Watch: Man led away from yacht as Australian police seize massive haul of cocaine with help of NZ Customs

New Zealand Customs was involved in the interception of a cocaine haul which is believed to be among the largest in recent Australian history.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) have arrested six men, aged between 32 and 66, over the cocaine haul.

In August 2014, the AFP received intelligence from the NZ Customs about a conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs into Australia.

Authorities have arrested six people so far over the haul. Source: 1 NEWS

Australia police will allege a sailing vessel, the Elakha, travelled from New Zealand to a "mothership" in the South Pacific Ocean last month to collect the drugs.

Shortly before midnight on Thursday, the HMAS Bathurst intercepted the Elakha.

Maritime Border Command (MBC) personnel boarded the vessel, and the two crew members - a 63-year-old New Zealand man and a 54-year-old Swiss-Fijian national - were detained under the Maritime Powers Act 2013 (Cth).

Black bags containing a large quantity of blocks were discovered on the vessel.

Initial testing of the blocks returned a positive result for cocaine with an estimated weight of 1422 kilograms (1.4 tonnes).

This amount of cocaine has a street value of $327 million, though further forensic testing will be conducted to determine exact weight and purity.

Footage released by the AFP shows officers removing several large bags of evidence from a boat and placing them into the back of the truck.

Two men are also shown being led away in handcuffs from the scene.

One of the men arrested is believed to have worked at a St Georges Basin maritime training facility.

A police source told News Corp Australia that they expect "there may be further arrests," over the bust.

It's not known yet the extent to which New Zealand customs was involved in the operation. 

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

Six people have been arrested and a massive haul of cocaine has been seized following a two-and-a-half year investigation. Source: Supplied



Mormon church breaks ties with Boy Scouts over decision to allow gay members

The Mormon church's new youth program, which will roll out in 2020 when it cuts all ties with Boy Scouts of America, will still include outdoor and adventure activities even as the initiative becomes more gospel-focused, the faith confirmed Friday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a few more details about the initiative in a news release that said a full and detailed description will come later because different aspects of the program are still being tested.

The Utah-based faith announced in May it was leaving the Boy Scouts of America at the end of next year in a move that ends a nearly century-old relationship between two organisations that were originally brought together by shared values but diverged in recent years.

Amid declining membership, Boy Scouts of America recently opened its arms to openly gay youth members and adult volunteers as well as girls and transgender boys. The Mormon faith, which has long been the biggest sponsor of Boy Scout troops in the United States, has clung to its opposition of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

The church has also seen significant expansion in countries outside the U.S. where Boy Scouts wasn't offered and said it wanted to create its own uniform youth program it could use around the world and tailor specifically to its gospel. More than half of the church's 16 million members live outside the U.S. and Canada.

The news release reiterates that the faith's program will be similar to Scouting with an emphasis on outdoors, service work and character building. It won't have a ranking system like the one culminating in an Eagle Scout recognition that many generations of Mormons strived to achieve as a life milestone. It will be for boys and girls.

"Camps and other outdoor activities have always been and will continue to be a prominent part of gospel learning, building relationships, and strengthening faith in Jesus Christ," the release said. "Leaders, youth, and parents will be empowered to identify and provide outdoor activities that invite spiritual experiences and meet the unique needs of their children, young women, and young men."

For now, the faith is referring to the program as its new "children and youth development initiative."

The May announcement that it was unhitching from Boy Scouts didn't come as a major surprise. The faith removed 185,000 boys between the ages of 14 and 18 last year, signalling that an end to the long-time alliance was near. The remaining 425,000 boys will end Scouts at the end of 2019.


Boy scouts

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Watch: Hundreds of metres of Greek coastline blanketed by spider webs

 It's not quite the World Wide Web - but the spiders of Aitoliko in Greece have made a good start.

Spurred into overdrive by an explosion in the populations of insects they eat, thousands of little spiders in the western Greek town have shrouded coastal trees, bushes and low vegetation in thick webs.

The sticky white lines extend for a few hundred meters along the shoreline of Aitoliko, built on an artificial island in a salt lagoon near Missolonghi, 250 kilometres west of Athens.

Experts told local media that the numbers of lake flies, a non-biting midge, have rocketed amid humid late summer conditions. Spiders, which fancy the flies, reproduced fast to take full advantage of the feast.

Residents say the extensive spider webs have another benefit: keeping down mosquitoes.


A recent increase in the mosquito population has resulted in perfect conditions for spiders to thrive and multiply. Source: Associated Press

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White high school student accused of putting noose around a black student's neck in Louisiana

A white high-school student has been accused of putting a noose around a black student's neck in northeast Louisiana.

A teacher at West Ouachita High School saw the incident and immediately took the white student to administrators at the school in West Monroe, Ouachita Parish Schools Superintendent Don Coker said.

Coker said the student was disciplined, but student privacy laws forbid him to release details.

Deputy Glenn Springfield, a spokesman for the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office, said a juvenile student at the school was arrested on a hate crime battery charge. Springfield said he could not give or confirm other details because both students are juveniles and the case is now with the district attorney's office.

"We don't tolerate any of this. We will never tolerate any of this," Coker said. He added, "This was during Homecoming Week. I don't know if he was trying to make a practical joke or it was truly a hate crime. I know it was handled extremely quickly and very well by our school."

District Attorney Robert S Tew was out of his office Friday and unavailable for comment.

Entrance to office building or school campus.  Front, glass doors are open.  Welcome!
Source: istock.com


Man in serious condition following assault near Christchurch mall

A 41-year-old man is in a serious but stable condition in a Christchurch hospital, following an attack in the early hours this morning.

Police have cordoned off an area beside the Hornby Mall, on Shands Road, for a scene examination.

It is expected to be cleared by midday today.

Police are continuing to investigate the scene to establish what occurred.

File image of an Ambulance outside a hospital. Source: 1 NEWS