Weekly news wrap – Stuff you may have missed

Satellite image of California shows smoke billowing from the wildfires raging across large parts of the state. 13Oct2017
Satellite image of California shows smoke billowing from the wildfires raging across large parts of the state. 13Oct2017

California savaged by firestorms

At least 31 people have died in California’s bushfires. There are 463 missing and firefighters expect the toll to climb.

An estimated 50,000 residents have been evacuated as the flames approached residential areas. People who chose to stay were warned by local authorities to fend for themselves as they could not guarantee anyone’s safety. So far, 3500 homes and businesses have been confirmed destroyed.

The largest fire, which has burned 11,350 hectares near San Francisco, claimed 13 of the victims. It is one of 21 serious fires raging across the state which have already destroyed 77,300 hectares. No rain is predicted in the next week while extreme winds and heat are expected to continue, making it harder to control the fires ripping through bone-dry vegetation. It is believed some of the fires were deliberately lit.

About 8,000 firefighters are using 55 fire trucks to fight 20 fires across northern California. Over 100 aircraft are also being used.

Hatch asked the NSW Rural Fire Service if the California crisis would affect preparations for the NSW bush fire season, as firefighting aircraft are usually hired from the US on contract. Media spokesman Gregory Allen told us there would be no impact on NSW’s preparedness for what has been widely tipped as a potentially troublesome season.

US walks away from UNESCO

The Trump Administration has decided to take the United States out of UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural and educational agency which coordinates protection of World heritage sites among other tasks. The US is protesting against what it says is the agency’s bias against Israel.  Soon after, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel also would withdraw from UNESCO.

Weinstein cracks a flat

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s world continues to implode after actors Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow added to the chorus of allegations about sexual harassment and rape. Weinstein has been fired by his own company, his wife has announced she will file for divorce and the Hollywood Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body behind the Oscars, is weighing how to deal with the fallout.

Despite investigations by US and British police, the disgraced heavyweight appeared outside his daughter’s home in LA last night telling reporters: “You know we all make mistakes … second chance I hope.”

Health overhaul to help young Australians

The Government has announced changes to private health insurance to give under-30s a helping hand. They will save up to 10 per cent on premiums every year until they reach 40. The maximum excess for private insurance will rise to cover the cost of introducing lower premiums. From 2019 alternative therapies like yoga and tai chi will no longer be covered.

Hurricane Trump slams Puerto Rico

In a twitter rampage overnight President Trump threatened to withdraw Federal Emergency Management Agency and US military aid from disaster relief in Puerto Rico. He again accused Puerto Rican authorities of lacking accountability as they struggle to cope with extensive damage to the most basic resources caused by the recent hurricane Maria.

World Cup dream is still alive

The Socceroo’s World Cup hopes were revived by a valiant 2-1 victory over Syria on Tuesday night. Tim Cahill was the star of the show with two crucial goals, snatching an unlikely win with a perfectly-timed header in the second-half of extra-time. Australia will now play Honduras for a place in the FIFA World Cup Finals in Russia next year.

Kyrgios blows up again

Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios was fined $40,000 for walking off the court in his opening match at the Shanghai Masters. After losing the first set against Steve Johnson, Kyrgios packed his bag and left the court to boos from the crowd before claiming on Twitter that he’d been battling a stomach bug. – Compiled from web sources by Olivia Silk, Joshua Gaske, Teaghan Wilson and Andre Cupido

About Olivia Silk 20 Articles
A journalism student with passionate interests around news, sport and entertainment.