Australia's most populous state now entirely in drought as farmers given authority to shoot kangaroos 

Australia's most populous state now entirely in drought as farmers given authority to shoot kangaroos Australia’s most populous state was declared entirely in drought on Wednesday and struggling farmers were given new authority to shoot kangaroos that compete with livestock for sparse pasture during the most intense dry spell in more than 50 years. Much of Australia’s southeast is struggling with drought. But the drought conditions in the state of New South Wales this year have been the driest and most widespread since 1965. The state government said Wednesday that 100 percent of New South Wales’ land area of more than 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) was now in drought. Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said farmers were enduring one of the driest Southern Hemisphere winters on record. “This is tough. There isn’t a person in the state that isn’t hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities,” Blair said in a statement. Cattle on a dry paddock in the drought-hit area of Quirindi in New South Wales Credit:  GLENN NICHOLLS/AFP Farm reservoirs have dried up and crops are failing. State and federal governments are providing financial help, but not enough for many farmers. With dry conditions forecast to continue for the next three months, farmers had to decide whether to continue the expensive and laborious task of hand-feeding cattle and sheep or sell their livestock. The state government on Wednesday also lifted the number of kangaroos that farmers are allowed to shoot and reduced bureaucratic red tape facing land holders applying for permission to shoot. Farmer Clive Barton walking through the paddocks in the drought-hit area of Duri in New South Wales Credit:  SAEED KHAN/ AFP The requirement to tag dead kangaroos to keep a tally of the number shot across the state had been dispensed with. “Many farmers are taking livestock off their paddocks, only to then see kangaroos move in and take whatever is left,” Blair said. “If we don’t manage this situation, we will start to see tens of thousands of kangaroos starving and suffering, ultimately leading to a major animal welfare crisis,” he added. A train makes its way through dry paddocks in the drought-hit area of Quirindi in New South Wales Credit: GLENN NICHOLLS/ AFP But Ray Borda, president of the Kangaroo Industries Association of Australia, which represents commercial shooters who hunt kangaroos for meat and leather, raised animal welfare concerns about the regulation changes. “Anybody on the land that will make a phone call to the Department of Environment can get permission to shoot almost whatever they want to shoot and it’s unaudited and unchecked and that’s our concern – animal welfare,” Borda told Australian Broadcasting Corp. The government would have been better off subsidizing professional shooters to reduce kangaroo numbers more humanely, he said. “We see this as probably the worst possible outcome for the kangaroo, but I’ve got to emphasize we do understand the plight that farmers are in,” Borda said. 


Source: Yahoo! News

S. Korea's ex-president Park given eight more years in prison

S. Korea's ex-president Park given eight more years in prisonDisgraced former South Korean president Park Geun-hye was convicted of charges including illegally receiving funds from the country’s spy agency on Friday and given eight more years in prison, on top of her current term. Park, the South’s first female president, was impeached last year after huge street protests over a sprawling scandal, and was jailed for 24 years for corruption and abuse of power in April. Friday’s penalty — issued in her absence after she refused to attend the Seoul Central District Court — came after a separate trial for pocketing money from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and improperly intervening in 2016 in the selection of her ruling party’s parliamentary candidates.


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S. Korea's ex-president Park given eight more years in prison

S. Korea's ex-president Park given eight more years in prisonDisgraced former South Korean president Park Geun-hye was convicted of charges including illegally receiving funds from the country’s spy agency on Friday and given eight more years in prison, on top of her current term. Park, the South’s first female president, was impeached last year after huge street protests over a sprawling scandal, and was jailed for 24 years for corruption and abuse of power in April. Friday’s penalty — issued in her absence after she refused to attend the Seoul Central District Court — came after a separate trial for pocketing money from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and improperly intervening in 2016 in the selection of her ruling party’s parliamentary candidates.


Source: Yahoo! News

Thai cave rescue divers given diplomatic immunity: report

Thai cave rescue divers given diplomatic immunity: reportTwo Australian divers who helped extract the young football team trapped in a Thai cave obtained diplomatic immunity before the rescue in case it failed, national broadcaster ABC reported Monday. The “Wild Boars” team were stuck in the cave in northern Thailand for 18 days before Thai Navy SEALs and international cave diving experts successfully removed them in a highly risky, three-day-long operation. Anaesthetist Richard Harris and his diving partner Craig Challen, both cave diving specialists, played key roles in the rescue.


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Microsoft calls for facial recognition technology rules given 'potential for abuse'

  1. Microsoft calls for facial recognition technology rules given ‘potential for abuse’  Fox News
  2. Microsoft wants facial recognition technology regulated  iTnews
  3. Microsoft calls for government regulation to prevent abuse of facial recognition tech – The Telegraph  Nigerian Bulletin
  4. Full coverage


Source: Google News -Technology

Report: Russian Internet Company Given Access to Private Facebook User Data

  1. Report: Russian Internet Company Given Access to Private Facebook User Data  Daily Beast
  2. UK’s Information Commissioner will fine Facebook the maximum £500K over Cambridge Analytica breach  TechCrunch
  3. The UK’s privacy watchdog has fined Facebook £500000 — the maximum amount — over Cambridge Analytica  Business Insider
  4. What triggered the ICO’s political data inquiry?  The Guardian
  5. Full coverage


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