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Australia bushfires: Injured koalas sniffed out by talented rescue dog | World News



A talented dog is lending a paw to animal rescue efforts in areas devastated by Australia’s raging bushfires, saving koalas with her impressively strong sense of smell.

Taylor, a four-year-old English springer spaniel, has found dozens of injured marsupials by sniffing out the scent of their fur or their faeces, also known as scat.

The clever dog ventures out into the burnt-out bushland in search for the animals when her trainer Ryan Tate commands the magic words, “koala, find”.

Each time she sniffs out a koala, she is rewarded with a tennis ball or culinary treat.

Mr Tate runs the detector dog training service, Tate Animal Training Enterprises.

He said Taylor had become an expert at her niche occupation as she had been practising since she was just a few months old.

Despite working to find koalas, Taylor is also still a man's best friend when it comes to his trainer Ryan Tate
Ryan Tate says Taylor sits below injured koalas to bring them to his attention

“In ideal conditions where the air is still, the smell of the animal actually drops down from the tree and Taylor can smell them,” Mr Tate said.

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“She’ll sit right below them and point up to them and show us where they are.”

Mr Tate said the canine was even trained to complete her mission in difficult and windy conditions, by finding fresh faeces.

“We can let the experts know where the scats are and they will scan the canopy and usually find the animal,” Mr Tate said.

Several of the koalas found by Taylor have been treated at Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital, a specialist facility and tourist attraction that has been overrun in the current crisis.

Taylor finds the marsupials by sniffing out their fur or faeces
Taylor finds the marsupials by sniffing out their fur or faeces

Ferocious and unprecedented bushfires have killed 29 people in Australia in the past few months and razed bushland equal to an area the size of Bulgaria.

Much of Australia’s koala population has been severely affected by the blazes, which continue to burn across the country’s east coast.

In the state of New South Wales alone, officials estimate koalas may have lost 30% of their eucalypt woodlands, which they use for both food and shelter.

Their heavy fur and tendency to climb higher when threatened are severe disadvantages in fast-moving bushfires.

Taylor is not the only animal working to save his fellow furry friends.

Suffering marsupials have found another unlikely saviour in Bear, a dog with obsessive compulsive disorder, who has also been helping animal rescuers by sniffing out creatures in charred bush.

The cattle dog cross-breed is ideally suited to the task as he is trained to find both wild koalas and quolls – another small Australian marsupial.

Authorities have said the full extent of the koala’s habitat damage will not be known until the fires are extinguished, which is likely several months away.

A $50m emergency wildlife recovery program launched by the federal government earlier this week will focus on the survival of the iconic native animal.

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North Korea has ‘probably’ developed mini nuclear devices to fit missile warheads, says UN report | World News



North Korea has “probably developed miniaturised nuclear devices to fit
into the warheads of its ballistic missile”, according to a confidential UN report.

It says several unidentified countries believe North Korea’s past six nuclear tests have likely helped it to develop such a capability.

An interim version of the report – by an independent panel monitoring United Nations sanctions – was submitted to the UN Security Council on Monday and has been seen by the Reuters news agency.

It also accuses North Korea of continuing its nuclear ambitions, despite it not carrying out a nuclear test for nearly three years.

The report states: “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is continuing its nuclear program, including the production of highly enriched uranium and construction of an experimental light water reactor.

“A Member State assessed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is continuing production of nuclear weapons.”

One country – not identified – believes North Korea “may seek to further develop miniaturisation in order to allow incorporation of technological improvements… or, potentially, to develop multiple warhead systems”.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shakes hands with US President Donald Trump (R) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. - Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have become on June 12 the first sitting US and North Korean leaders to meet, shake hands and negotiate to end a decades-old nuclear stand-off
Three meetings between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have failed to yield a deal acceptable to both leaders

The secretive communist state has been subject to UN sanctions for many years over its ballistic and nuclear missile programmes.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met Donald Trump three times since 2018 in the hope that sanctions could be eased if it denuclearises, but a deal has proved elusive.

A summit in Vietnam in 2019 was cut short, with Mr Trump saying it was because his counterpart wanted all sanctions lifted – a claim denied by North Korea.

The UN report also casts doubt on the effectiveness of the destruction of tunnels at North Korea’s main nuclear site, Punggye-ri, in May 2018.

International experts were not allowed in, and the report says only tunnel entrances are known to have been destroyed rather than a complete demolition.

