US President Donald Trump meets the Queen for tea at Windsor Castle

Trump's been savaged for a couple of right royal gaffes including keeping the Queen waiting for 10 minutes for his arrival. Source: 1 NEWS



Jacinda Ardern outlines Government's top 12 priorities for New Zealand over next 30 years

The Prime Minister has announced 12 priorities as part of a 30-year plan that will be a focus of the Government's ongoing work.

Jacinda Ardern outlined the plan during a speech in Auckland today.

"The Coalition Government’s long-term plan is a blueprint which sets out our priorities and the steps we are taking to build a more modern and fairer New Zealand that we can all be proud of," says Ms Ardern.

"This plan represents our shared vision and priorities; Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens. It establishes the foundation for the Government’s work and includes issues of particular importance to each of the parties which are supported by all of them.

"Our Government has a firm eye on the future. That's why our plan is looking 30 years ahead, not just three."

The Government's 12 priorities are: 

- To grow and share more fairly New Zealand's prosperity

- Supporting thriving and sustainable regions

- Transitioning to a clean, green carbon neutral New Zealand

- Delivering responsible government with a broader measure of success

- Ensuring that everyone is either earning, learning, caring or volunteering

- Supporting healthier, safer and more connected communities

- Ensuring everyone has a warm, dry home

- Making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child

- Committing to deliver transparent, transformative, and compassionate government

- Building closer partnerships with Māori

- Valuing who we are as a country

- Creating an international reputation we can be proud of

The Prime Minister gave details of the Government plan during a speech in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Hurricane Florence death toll rises to 11 as North Carolina braces for widespread flooding

The Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles today to rescue hundreds of people trapped by Florence's shoreline onslaught, even as North Carolina braced for what could be the next stage of the disaster: widespread, catastrophic flooding inland.

The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm climbed to 11.

A day after blowing ashore with 145 km/h winds, Florence practically parked itself over land all day long and poured on the rain. With rivers rising toward record levels, thousands of people were ordered to evacuate for fear the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

The storm dropped 10 to 18 inches of rain along the North Carolina coast. Source: Associated Press

More than 60 centimetres of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 45 centimetres by the end of the weekend.

"I cannot overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life," Governor Roy Cooper said.

As of today, Florence was centered about 95 kilometres west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, inching west at 4 km/h — not even as fast as a person walking. Its winds were down to 75 km/h. With half of the storm still out over the Atlantic, Florence continued to collect warm ocean water and dump it on land.

CNN reporter Derek Van Dam was at a North Carolina Beach as the eyewall of Hurricane Florence came onshore. Source: Twitter: CNN

In its initial onslaught along the coast, Florence buckled buildings, deluged entire communities and knocked out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses. But the storm was shaping up as a two-part disaster, with the second, delayed stage triggered by rainwater working its way into rivers and streams.

The flash flooding could devastate communities and endanger dams, roads and bridges.

Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle N.C., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)
Source: Associated Press

Authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of up to 7,500 people living within 1.6 kilometres of a stretch of the Cape Fear River and the Little River, about 160 kilometres from the coast. The evacuation zone included part of the city of Fayetteville, population 200,000.

Officials in nearby Harnett County urged residents of about 1,100 homes to clear out because the Lower Little River was rising toward record levels.

One potential road out was blocked as flooding forced the shutdown of a 26-kilometre stretch of Interstate 95, the main highway along the Eastern Seaboard.

In New Bern, along the coast, homes were completely surrounded by water, and rescuers used inflatable boats to reach people.

Kevin Knox and his family were rescued from their flooded brick home with the help of Army Sergeant Johan Mackie, part of a team using a phone app to locate people in distress. Mackie rode in a boat through a flooded neighbourhood, navigating through trees and past a fencepost to get to the Knox house.

"Amazing. They did awesome," said Knox, who was stranded with seven others, including a boy who was carried out in a life vest. "If not, we'd be stuck upstairs for the next ... how long? I have no idea."

New Bern spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said 455 people in all were rescued in the town of 30,000 residents without any serious injuries or deaths. But thousands of buildings were damaged in destruction Roberts called "heart-wrenching."

Authorities evacuate a family from rising waters caused by Florence, now a tropical storm, on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 in New Bern, N.C.  (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Source: Associated Press

Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.

Coast Guard helicopters were taking off across the street to rescue stranded people from rooftops and swamped cars. Coast Guard members said choppers had made about 50 rescues in and around New Bern and Jacksonville as of noon.

