Russian diplomats to be expelled from the UK over nerve gas attack

Prime Minister Theresa May has taken the action after Russia ignored an ultimatum for Russia to explain their involvement in the attack. Source: Breakfast


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Aussie Woolworths taking sewing needles off shelves to combat strawberry-tampering

Supermarket giant Woolworths has taken the extraordinary step of withdrawing sewing needles from its shelves nationally following the fruit tampering crisis.

"We've taken the precautionary step of temporarily removing sewing needles from sale in our stores. The safety of our customers is our top priority," a Woolworths spokeswoman told AAP.

More than 100 reports of tampered fruit are being investigated by police across the country, many of which are thought to be fake or copycat cases.

The drastic decision comes as Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says the "parasites" responsible for spiking strawberries with needles should do hard time in jail.

The Government is rushing legislation through Parliament to ratchet up the maximum penalties for so-called "food terrorists" from 10 to 15 years behind bars.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants the tough sanctions approved before federal politicians depart Canberra today.

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

"I'm just focused on making sure no idiot goes into a supermarket this weekend and does something ridiculous," Mr Morrison told reporters in Royalla in NSW.

"We've booked the hall in Parliament for the day, we've paid the rent on it, and that means no one goes home until those bills are passed."

Labor will support the bill, but frontbencher Tony Burke wants the laws reviewed after 12 months.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus agrees, saying there has been very "little time to fully consider what the consequences of this legislation might be."

He told parliament that unintended consequences may occur by including "providing the public with food" in the revised definition of "public infrastructure".

Rebuilding confidence in the strawberry industry is the highest priority, says Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, as he encouraged Australians to continue buying the fruit.

"Grab a punnet for yourself and a punnet for the nation," he said.

More than 100 reports of tampered fruit are being investigated by police across the country, many of which are thought to be fake or copycat cases.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton condemned people being stupid or malicious.

"The police are being driven crazy by all of these hoaxes because all it does is divert their resources away from the main investigation," he told 2GB radio.

Anyone who tampers with food could soon face up to 15 years' jail, in line with child pornography and terror financing offences.

There will also be a new offence of being reckless in causing harm, which will carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The most serious cases with national security implications will be covered by sabotage offences, with penalties ranging from seven to 25 years' jail.

"The reality is that ... they've got to do some time," Mr Littleproud told ABC radio.

"The one thing that people can do better than government is go and buy strawberries. Stick it up these parasites by going into the supermarkets and buying strawberries."

The Queensland and NSW governments are offering a reward to catch the culprits.

The government is also providing $1 million to make more food safety officials available to increase detection, fast-track recalls and assist the industry to rebuild confidence.

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

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Judith Collins savages decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants evicted over meth contamination

Compensating Housing NZ tenants who were evicted for using methamphetamine or allowing its use in their homes is a “disgrace,” National’s Judith Collins has said.

Mrs Collins said it was unacceptable that taxpayer money was being used to compensate former tenants who were evicted because of their "criminal activity".

“People were evicted from their houses by Housing New Zealand based on the standards of the day which was all around the health testing for methamphetamine contamination,” Mrs Collins said.

“Government had to take the advice of experts which were Housing NZ, Ministry of Health, MBIE, all the people who are the experts on this.”

“To now compensate people, 800 people, who were evicted from homes because they were smoking methamphetamine or allowing their houses to be used for it is an absolute outrage.”

“They’re being compensated with taxpayer money because of their criminal activity and that is not at all acceptable.”

The Housing NZ board will not be sacked over the methamphetamine contamination “fiasco”, the housing minister said. Source: 1 NEWS

This morning, Housing Minister Phil Twyford said the meth contamination scandal was a failure of the previous government and National had already paid for it because “they are no longer ministers”.

“Housing NZ is committed to redressing the hardship these tenants faced. This will be done on a case by case basis and the organisation will look to reimburse costs tenants incurred, and make discretionary grants to cover expenses such as moving costs and furniture replacement,” he said.

READ MORE: Housing NZ board won't be sacked over meth contamination 'fiasco'

Mrs Collins stood by the policies of the ministers in the National government, saying they were acting on the best advice at the time.

“Housing NZ made their decisions based on the evidence at the time and I absolutely support the fact that the ministers had to do what they had to do based on that evidence.”

Certain tenants should not be let back in, including those who had sold P from their homes, Mrs Collins maintained.

“Some people should not be back in state houses because they were using their state houses for criminal activity, not just in some cases smoking methamphetamine or allowing their houses to be used for it, but actually for cooking it and selling it and these are now people who are apparently going to get compensation.”

Mrs Collins rejected the view that addiction was a health issue for those tenants who had manufactured the drug at Housing NZ properties.

“I don’t believe for a moment that using your house for methamphetamine consumption, cooking it up, and selling from it is something that is a health issue, that’s a criminal activity.”

National’s housing spokesperson savaged the decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants who were evicted for using P or allowing its use in their homes. Source: 1 NEWS

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'It is what it is' - PM accepts world media attention could turn to Neve during UN trip

When Jacinda Ardern arrives in New York next week for her first United Nations General Assembly meeting, she's under no illusions she'll be able to focus solely on issues of national significance without fielding multiple questions about motherhood.

"Are you comfortable with pictures being taken and used in newspapers around the world?" 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay asked the Prime Minister in a one-on-one interview today.

Ms Ardern will be taking her daughter with her and plans to juggle responsibilities just like any working mum would, she said. But her schedule, which will include multiple keynote addresses and media appearances, will be more rigorous than an average business trip.

"I accept that by being in office and being the second woman to have a child in office that that's interesting, that's unusual," she said.

"There will be a day when it's not anymore, when it won't be seen as an extraordinary thing, and I look forward to that day. But for now, it is what it is."

Ms Ardern says she will try to keep Neve in her vicinity while working and be "discrete" while caring for her between engagements in an attempt to protect her privacy, as she has done in New Zealand since returning from maternity leave in August.

She said she hasn't given it much thought as to whether her unique situation has given her a larger platform on the world stage.

Climate change, big interviews and baby Neve were all on the agenda for the pair. Source: 1 NEWS

She suggested she won't be surprised if motherhood comes up during her scheduled media appearances, which include the Today Show, Late Night with Stephen Colbert and an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"It's hard for me to quantify how much of that (international attention) is based on the interest in the fact that I'm a mum now," she said.

"I certainly make sure that when those opportunities arise, though, I come squarely back not to my personal issues but to the role that New Zealand can play on the international stage.

"The values we advocate. The things that are of New Zealand's interest, not just mine."

When Jacinda Ardern travels to New York next week, she’ll be taking her newborn with her. Source: 1 NEWS


Police volunteer saves dog that was being dragged along road by truck

A volunteer for an Arizona sheriff's office has probably saved the life of a dog that was tied to a semitrailer truck as it pulled out of a parking lot.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office says on its Facebook page that a sheriff's office volunteer Patrol-VIP "Volunteer in Protection" was at a gas station in Ash Fork this month when he saw the truck starting to leave with a dog leashed to the trailer bumper.

The dog was trying to keep pace with the truck as it headed toward an interstate highway. The patrol put on his flashers and siren and managed to stop the truck in time.

The close call was caught on the deputy's dashcam video.

The driver says he was distracted and forgot to unleash his dog. Charges aren't being considered. The dog was unharmed.


A volunteer for Arizona police has probably saved the life of a dog that was tied to a semitrailer truck as it pulled out of a petrol station. Source: Associated Press


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