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New Zealand police have ‘grave fears’ for missing British backpacker

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New Zealand police say they “hold grave fears” for the safety of a British backpacker who is missing in the country.

Grace Millane, who turned 22 on Sunday, was last seen entering the CityLife hotel in Auckland at 9:41pm on Saturday 1 December.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard from Auckland Police was unable to confirm on Friday if Ms Millane left the hotel.

DI Beard says he has 'grave fears' for the safety of the British 22-year-old
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DI Beard says he has ‘grave fears’ for the safety of the British 22-year-old

He said: “As part of our investigation we have reviewed hours and hours of CCTV footage and this will continue throughout the weekend.”

DI Beard added that Ms Millane from Wickford, Essex, was with a male companion when she entered the hotel.

He continued: “Police have identified this man and he has been spoken to.

“Through our investigations we have also identified a location of interest as an apartment in the CityLife hotel in Queen Street.

David Millane has described his daughter as 'outgoing' and 'family-orientated'
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David Millane has described his daughter as ‘outgoing’ and ‘family-orientated’

“We are conducting a scene examination at this address.”

The police officer said the man is not in custody but is a person of interest in the case.

He said there is no evidence of foul play and that Ms Milane is still being treated as missing, but added: “At this point we hold grave concerns for her safety.”

Ms Millane was last seen entering the CityLife hotel in Auckland. Pic: TVNZ
Image:
Ms Millane was last seen entering the CityLife hotel in Auckland. Pic: TVNZ

DI Beard would not confirm reports she had been using the dating app Tinder while in Auckland.

Ms Millane’s father David has flown out to New Zealand amid the investigation into her disappearance.

He told reporters: “Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter.

“Grace has never been out of contact for this amount of time.

He added that Ms Millane had been in Peru in South America before arriving in New Zealand alone as part of a year of travelling.

DI Beard was unable to confirm if Ms Millane had left the CityLife in Auckland. Credit: TVNZ
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DI Beard was unable to confirm if Ms Millane had left the CityLife hotel in Auckland. Credit: TVNZ

She was staying at the Base Backpackers hostel in central Auckland before her disappearance.

Mr Millane continued: “She had been bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures.

“We are all extremely upset and it is very difficult at this time to explain the range of emotions we are going through.”

New Zealand police have released a CCTV image of Ms Millane entering the SkyCity entertainment complex at around 7:15pm on Saturday.

She was wearing a black dress and what was believed to be white Converse trainers.

A number of unconfirmed sightings have been reported to officers.

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Chimps spotted cracking open tortoises’ shells and eating reptiles for first time | World News

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Chimpanzees have been spotted cracking tortoise shells against tree trucks and then eating the animals.

Scientists say this behaviour shows the apes’ impressive mental abilities.

It is thought to be the first time chimps have been seen preying on the reptiles in this way.

After smashing their shells, they scooped out the meat and shared it with other chimps.

The behaviour was spotted in the Rekambo chimpanzee community in Loango National Park in Gabon between July 2016 and May 2018.

One reason they do this could be that the region also has an abundance of hard-shelled fruit, like that from the strychnos tree, which also needs to be hit against trees to open.

This has led some enterprising chimpanzees to try the same on tortoises, said Tobias Deschner, one of the researchers.

“They see this is a hard-shelled object with some interesting thing inside and they need to crack it open,” said Mr Deschner, a primate researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

“If they can do that with the fruit and have the same problem with a hard-shelled animal with something inside that they want to get access to, then they can say ‘OK, why not do it in exactly the same way?'”

A “distinct smashing technique” was used, researchers from the University of Osnabruck and Max Planck Institute said.

They saw 10 animals, mainly male, hunting hinge-back tortoises on 38 occasions, 34 of which were successful.

They said: “Similar to nut cracking in chimpanzees – a percussive technology which is only mastered at the age of approximately nine to 10 years – the acquisition of a successful tortoise smashing technique may rely on a certain amount of strength.

“In addition, it may also involve a relatively long period of time to learn, practice and refine.”

It amounted to “further support for their exceptionally large and flexible cognitive tool kits”, the scientists said.

In two cases in which adolescent chimpanzees were trying to smash open a tortoise, the authors said they were unsuccessful.

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Healthy dog put down because owner wanted to be buried together | US News

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A healthy dog was put down because her owner requested she be buried with her in her will.

Emma, a Shih Tzu mix, was euthanized two weeks after arriving at a shelter in Chesterfield County, Virginia on 8 March.

Her owner had died and her will stipulated she be buried with her dog.

Staff at the shelter where Emma was staying were in contact with the executors of the will in the hope of convincing them to sign over the animal so they could have her adopted.

Carrie Jones, the manager of the animal services, said: “We did suggest they could sign the dog over on numerous occasions, because it’s a dog we could easily find a home for and re-home.”

According to WWBT in Richmond, Virginia, the dog was taken to a vet, euthanized and the ashes were placed in an urn and returned to the woman’s estate.

The process is legal in Virginia, by a law which came into force in 2014. But cemeteries have to allocate a separate part of the land for pets, and they can’t be in the same niche as humans.

Other states allow pets to be buried with owners.

The shelter offered to have the dog adopted
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The shelter offered to have the dog adopted

Speaking to AP, vet Dr Kenny Lucas said his clinic would not do it, but admitted it was an “emotional decision”.

Larry Spiaggi, president of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association, said it was abhorrent.

He told WWBT: “It’s not legal to put a dog’s cremated remains – or any animal – in a casket and bury them.”

The state is considering legislation to address the problem.

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UN tells Britain to end ‘colonial administration’ of Chagos Islands | World News

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Britain should end its “colonial administration” of the Chagos Islands and return them to Mauritius within six months, the UN has demanded.

The 193-member world body approved a resolution supporting a finding by the International Court of Justice that the Indian Ocean island chain be given back to Mauritius.

The General Assembly resolution, like the court’s ruling, is not legally binding but it does carry weight as it came from the UN’s highest court, and the vote – 116-6 with 56 abstentions – reflects world opinion.

The court said in its opinion Britain had unlawfully carved up Mauritius, which the Chagos Archipelago was a part of, in 1965 when Mauritius was a British colony.

It said: “The United Kingdom is under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible.”

DATE IMPORTED:22 October, 2008A demonstrator demanding her return to the Chagos Islands in the Diego Garcia archipelago shouts during a protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London October 22, 2008. Britain's highest court ruled in favour of the British government on Wednesday, blocking the return of hundreds of Chagos Island people to their homes in the south Indian Ocean after nearly 40 years of exile. The decision by the House of Lords ends a years-long battle to secure the Chagos Islan
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Many Chagossians resettled in the UK and have fought in British courts to return to the islands

Britain evicted about 2,000 people from the Chagos Archipelago in the 1960s and 1970s so the US military could build its air base on Diego Garcia.

Many resettled in the UK and have fought in British courts to return to the islands.

Britain’s UN ambassador, Karen Pierce, told the assembly: “British Indian Ocean Territory has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Mauritius has never held sovereignty over it and we do not recognise their claim.”

She added that the government stands by the 1965 agreement with the Mauritian Council of Ministers to detach the British Indian Ocean Territory in exchange for fishing rights and other benefits and a commitment “to cede the territory when it is no longer needed for defence purposes”.

Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth told the assembly his country “is extremely disappointed” in the position of the British government.

Mr Jugnauth said the 1965 agreement on the Chagos Archipelago “was carried out under duress” and labelled the forcible eviction of islanders as “a very dark episode of human history akin to a crime against humanity”.

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