mum Shirley Pollack waits for word of her son, who works near the site of a mass shooting in Maryland. Source: Associated Press