Three dead after explosion and house fire at Brisbane home

Three people are dead after a possible explosion and house fire in a northern Brisbane suburb.

Nine News reports the fire broke out this morning about 5.30am local time at a home in Everton Park and that the victims were two women and a man.

A neighbour told Nine News he woke up to shouts of "help".

"The flames were really high," the witness said - he declined to give his name.

Queensland Police Inspector Daniel Bragg said a full investigation is underway and that the fire is being treated as suspicious.

"It was a loud explosion, quite significant, and the neighbour that heard that explosion contacted the police," he said.

"I'm told that the fire could be seen from a fair distance away and it was the flames and the smoke that actually led people to the address."


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Congo reports Ebola death close to busy Ugandan border

Authorities have fought rumours and trained community members including traditional healers in efforts to calm and educate nervous residents.

The 32-year-old woman had assisted in the burials of other Ebola victims and health workers had followed her as a possible case, but she refused a vaccination and disappeared from the city of Beni, said the vice governor of Ituri Province, Pacifique Keta.

She died on Thursday at a hospital in Tshomia, on Lake Albert.

It is the closest a confirmed Ebola death in the current outbreak has been to Uganda, which has said it was making arrangements with the World Health Organisation to vaccinate health workers and other high-risk populations as needed.

Three thousand vaccine doses will be imported.

Congo's health ministry said that as of Friday there have been 116 confirmed cases, including 68 deaths, of Ebola in the outbreak that was declared on Aug. 1.

More than 10,000 people have been vaccinated.

Ebola monitoring has been taking place at the border and Uganda is considered what WHO calls "very high risk."

"To date, health workers in Uganda have responded to over 100 Ebola alerts that have been found to be negative for the Ebola virus," WHO's country office there has said.

The U.N. health agency has not recommended travel restrictions.

A new case of the Ebola virus emerges just after West Africa is declared free from the deadly virus. Source: Associated Press


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Thousands rally across Russia against raising pension ages

Several thousand people attended a Moscow rally organised by the Communist Party and other leftist groups, which was authorised by city officials.

Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov called for rolling back the proposed changes, arguing that the government should redistribute resources to avoid raising the pension age.

"They keep reaching into your pockets," he told protesters, who waved red flags.

The government's plan to lift the retirement age to 65 for men and 60 for women has irked a wide range of Russians from all political factions.

Older Russians fear they won't live long enough to collect significant benefits while younger generations are worried that keeping people in the workforce longer will limit their own employment opportunities.

The proposal has also dented President Vladimir Putin's popularity.

Dmitry Orlov, who came to Moscow from his home city of Kostroma to join the rally, denounced the Russian government's move as a "robbery."

"It can't be that our country doesn't have money for its people, the people who spend their whole lives working and paying deductions for their pensions," he said.

Similar protests were also held Saturday in many cities across Russia's 11 time zones, most of them sanctioned by authorities.

Several hundred demonstrators rallied against the pension age hike in Sevastopol in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

"This is a very serious issue for me, because it touches upon my life, my children, my parents who haven't retired yet," said Olga Konitskaya, 30, a protester in Sevastopol.

The demonstrations went on peacefully, unlike a wave of unauthorised pension protests earlier this month organised by opposition leader Alexei Navalny that led to the detention of over 1,000 people across Russia.


Navalny, the anti-corruption activist who is Putin's most visible foe, had called for protests against the pension age hike before he was sentenced to 30 days in jail for organising a January protest over a different issue.


He is set to be released from custody Monday.

Putin has responded to the protests by offering some concessions, but argued that the age hike is necessary because rising life expectancies in Russia could exhaust the nation's pension resources if the eligibility age remains the same.

The Kremlin-controlled lower house, the State Duma has given only a preliminary approval to the pension changes bill and is yet to hold a decisive second reading.

Protest (file picture).
Protest (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS


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Two tiger sharks killed after Queensland shark attacks

Queensland fisheries authorities have caught and killed two tiger sharks, but it is unclear if they are responsible for separate attacks on a woman and a little girl in the Whitsundays.

Three baited hooks were dropped in the area on Friday, with Fisheries Queensland officials catching and killing a two-metre tiger shark and a 3.3-metre tiger shark today.

"It is unclear if they were responsible for injuries caused to two swimmers this week," Fisheries Queensland said in a statement.

The state government insists killing the sharks is in the interest of public safety, despite also saying it would be impossible to determine whether they were the sharks responsible.

The sharks will be cut open and measured before being dumped at sea.

12-year-old Hannah Papps was holidaying from Melbourne with her father and sister when she received a life-threatening wound to her right leg on Thursday while swimming in shallow water in Cid Harbour.

Her attack came after Tasmanian Justine Barwick, 46, was bitten on her left thigh while snorkelling in the same area less than 24 hours earlier.

Both victims have now been transferred to hospitals in Brisbane where Hannah is in a critical but stable condition and Ms Barwick was last known to be stable.

"We would like to thank everyone who has helped and cared for Hannah, including the police, emergency services and the hospital teams," her family said in a statement on Friday.

"We ask that everyone, including the media, please respect our family's privacy during this very difficult time so we can focus our energies on Hannah's recovery."

It is the first time baited hooks have been used in the popular Whitsundays holiday destination, where the tourism industry is still recovering following Cyclone Debbie in 2017.

The girl is Hannah Papps, who lives in Melbourne with her New Zealand parents. Source: 1 NEWS


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At least eight members of elite Revolutionary guard dead after gunmen attack military parade in Iran

Gunmen attacked a military parade in the southwest Iranian city of Ahvaz today, killing at least 8 members of the elite Revolutionary Guard and wounding 20 people, state media said.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported that the wounded included a woman and a child but did not elaborate.

Earlier reports described the assailants as "Takfiri," a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group.

The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.

State television showed images of the immediate aftermath. In it, paramedics could be seen helping someone in military fatigues laying on the ground.

Other armed security personnel shouted at each other in front of what appeared to be a viewing stand for the parade.

The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack's aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away. The attack struck on Ahvaz's Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Today’s attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017 Islamic State group assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran.

That attack had at that point been the only one by the Sunni extremists inside of Shiite Iran, which has been deeply involved in the wars in Iraq and Syria where the militants once held vast territory.

At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the 2017 attack that saw gunmen carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosives storm the parliament complex where a legislative session had been in progress, starting an hours-long siege.

Meanwhile, gunmen and suicide bombers also struck outside Khomeini's mausoleum on Tehran's southern outskirts.

Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran's first supreme leader until his death in 1989.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province. The province in the past has seen Arab separatists attack oil pipelines.

The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.

Fighter generic. Source: Thinkstock