Samoa on high alert from deadly virus ahead of All Blacks Test

Samoa is on high alert for a fatal strain of dengue that has hit neighbouring American Samoa.

Thousands of visitors are expected to visit the island nation in three weeks when the All Blacks play Samoa, but the dengue health scare is worrying local authorities after at least two people died of the mosquito borne virus.

Samoa is fumigating every one of the five daily flights from nearby American Samoa in a bid to catch the virus at its border.

"The concern is that we are very close to American Samoa ... the likelihood of getting cases here is quite high," Ministry of Health chief executive Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri said.

"We are doing very focused spraying at the hospitals we are also spraying all the points of entry, the airports, the wharf this is border security."

Officials in American Samoa are investigating the unusual killer strain where victims deteriorate rapidly, while medical experts believe dengue and other mosquito borne diseases are increasing in the Pacific.

"I am concerned, recently in the last six to twelve months or so we have seen an insidious creeping of these other two infections zika and chikingunya into this region." Worldwise Travel Doctor Dr Marc Shaw said.

Last year New Zealand recorded the highest ever number of reported dengue cases, 179, significantly higher from the year before.

So far this year there's been eighty cases but that number is predicted to climb.

At least two people have died of the mosquito borne virus in neighbouring American Samoa Source: 1 NEWS


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First case of strawberry contamination confirmed in Australia's Northern Territory

The first case of a contaminated strawberry has been found in the Northern Territory.

Police and health officials are yet to say if the strawberry contained a needle in it, as has been occurring across the country.

Police are holding a media conference in Darwin this afternoon.

The original contamination was reported in Queensland, prompting dozens of suspected copycat incidents involving strawberries and other fruits.

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

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Trump to call for global action on the world drug problem at UN General Assembly

President Donald Trump will call for global action on the world drug problem, lay out his vision of the US role in the world, and urge a halt to the spread of weapons of mass destruction during next week's gathering of world leaders at the UN General Assembly.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters overnight that Trump's focus "will be very much on the United States," its role and the relations it wants to build, and "how we can make the American people proud, and what actions we can show that really live up to that."

"He is looking forward to talking about foreign policy successes the United States has had over the past year and where we're going to go from here," she said. "He wants to talk about protecting US sovereignty," and "we want to continue to build relationships" with other countries that "share those values."

Haley said Trump will address a high-level event Monday on the "Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem," which 124 countries have already signed up to support. She said the US is looking forward to more signatories.

The president will address the assembly's 193-member nations at the official opening Tuesday morning of the global gabfest known as the General Debate.

Haley said Trump will talk about the generosity of the United States. "But he'll also lay down a marker that while the United States is generous, we're going to be generous to those who share our values, generous to those who want to work with us, and not those that try and stop the United States or say they hate America, or are counterproductive to what we're doing," she said.

She said Trump on Wednesday will chair a Security Council meeting which was expanded from focusing on Iran to non-proliferation, including chemical weapons attacks in Syria and Britain.

Haley predicted, "I'm sure that is going to be the most watched Security Council meeting ever."

Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, chaired two Security Council meetings, one in 2009 focusing on nuclear disarmament and another in 2014 on "foreign terrorist fighters."

Haley said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will chair a council meeting Thursday to look at on North Korea's progress toward denuclearization - which she called "baby steps" - and the council's commitments to enforce tough sanctions.

The White House said Trump will hold "pull-aside" meetings with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Maria Fernanda Espinosa, the General Assembly president. He will have longer bilateral meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, French President Emmanuel Macron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

On the social side, Haley said the president and his wife, Melania, will host a reception for all delegates Monday night. Trump will also host a reception Tuesday evening for foreign ministers of the 15 current Security Council member nations and the five countries that will be joining the council January 1.

In this Aug. 31, 2018 photo, President Donald Trump gestures while speaking at the Harris Conference Center in Charlotte, N.C. President Donald Trump is escalating his attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, suggesting the embattled official should have intervened in investigations of two GOP congressmen to help Republicans in the midterms. Trump tweeted Monday that “investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department.”   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump Source: Associated Press

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Hundreds feared drowned after passenger ferry capsizes on Lake Victoria in Tanzania

At least 44 people died when after a passenger ferry capsized on Lake Victoria, a Tanzanian official said this morning, and the death toll was expected to rise significantly when rescue efforts resumed at daybreak.

Beach in Victoria Lake, Africa.
Lake Victoria. Source: istock.com

Thirty-seven people were rescued after the afternoon sinking, Mwanza regional commissioner John Mongella told The Associated Press.

"I cannot speculate" how many people had been on board, he said.

"Right now our focus is on rescue."

But such ferries often carry hundreds of people and are overcrowded.

The death toll could end up surpassing 200, an official told Reuters. 

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency, in charge of servicing the vessels, urged patience in a statement as rescue efforts began.

The ferry was traveling between Ukara and Bugolora and capsized near the area of Mwanza, the agency said.Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where passenger boats are often said to be old and in poor condition.

In 1996, more than 800 people were killed when the passenger and cargo ferry MV Bukoba sank on Lake Victoria.Nearly 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania's Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar.

More than 300 people were on board the ferry on Lake Victoria in Tanzania when disaster struck just metres from shore. Source: 1 NEWS


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Nudes v prudes: Cheeky homeowners' bare-all yard work flusters self-proclaimed small-town, USA

Flustered residents of a Florida neighbourhood are learning the hard way about the limitations of nudity laws there.

Several residents of Stuart, which touts itself as one of the best small towns in the United States, have complained and called police about a neighbour who has found that yard work and chores are less tedious when in the nude.

The problem: Said work is often in the man's front yard, in full view of neighbours and motorists, local media outlets have reported.

"I came out Sunday night to put the trash out, and I look over and he is bent over, winding up his hose, and I'm like that is my view of the neighbourhood," Melissa Ny said with a laugh this week as she talked with TV station WPBF 25.

Another resident had a more angry tone as he pointed out the home sits next to a school bus stop.

But there's not much neighbours can do about it aside from complaining to the media.

Florida law allows people to be nude on their own property as long as they aren't engaging in "vulgar, indecent, lewd, or lascivious" behaviour, and police reckon trimming hedges and washing a car is not considered any of those, the Orlando Sentinel newspaper reports.