Video: Heavy rain and high winds as Cyclone Gita makes landfall in Tonga

First 1 NEWS video out of Tonga as the island is hit by Cyclone Gita show severe rain and high winds.

Tonga's Acting Prime Minister Semisi Sika today signed a state of emergency declaration due to "the destructive force winds and sea rises caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita".

Follow 1 NEWS NOW's live updates as Cyclone Gita hits Tonga.

The weather system is packing winds of more than 200km/h. Source: 1 NEWS

The cyclone is predicted to reach Category 5 status when the eye passes over at midnight. Source: 1 NEWS

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Watch: Mate Ma’a Tonga stars slap Mick Potter with jandals in hilarious initiation ritual

New Mate Ma'a Tonga assistant coach Mick Potter got a rude introduction to his new side's team culture, being slapped with jandals by the team by way of initiation.

Potter, who previously coached Fiji Bati to a stunning World Cup victory over the Kiwis at last year's World Cup, joined Kristian Woolf's coaching set-up recently.

As the team trained in Hamilton, he was given a warm welcome, despite appearances to the contrary.

The Tongans take on Australia in Auckland next weekend. 

Team spirit in the Tongan camp is sky high, as the team welcomes their new assistant coach into the fold. Source: 1 NEWS

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Large smuggling ring trading in baby chimps stolen from their mothers uncovered in Nepal

Police in Nepal have uncovered a major smuggling ring found to be trading baby chimps stolen from their mothers.

The chimps were being taken from the wild in Nigeria and then flown to Kathmandu, where they were then put for sale with an asking price of $12,000, the BBC reports.

It comes after two baby chimps were seized by wildlife traffickers, who drugged the animals and forced them into a packing case to be flown first to Istanbul, then Nepal, where they were intercepted before they could reach their final destination in India.

Nepali officers kept a close eye on a large crate at Kathmandu Airport after receiving a tip-off. 

The men accused of smuggling the animals are currently awaiting trial.

The animals were taken from the wild in Nigeria and then flown to Kathmandu. Source: BBC

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New trial in Monsanto's $446m judgement over whether weed-killer caused cancer

A San Francisco judge said today she is considering tossing out the lion's share of the $446 million judgment against agribusiness giant Monsanto and ordering a new trial over whether the company's weed-killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos didn't formally rule on any issues after a two-hour hearing to consider Monsanto's demand to toss out the entire jury verdict in the first of thousands of similar cases across the country to go to trial.

The San Francisco jury in August said Monsanto knew - or should have known - its best-selling Roundup weed-killer causes cancer and hit the company with $386 million in punitive damages, which are designed to punish companies who act recklessly.

The jury also awarded DeWayne Johnson $50.9 million in so-called "pain-and-suffering" damages and $9.2 million in actual damages.

But Bolanos issued a written tentative ruling ahead of the hearing saying she intended to strike down the punitive damages and schedule a new trial on that issue.

During the hearing, Bolanos also said she was troubled by the $50.9 million in "non-economic" pain-and-suffering damages the jury awarded. Johnson's lawyer argued for $1.5 million a year for the next 33 years.

But Monsanto's lawyers argued that Johnson is expected to live for two more years - an argument that appeared to resonate with Bolanos who mulled out loud about fashioning an order reducing the entire verdict to under $13.8 million.

Ultimately, Bolanos ordered lawyers to submit written arguments by Saturday and said she would rule after that.

Johnson and his lawyers left court without comment. So did Monsanto's legal team.

"Tentative rulings are common in California and it's rare for judges to reverse themselves," said David Levine, a professor at the University of California's Hastings Law School in San Francisco.

During the hearing, the judge said she was concerned with improper statements Johnson's lawyer Brent Wisner made during his closing arguments.

Despite the judge's order not to, Wisner compared Monsanto to tobacco companies and said company executives would be drinking champagne in their boardroom if the jury sided with the St. Louis-based company.

The judge admonished the jury to disregard those comments at the time, but wondered Wednesday if they entitled Monsanto to a new trial.

The San Francisco jury in August said Monsanto knew - or should have known – its best-selling Roundup weed-killer causes cancer. Source: Associated Press


Donald Trump says Fed has 'gone crazy' after stocks' major drop

US President Donald Trump said the Federal Reserve "has gone crazy" after a major drop in stock prices today 

Mr Trump, who has been critical of the central bank's interest rate increases, told reporters after landing in Erie, Pennsylvania, that he thinks "the Fed is making a mistake".

He added, "I think the Fed has gone crazy." 

But he also called the drop "a correction we've been waiting for for a long time".

US stocks took their worst loss in eight months on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sinking 831 points and the Nasdaq composite logging its biggest loss in more than two years. 

Mr Trump has often pointed to stock market records set during his time in office as a measure of his success. 

The US President said he thinks "the Fed is making a mistake" with interest rate increases. Source: 1 NEWS