Trump strolls into APEC leaders meeting, as TPP firms up without US

Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries said they reached an agreement Saturday to proceed with the free-trade Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that was in doubt after President Donald Trump abandoned it.

However, an immediate formal endorsement by the countries' leaders meeting in Vietnam appeared unlikely.

A statement issued in the early hours Saturday said an accord was reached on "core elements" of the 11-member pact.

The compromise was delayed by last-minute disagreements that prevented the TPP leaders from meeting to endorse a plan on Friday.

"Ministers are pleased to announce that they have agreed on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership," the 11 nations said in a statement.

Japan's delegate to the talks, Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, told reporters that disagreements that cropped up Friday had been resolved in five hours of talks that stretched late into the night.

"We have confirmed there was no mistake about us having reached a basic agreement," Motegi said.

Asked by reporters if the deal had the support of Canada, whose Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not show up for the meeting planned for Friday, Motegi said "yes."

"Canada did agree, and that means the 'top' also agreed," he said.

Japanese media reported that the Japanese and Vietnamese co-chairs of the ministerial meetings would hold a news conference Saturday on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which wraps up later Saturday.

Despite enthusiasm for sticking with the plan following the US withdrawal under Trump in January, criticism over various issues persists.

Detractors of the TPP say it favors corporate interests over labor and other rights. Trudeau said days before arriving in Danang that he would not be rushed into signing an agreement that did not suit Canada's interests.

The US president told an APEC business conference that "we are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore."

He lambasted the World Trade Organization and other trade forums as unfair to the United States and reiterated his preference for bilateral trade deals, saying "I am always going to put America first."

Trump said he would not enter into large trade agreements, alluding to US involvement in the North American Free Trade Agreement and the TPP.

APEC operates by consensus and customarily issues nonbinding statements. TPP commitments would eventually be ratified and enforced by its members.


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'False and ludicrously untrue' - Trevor Mallard threatened with legal action by anti-1080 campaigner over dead native birds claim

An anti-1080 activist is threatening to take the Parliamentary Speaker Trevor Mallard to court over comments that dead native birds laid on the steps of Parliament as part of a protest appeared to have been bludgeoned.

Five native birds, including kererū and weka, were strewn across Parliament's steps on Wednesday, in what activists labelled "an act of theatre."

At a press conference yesterday, Mr Mallard said he had received expert advice the birds had been bludgeoned to death.

"I've been briefed today that the birds died from blunt force trauma," he said.

"There's work that is going on to finally establish that, and that will involve an investigation at Massey University followed by lankier research doing a toxicology check on the birds but the expert advice is that the birds were almost certainly bludgeoned to death."

But, anti-1080 protester, Alan Gurden, said that statement was ridiculous and said he would be suing for slander.

"I will definitely be taking him to court for defamation and slander of my character and that of my fellow protesters if he does not talk to Jacinda [Ardern] and make her agree to give me a meeting with a full parliamentary sitting, for a full day, to give them a presentation of the truth," he said.

"If they are forthcoming with this meeting that we were promised then I may reconsider not taking him to court."

Mr Gurden said there was no way the birds had been bludgeoned.

Department of Conservation staff say in the past month they've had their car tyres slashed and wheel nuts loosened. Source: 1 NEWS

"Trevor Mallard has made an absolutely false and ludicrously untrue statement in saying they were bludgeoned," he said.

"Now we took photographs and footage of those birds, none of them appeared bludgeoned to me."

Some of the birds were roadkill, while others were picked up from a 1080 dropzone in 2014, Mr Gurden said.

However, he could not say for sure if they died as a result of 1080.

"My acquaintance that kept those animals in his freezer since then was hoping to be able to get a pathology report or whatever you call it to get them tested for 1080 residues," he said.

"So he had kept them in his freezer but he has not had the vast sums of money available to him to be able to get an independent test."

In a written statement today, after being advised by RNZ of Mr Gurden's defamation threat, Mr Mallard said he was not going to be bullied but would make no further comment.

The Department of Conservation said they had been the target of threats and violence by some anti-1080 activists, with 16 incident reports being lodged by staff in August 2018.

- Katie Doyle

Rnz.co.nz

Speaker Trevor Mallard has taken the matter to the police and DOC. Source: 1 NEWS


Melbourne man who murdered girlfriend's baby in 'brutal' attack jailed for 34 years

A Melbourne ice user who murdered his girlfriend's baby boy in a "ferocious, brutal and sickening attack" has been jailed for 34 years, it can now be revealed.

Dwayne Lindsey, 35, killed six-month-old Chayse Dearing at a home in Glenroy in June 2016 and was later found guilty by a jury of murder.

Lindsey was jailed in the Supreme Court in May to 34 years with a non-parole period of 27 years, but this could not be published until today, when a judge lifted a suppression order.

Dwayne Lindsey. Source: Victoria Police.

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Flooding begins as Hurricane Florence hits coastal regions of North Carolina

The National Hurricane Center said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected over portions of the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence inches closer to the US East Coast.

Areas of coastal North Carolina began to experience flooding today.

The now Category 1 storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to 135 kph by nightfall. But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Governor Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

As of 2 am EDT (0600 GMT), Florence was centered about 55 kilometres east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Its forward movement increased slightly to 9 kph.

Hurricane-force winds extended 150 kilometres from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315 kilometres.

Forecasters said the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

The National Hurricane Center said this ‘catastrophic’ freshwater flooding was expected. Source: Associated Press


1 NEWS political reporter Katie Bradford says recent scandals 'not a good look for the Government'

Recent scandals have "not been a good look for the Government" according to 1 NEWS political reporter Katie Bradford.

After news came out today that Derek Handley's offer of chief technology officer position has been retracted by the Government, Bradford says there may be more to come.

"The Government is back to the drawing board and there may still be more to come, as Clare Curran said earlier this week she may still have personal emails on her Gmail account, so this is not necessarily over yet."

It has been the drawn-out nature of the Clare Curran saga which has hurt the Government most, Bradford says.

"This has been going on for weeks now, and every week there has been a new development with this, it's not a good look for the Government."

Coupled with other issues, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has had a rough week in politics.

"This week has also seen questions around the stability of the coalition Government and that relationship with NZ First.

"The prime minister goes into this weekend having cancelled her media appearances on some big political TV shows including TVNZ1’s Q+A.

"She says that is because of a diary scheduling era, but on Sunday she is making a big speech on her Government’s first year," Bradford says.

When asked if she was not appearing due to a tough few weeks, Ms Ardern said "absolutely not". Source: 1 NEWS

When asked if she was not appearing due to a tough few weeks, which saw Clare Curran resign from her Ministerial positions and MP Meka Whaitiri stand down while an investigation is pending, Ms Ardern said "absolutely not".

"There's no question I remain very much available for comment on any issue of the day."

From the Clare Curran saga to coalition rifts, the pressure is on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Source: 1 NEWS