Record-breaking sea bridge between Hong Kong and Macau set to open soon

China is close to opening its latest mega infrastructure project - a bridge across Hong Kong's Pearl River Estuary to link Macau with Hong Kong.

The bridge cost about ¥11billion (NZ$23billion) and is composed of bridge, reclaimed land, artificial islands and an undersea tunnel.

It will significantly cut travel times between Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland, Australia's ABC reports.

A return trip from Hong Kong to Macau by road currently takes about five hours in good traffic - the new bridge will cut that time to about one hour.

The 6km undersea tunnel portion will allow ships to pass unimpeded, and height restrictions had to be adhered to also, due to the bridge being in the flight path of Hong Kong Airport.

The first cars are set to begin crossing on June 1, and with different traffic rules in each special administrative region, it may take some time for drivers to get used to the change.

The project sets a new record for the world's longest sea bridge - but is still short of the world's longest bridge, which is the 164km rail line between Shanghai and Nanjiang.

The 50km crossing will slash travel times between Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland. ABC Australia Source: 1 NEWS



Police chases remain close to all-time high, but crash numbers are falling

A more cautious approach by New Zealand Police towards chasing fleeing drivers may be leading to fewer crashes, but the total number of chases remains close to an all-time high.

Half-year statistics released this month by police suggest the number of pursuits taking place is similar to last year, while the number abandoned has increased and the number of crashes has dropped by about 10 per cent.

Fleeing driver incidents have been in the spotlight in recent years, with their number increasing by 64 per cent between 2013 and 2017, going from 2308 chases in a year up to 3796.

Police adopted a more cautious approach to chases two years ago, including leaving the decision to continue or abandon a chase in the hands of a pursuit controller at the station rather than the officer driving.

The chase forced a police officer to run for his life as the car swerved to the wrong side of the road Source: 1 NEWS

The statistics detail the number of incidents, abandonments and crashes in the first six months of 2018 to June 30.

Incidents are steady, with 1892 chases recorded. If they continue at that rate, the 2018 total will be 3784 - just 12 fewer than last year.

A graph showing the number of police pursuit (fleeing driver) incidents per year. Data source is NZ Police, graph by 1 NEWS.
A graph showing the number of police pursuit (fleeing driver) incidents per year. Data source is NZ Police, graph by 1 NEWS. Source: 1 NEWS/NZ Police

Abandonments are up about six per cent, with 1119 chases called off up to June 30. That makes the end-of-year projection about 2238, compared with last year's 2105.

The number of crashes in relation to chases has fallen by about 10 per cent. There were 283 in the first half of this year, giving a projected total of 566 for the year - considerably down from 2017's total of 626.

The numbers suggest police will abandon almost 60 per cent of chases this year for safety reasons, up from about 55 per cent last year.

There were 12 deaths last year that involved police pursuits, and there have already been eight deaths in the first half of 2018.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating the fatal incident, while Road Policing Manager Steve Greally says more people are failing to wear a seat belt.
Road Policing Manager Steve Greally. Source: 1 NEWS

Superintendent Steve Greally, the national road policing manager, said police use robust processes to assess the risks posed by chasing a fleeing driver.

"The decision whether to start, continue or abandon a pursuit of a fleeing driver is based on police’s risk assessment tool, TENR (Threat-Exposure-Necessity-Response)," he said.

"Police will abandon a pursuit if the risk is assessed as too dangerous ... This is continually reassessed throughout the incident."

Mr Greally said the fact that more people have chosen to flee from police over the past few years is disappointing.

Three people were taken to hospital after the crash, which happened after an hour-long chase. Source: Tony Alexander

"The one thing we want everybody to understand is if they're signalled by police to stop, they should pull over and stop ... It is not worth putting your life, your passenger's life or anyone else's life at risk.

"Whatever it is that you think you will get in trouble for that is making you decide to flee from police, we can always talk about it."

Police's pursuit policy is currently being reviewed by the Independent Police Conduct Authority for the seventh time in the past 20 years.

A report is expected before the end of the year.

It comes as the chase policy is reviewed by the police watchdog, with eight deaths already this year. Source: 1 NEWS

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Meghan Markle opens first-of-its-kind Oceania exhibit in London with a hongi

In her first solo royal engagement, Meghan Markle got a taste of Kiwi culture overnight - including a welcoming hongi. 

Ms Markle attended the opening of "Oceania", an exhibit of artifacts and art from the region on display in London.

Consisting of about 200 works of art spanning over 500 years, it is the first ever major UK exhibition that encompasses the vast Pacific region.

Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex is guided as she views an exhibit after officially opening the 'Oceania' exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. 'Oceania' is the first ever major UK exhibition of about 200 works of art spanning over 500 years, celebrating the art of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, and encompassing the vast Pacific region including New Guinea, Easter Island, Hawaii and New Zealand. (AP Photo/Arthur Edwards)
The Duchess inspects a piece at the Oceania exhibit. Source: Associated Press

In addition to New Zealand, the artwork hails from Melanesia, Micronesia, New Guinea, Easter Island and Hawaii. 

Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex is welcomed after she officially opened the 'Oceania' exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. 'Oceania' is the first ever major UK exhibition of about 200 works of art spanning over 500 years, celebrating the art of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, and encompassing the vast Pacific region including New Guinea, Easter Island, Hawaii and New Zealand. (AP Photo/Arthur Edwards)
The exhibit has about 200 works of art spanning over 500 years, celebrating the art of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, and encompassing the vast Pacific region including New Guinea, Easter Island, Hawaii and New Zealand. Source: Associated Press

The 37-year-old Duchess of Sussex was given a tour by staff and leaders at the Royal Academy of Art. 