Rescue team member Sgt. Nick Muhar, from the North Carolina National Guard 1/120th battalion, evacuates a young child as the rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence threatens his home in New Bern, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Source: Associated Press

Marines rescued about 20 civilians from floodwaters near Camp Lejeune, using Humvees and amphibious assault vehicles, the base reported.

In Lumberton, about 130 kilometres inland, Jackie and Quinton Washington watched water filling both their front and back yards near the Lumber River. Hurricane Matthew sent more than 1.5 metres of water into their home in 2016, and the couple feared Florence would run them out again.

"If it goes up to my front step, I have to get out," Quintin Washington said.

The dead included a mother and baby killed when a tree fell on a house in Wilmington, North Carolina. South Carolina recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her car hit a tree that had fallen across a highway.

"It was very dark, all you could see was water and wind, you couldn't really figure out what was going on out there," a neighbour said. Source: Associated Press

Three died in one inland county, Duplin, because of water on roads and flash floods, the sheriff's office said. A husband and wife died in a house fire linked to the storm, officials said, and an 81-year-old man died after falling and hitting his head while packing to evacuate.

Retired Marine Garland King and his wife, Katherine, evacuated their home in New Bern yesterday and returned today, sharing a kiss and joining hands as they drew near their house.

"It was tough. Wobbling. I was looking for water moccasins to hit me at any time," he said.

They finally made it, and found a soggy, stinking mess.

"The carpets. The floors. Everything is soaking wet," Katherine King said. "We're going to have to redo the whole inside."

The National Hurricane Center said Florence broke a North Carolina rainfall record that had stood for almost 20 years: Preliminary reports showed Swansboro got more than 75 centimetres and counting, obliterating the mark set in 1999, when Hurricane Floyd dropped just over 60 centimetres on the state.

As of noon, Emerald Isle had more than 58 centimetres of rain, and Wilmington and Goldsboro had about 30 centimetres. North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, had around 18 centimetres.

Stream gauges across the region showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest tomorrow and Tuesday at or near record levels. The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to rise over their banks, flooding cities and towns.

Forecasters said the storm will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a sharp rightward swing to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of the week.

It's feared the US state could be in for its most destructive flooding in its history. Source: Associated Press

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Antarctica's ice melt to be measured by new NASA satellite

A NASA satellite designed to precisely measure changes in Earth's ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice and vegetation was launched into polar orbit from California overnight.

A Delta 2 rocket carrying the ICESat-2 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base and headed over the Pacific Ocean.

NASA Earth Science Division director Michael Freilich says that the mission in particular will advance knowledge of how the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contribute to sea level rise.

The melt from those ice sheets alone has raised global sea level by more than 1 millimetre (0.04 inch) a year recently, according to NASA.

Antarctica (file picture).
Antarctica (file picture). Source: istock.com

The mission is a successor to the original Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite that operated from 2003 to 2009.

Measurements continued since then with airborne instruments in NASA's Operation IceBridge.

Built by Northrop Grumman, ICESat-2 carries a single instrument, a laser altimeter that measures height by determining how long it takes photons to travel from the spacecraft to Earth and back.

According to NASA, it will collect more than 250 times as many measurements as the first ICESat.

The launch was the last for a Delta 2 rocket, United Launch Alliance said.

The Delta 2 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Source: Associated Press


Two dead after suspected drug overdoses at Sydney dance festival

Two people have died and another two are critically ill in hospital after multiple suspected overdoses at Sydney music festival Defqon.1.

A man, 23, and a woman, 21, collapsed at the festival in Castlereagh about 9pm (Sydney time) on Saturday and died a short time later in nearby Nepean hospital, police said on Sunday.

A Jamisontown woman, 26, remains in a critical condition at Nepean hospital while an Artarmon man, 19, was flown to Westmead Hospital and is in intensive care.

Police said another 13 people went to hospital for drug-related issues while about 700 people sought assistance from medical staff at the festival.

Defqon.1 organisers had warned ticket holders the festival's drug policy was zero tolerance.

"This means that all types of soft- and hard drugs are prohibited. If drugs are found, you will be handed over to the police," a statement on the festival's website said.

Police say 10 people were charged with drug supply offences, including two 17-year-old girls who allegedly carried 120 capsules "internally" into the venue.

In total, 69 people were found in possession of drugs at the festival held at Sydney International Regatta Centre.

Local detectives have formed a new police strikeforce, dubbed Highworth, to investigate the two deaths.

Silhouettes of people in a bright in the pop rock concert in front of the stage. Hands with gesture Horns. That rocks. Party in a club
Music festival (file picture). Source: istock.com