The Secret North Korea Stopover: Following the world's migratory shorebirds

The world's migratory shore birds are getting unique support from a New Zealand group working in an unlikely place - North Korea.

A small group of New Zealanders has been slipping in and out of North Korea for almost a decade, as part of an unlikely collaboration that could end up saving the world’s migratory shore birds. Source: Sunday

The secretive state is considered by many to be the world's most repressive regime due to its nuclear weapons programme, famines and human rights abuses under the cult-like leadership of the Kim family.

But for almost a decade the small group of New Zealanders has been quietly slipping in and out of the country, building ties that are the envy of diplomats.

Their work has gone largely unnoticed until now.

This year TVNZ's Sunday programme was granted extraordinary access to North Korea, to parts of the country no foreigner has ever been, and to witness an unlikely collaboration that could end up saving the worlds migratory shore birds. Watch the full story above.

* Sunday travelled to North Korea with the assistance of the Asia NZ Foundation.

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Earthquake measuring 6.5 recorded in Pacific Ocean east of New Caledonia

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 has been recorded in the Pacific Ocean east of New Caledonia.

The quake’s epicentre was 190km east of Tadine in the Loyalty Islands. It was at a depth of 33km, the US Geological Survey says.

There was no immediate tsunami threat, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said. 

The quake struck east of New Caledonia. Source: US Geological Survey

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First baby gift: Meghan & Harry given baby ugg boots, toy 'roo as Royal tour kicks off in Sydney

Baby Sussex has already received his or her first presents thanks to Australia - baby ugg boots and a stuffed kangaroo with a joey in the pouch.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex held the first engagement of their first Australian tour at Admiralty House in Sydney on Tuesday morning.

The event was to focus on the upcoming Invictus Games, an event started by Prince Harry to help war veterans.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Australia's Governor General Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lynne Cosgrove stand in the grounds of Admiralty House in Sydney, with a view of the Sydney Opera House, on the first day of the royal couple's visit to Australia Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Harry and Meghan will take part in 76 engagements in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand over their 16-day trip to the Pacific region. (Phil Noble/PA via AP)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pose in front of the Sydney Opera House. Source: Associated Press

But the real interest was in the news - announced on Monday night - that the royal couple were expecting their first baby next year.

The Sydney sun shone on their first public appearance 15 hours after the news broke of her pregnancy.

Australia's Governor General Peter Cosgrove gives the Duke and Duchess of Sussex a toy kangaroo - with a baby - at Admiralty House in Sydney on the first day of the royal couple's visit to Australia Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Harry and Meghan will take part in 76 engagements in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand over their 16-day trip to the Pacific region. (Phil Noble/PA via AP)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Australia's Governor General Peter Cosgrove. Source: Associated Press

Meghan wore a tight fitting, sleeveless cream dress by Australian designer Karen Gee that barely revealed a royal bump at all.

Harry, dressed in navy blue suit, smiled proudly as the couple held hands on their tour through Admiralty House.

The announcement took many by surprise including Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove, who dispatched a staff member to hastily purchase the toy kangaroo for their pregnant guest.

The visit coincides with the Invictus Games in Sydney, which kick off on Saturday and run for a week.

Prince Harry who served with the British Army for a decade, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan, set up the Invictus Games after visiting the US Warrior Games in 2013, when he saw the positive impact sport was having on the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded servicemen and women.

The royal couple met with representatives of the 18 countries competing in the games at Admiralty House.

They then met invictus Games officials including ambassador and former swimmer Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing, as well as Peter Leahy and Patrick Kidd.

They then posed for the standard shot with the Opera House in the background.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, was the first government official to meet the pair, after they greeted Invictus Games flag bearers.

"It's my fault if the weather is bad," she told the smiling couple in the sunshine.

After their meeting with the Invictus Games representatives, Sir Peter presented the couple with the baby gifts and the Akubra hats Australia had made as a wedding gift.

"The Morrisons have asked us to pass on a gift for your trip to Dubbo," the Governor-General said handing over the two grey akubra hats.

They then headed for Taronga zoo where they met two joey koalas named in their honour and officially opened the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning.

Harry ditched the tie for the zoo visit, while Megan donned a beige trench coat.

They'll then hop on a boat to cross the harbour to the Opera House to watch a rehearsal by the Bangarra Dance Theatre.

Afterwards, they'll do a walkabout on the forecourt to meet eager royal fans, including 98-year-old war widow Daphne Dunne who has met Harry during his previous visits.

Hundreds of royal fans are already in place, including Megan Jones from the Central Coast.

"I love them ... I think Meghan is great for royalty," she told AAP whole waiting.

Tuesday is the first opportunity for the public to interact with the couple - and to be the first to congratulate the royal couple.

In a jam-packed schedule of 76 engagements across 16 days, the royal duo will visit Sydney, Dubbo, Melbourne and Queensland's Fraser Island as well as Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were welcomed to Sydney's Admiralty House by Australian Governor General Peter Cosgrove for the first official engagement of their Australian tour. Source: Associated Press

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Remains of 10 foetuses and an infant found in one-time US funeral home

The remains of 10 foetuses and one infant were found hidden in a former funeral home that had lost its license when decomposing embalmed bodies were found there earlier this year.

Naveed Syed last month bought the one-time Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit. He plans to rehab the property and transform it into a community center.

An anonymous letter led state inspectors Friday to the decomposed remains hidden between the building’s first and second floors.

Syed said he was shocked about the development, adding he was resolved to help investigators in any way he could.

Authorities have said the foetuses were found together in a cardboard-like box while the full-term infant was in a coffin.

The remains were taken to the Wayne County medical examiner’s office, which is coordinating efforts with authorities to identify the remains.

No arrests have been made.

Cantrell Funeral Home was shut down and had its mortuary license suspended in April after decomposing embalmed bodies were found and other violations were discovered.

Syed says he plans to organize a funeral service for the families of the foetuses and infant once they become known.

The remains of 10 foetuses and one infant were found hidden in a former funeral home in Detroit that had lost its license when decomposing embalmed bodies were found there earlier this year. Source: Associated Press


DOC to begin tahr control to reduce population numbers by 10,000 in South Island

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is set to begin tahr control this week following the release of its operational plan outlining how it will work with the hunting sector to reduce tahr numbers in the central South Island.

The Himalayan tahr population on public conservation land alone totals more than 35,000, DOC monitoring has found.

The Tahr Control Operational Plan was developed following a recent meeting with representatives of the Tahr Liaison Group, and includes ideas from the hunting sector on the best way to decrease their numbers over time.

Officials say tahr numbers have to be limited to protect the landscape. Source: 1 NEWS

DOC's acting lead director for tahr control, David Agnew, said, "By the end of August next year, DOC aims to reduce the tahr population on public conservation land by 10,000".

Heavy browsing and trampling by mobs of tahr can damage, and potentially wipe out, the native plants they feed on, including tall tussocks and the Aoraki/Mt Cook buttercup.

"With the support of the hunting sector, DOC aims to remove 6000 animals from public conservation land between now and mid-November," Mr Agnew said.

DOC is expected to begin aerial control on Thursday.

The results of the initial operation will be reviewed alongside the Tahr Liaison Group in December.

The cull has been opposed by some, with thousands getting behind moves to challenge the decision in court. 

NZ Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley told Breakfast last month that he questioned the science behind DOC's plans, and said it was "nothing short of eradication."

A NZ Hunter spokesperson Willie Duley told Breakfast about the damage a proposed cull would inflict. Source: Breakfast