She wore a black Givenchy dress with billowing sleeves, held a black clutch and wore her hair straight and swept back. 


Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex is guided as she views an exhibit after officially opening the 'Oceania' exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. 'Oceania' is the first ever major UK exhibition of about 200 works of art spanning over 500 years, celebrating the art of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, and encompassing the vast Pacific region including New Guinea, Easter Island, Hawaii and New Zealand. (AP Photo/Arthur Edwards)
Meghan Markle at the 'Oceania' exhibition. Source: Associated Press


The Duchess of Sussex was given a tour by staff and leaders at the Royal Academy of Art. Source: Associated Press


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Rare beluga whale sighting in the River Thames

A beluga whale was spotted in the River Thames outside the British capital today, officials said.

The unusual sighting happened in the Gravesend area about 50 kilometres east of London. It was reported to be feeding near a number of barges.

TV news helicopters filmed the whale from the air as officials asked the public not to get too close to the animal.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation group said that beluga whales are identified by distinctive white markings and are typically found farther north.

"Beluga whales inhabit cold, arctic waters off Greenland, Svalbard and in the Barents Sea," the group said in a statement. "There have only been around 20 sightings of beluga whales off the UK coast previously, but these have occurred off Northumberland, Northern Ireland and Scotland."

The RSPCA animal welfare group said that it's "working with other agencies to monitor the situation" and sent researchers to the scene.

It says it is ready to provide help to the whale if asked to do so by other agencies.

Images posted on Twitter showed a white whale in the water.

The River Thames, one of the longest rivers in England, runs through several major cities and towns, including London, Oxford and Windsor.

A beluga whale was spotted about 50 kilometres east of the city. Source: BBC


US woman who cut baby from her neighbour's womb says her boyfriend pressured her for a child

A North Dakota woman convicted of killing her pregnant neighbour by cutting the baby from her womb testified today that her boyfriend had pressured her to "produce a baby" after figuring out she had lied about being pregnant.

Brooke Crews told the court that she had concocted a phony pregnancy to keep from losing William Hoehn, who is on trial for conspiracy in the August 2017 death of 22-year-old Savanna Greywind. Hoehn has admitted helping to cover up the crime, but says he didn't know that Crews had planned to kill Ms Greywind and take her baby. Crews testified that she never "explicitly" told Hoehn that was her plan.

Crews said Hoehn appeared surprised when he entered the bathroom in their apartment and discovered she had cut Ms Greywind's baby from her body. Crews said Hoehn then retrieved a rope and tightened it around Ms Greywind's neck, saying: "If she wasn't dead before, she is now."

Ms Greywind's daughter survived and is being raised by family.

Hoehn spoke regularly with his attorney, Daniel Borgen, during Crews' testimony but showed little emotion. Crews was crying and sniffling throughout.

"You never told Will that you had planned to do this, is that right?" Borgen asked.

"Not kill Savanna for her baby, no," Crews replied.

"In fact, there was never a conversation at all about killing Savanna and taking her baby," Borgen said.

"Not explicitly," she said.

It wasn't immediately clear what Crews meant by "explicitly".

Crews described her relationship with Hoehn as rocky and violent, saying it was fuelled by drugs and alcohol. She said they broke up at one point, and that's when she lied to him about being pregnant. She went so far as to email him a phony positive pregnancy test and sonogram photo.

In early August, Hoehn told Crews he didn't believe she was pregnant and said she needed "to produce a baby". Crews said she believed this was "an ultimatum".

"I took that to mean I better have a baby, no matter how it happened," Crews said.

Crews originally told police that Ms Greywind had given her the child. She later told police they had argued and that she pushed Ms Greywind down and knocked her out before cutting her open. A medical examiner testified Monday that there was no evidence of any head injuries.

Crews stuck to her story today, saying she pushed Greywind, who was knocked out when her head hit the bathroom sink. Crews said that's when she got a knife and began cutting the baby out.

Crews said the couple kept ropes around the house because Hoehn liked to tie her up during sex, including around her neck. She also said Hoehn expressed fantasies about killing people and Crews said she initially told him she would be interested in that too.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy, Dr Victor Froloff, testified yesterday that he isn't sure whether Greywind died from blood loss or strangulation.

Ms Greywind's disappearance sparked several searches before her body was found several days later, shrouded in plastic and dumped in the Red River. Crews testified today that police missed Ms Greywind's body and her baby during three searches of the couple's apartment.

Crews testified that Ms Greywind's body was in the bathroom closet and the baby was covered up next to Hoehn on a bed during one of those searches. She said Hoehn eventually moved Ms Greywind's body to a hollowed-out dresser and the two of them carried it out of the apartment.

Fargo Police Chief David Todd did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Crews' testimony.

Crews pleaded guilty to murder and is serving life in prison without parole. She said she has no agreement with prosecutors for a lesser sentence in exchange for testifying.

Ms Greywind's death prompted North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp to introduce Savanna's Act, which aims to improve tribal access to federal crime information databases and create standardized protocols for responding to cases of missing and slain Native American women. A similar bill has been introduced in the House.

FILE - This combination of file photos provided by the Cass County Sheriff's Office in Fargo, N.D., shows William Hoehn, and his girlfriend Brooke Crews, the two people charged in connection with the murder of Savanna Greywind in North Dakota in August 2017. Greywind was eight months pregnant. Crews, ultimately admitted killing Greywind and cutting her baby from her womb. Hoehn, goes on trial Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, for conspiracy to commit murder. He has admitted helping cover up Greywind's murder. (Cass County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
William Hoehn and his girlfriend Brooke Crews. Source: Associated Press