One country is said to have assessed that it would take only three months for North Korea to get the site capable of conducting a nuclear test again.

With North Korea’s economy still punished by sanctions, the report says it continues to break the rules and generate money through “illicit maritime exports of coal”, as well as widespread hacking.

It is estimated to have stolen $2bn (£1.7bn) through cyber attacks targeting banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.

“The Panel continues to assess that virtual asset service providers and virtual assets will continue to remain lucrative targets for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to generate revenue, as well as mining cryptocurrencies,” it said.

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Genoa replacement bridge inaugurated despite boycott by victims’ families | World News



Two years after a bridge collapse killed 43 people in Italy, a replacement bridge has been inaugurated – but families of the victims boycotted the event.

A stretch of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa collapsed on 14 August 2018 during a torrential rainstorm, sending cars and trucks crashing into the dry riverbed below.

The new structure was put up following round-the-clock construction, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bridge collapsed on 14 August 2018
Part of the old bridge collapsed on 14 August 2018
This photo of a lone truck near the precipice appeared in news reports around the world
This photo of a lone truck near the precipice appeared in news reports around the world

Monday’s ceremony for the new San Giorgio Bridge started with the reading out of the names of the dead.

“We are suspended between grief” over the tragedy and “pride for the construction of the new bridge”, its renowned architect, Renzo Piano, said in a speech at the ceremony.

The victims’ families agreed to meet Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella privately, but announced they were skipping the actual ceremony.

The families are unhappy that the company which maintained the old bridge will be running the new structure for a while, despite poor maintenance being investigated as a possible cause of the collapse.

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Firefighters who worked to extract survivors and bodies from tonnes of twisted metal also boycotted the ceremony in solidarity with the families, according to Sky TG24.

Egle Possetti, who leads an association of the bridge victims’ families, said: “No one can give us back our dead”.

Ms Possetti, who lost a sister and other family members in the tragedy, said she hoped the attention would stay focused on the ongoing criminal investigation into the collapse.

Italy's president Sergio Mattarella inaugurated the replacement bridge
Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella inaugurated the replacement bridge
The inauguration was marked by the Italian Air Force

Mayor Marco Bucci also dedicated a few words to those who lost loved ones in the collapse, saying: “Our message to them is very simple. This must never happen again.”

Nine Italian Air Force jets flew in formation over the bridge to mark the inauguration, trailing smoke in the red, white and green colours of the country’s flag.

New Genoa bridge underwent static testing operations ahead of its inauguration
The new Genoa bridge underwent static testing operations ahead of its inauguration

Prosecutors are investigating what caused Morandi Bridge to collapse and if proper maintenance was carried out consistently.

Riccardo Morandi, the engineer who designed the bridge which was built in the 1960s, had recommended continual maintenance of the structure due to the corrosive effect of sea air in the port city and pollution.

Traffic will start crossing the new San Giorgio Bridge, named after St George, a saint popular in Genoa, on Wednesday.

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New Zealand: Drawing featuring typed forward slashes wins art competition | World News



A woman has reportedly won £12,000 for a piece of art featuring thousands of forward-slash characters on an A4 piece of paper.

Poppy Lekner, who was born in England but moved to New Zealand, got the prize money for coming first in what local media called a prestigious competition.

Her “Forward Slash” creation was chosen out of 482 entries to win the 2020 Parkin Drawing Prize – and with it $25,000 (£12,647).

She admitted it may not be “everyone’s cup of tea”, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Ms Lekner revealed she only created it the day before entries closed in June, the newspaper reported.

“I have worked on lots of different explorations using the typewriter but I hadn’t committed as much time previously as I had in this work, which required dedication because using a typewriter to mark make is quite a laborious thing,” she said.

“I had to really concentrate the entire time.

“It’s very easy to make a mistake on a very detailed, very fine thing.”

Ms Lekner added the piece was “a different way to look at what drawing can be”.

According to the Herald, the annual competition has had controversial winners before – such as a jumbled pile of carpet from an old state house.

Charlotte Davy, who judged this year’s entries and is head of art at New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa, explained her thinking.

“It’s such a beautiful… minimal work where she’s really exploring a kind of meditation of process, literally just repeating forward-slash over and over again … creating a beautiful woven pattern,” Stuff website reported her saying.

“I felt it was really delicate, strong, and it spoke a lot to me about finding a place of contemplation in a world that feels quite chaotic.”

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