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    South Korea offers Winter Olympic talks to North Korea

    South Korean Unification Minster Cho Myoung-gyon says the South proposes the two Koreas meet on January 9 at the border ...

    CHUNG SUNG-JUN/GETTY IMAGES

    South Korean Unification Minster Cho Myoung-gyon says the South proposes the two Koreas meet on January 9 at the border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic cooperation.

    South Korea on Tuesday offered high-level talks with rival North Korea to find ways to cooperate on next month’s Winter Olympics in the South.

    Seoul’s quick proposal following a rare rapprochement overture from the North a day earlier offers the possibility of better ties after a year that saw a nuclear standoff increase fear of war on the Korean Peninsula.

    In a closely watched New Year’s address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Monday that he was willing to send a delegation to the Olympics, though he also repeated fiery nuclear threats against the United States.

    Analysts say Kim may be trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its ally Washington in a bid to reduce international isolation and sanctions against North Korea.

    READ MORE:

     

    Kim’s overture was welcome news for a South Korean government led by liberal President Moon Jae-in, who favours dialogue to ease the North’s nuclear threats and wants to use the Olympics as a chance to improve inter-Korean ties.

    Moon’s unification minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, proposed in a nationally televised news conference that the two Koreas meet January 9 at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic cooperation and how to improve overall ties.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Moon spoke of what he described as Kim’s positive response to his earlier dialogue overtures and ordered officials to study how to restore talks with North Korea and get the North to participate in the Olympics.

    North Korea did not immediately react. But if there are talks, they would be the first formal dialogue between the Koreas since December 2015. Relations between the Koreas have plunged as North Korea has expanded its weapons programs amid a hard-line stance by Moon’s conservative predecessors.

    Last year, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles as part of its push to possess a nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States. The North was subsequently hit with toughened UN sanctions, and Kim and US President Donald Trump exchanged warlike rhetoric and crude personal insults against each other.

    Kim said in his speech on Monday that North Korea last year achieved the historic feat of “completing” its nuclear forces. Outside experts say that it’s only a matter of time before the North acquires the ability to hurl nuclear weapons at the mainland US, but that the country still has a few technologies to master, such as a warhead’s ability to survive atmospheric re-entry.

    Talks could provide a temporary thaw in strained inter-Korean ties, but conservative critics worry that they may only earn the North time to perfect its nuclear weapons. After the Olympics, inter-Korean ties could become frosty again because the North has made it clear it has no intention of accepting international calls for nuclear disarmament and instead wants to bolster its weapons arsenal in the face of what it considers increasing US threats.

    “Kim Jong Un’s strategy remains the same. He’s developing nukes while trying to weaken international pressure and the South Korea-US military alliance and get international sanctions lifted,” said Shin Beomchul of the Seoul-based Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

    He said the North might also be using its potential Olympic participation as a chance to show its nuclear programme is not intended to pose a threat to regional peace.

    In his address on Monday, Kim said the United States should be aware that his country’s nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat. He said he has a “nuclear button” on his office desk, warning that “the whole territory of the US is within the range of our nuclear strike.”

    He called for improved ties and a relaxation of military tensions with South Korea, saying the Winter Olympics could showcase the status of the Korean nation. But Kim also repeated that South Korea must stop annual military exercises with the United States, which he calls an invasion rehearsal against the North.

    About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea to help deter potential aggression from the North, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.


     – AP

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    Roger Federer beats Khachanov at Hopman Cup thanks to Hawkeye help

    Roger Federer made it two straight wins at the Hopman Cup after overcoming Russian Karen Khachanov.

    PAUL KANE/GETTY IMAGES

    Roger Federer made it two straight wins at the Hopman Cup after overcoming Russian Karen Khachanov.

    World No 2 Roger Federer joked that he had some dodgy help from the person running Hawkeye after overcoming some nervy moments to beat Russian Karen Khachanov at Perth Arena on Tuesday night.

    Federer gave Switzerland a 1-0 lead in the Hopman Cup tie after beating Khachanov 6-3 7-6 (10-8) in front of 13,943 fans – a record crowd for the mixed-teams event.

    The match was on a knife’s edge during a pulsating second-set tiebreak.

    Federer saved a set point, before eventually prevailing on his third match point when he successfully challenged a Khachanov winner.

    READ MORE:
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    * Roger Federer rusty but dominant in first-up win

     

    The 36-year-old thought the shot was in and was only challenging in the unlikely chance he was wrong.

    To his surprise, Hawkeye showed the ball had sailed wide by the barest of margins, with Federer having a chuckle to himself after being awarded the win.

    “I thought it was in,” Federer said. “When I looked at the mark on the floor, I thought it actually touched. And then when it went out, it was almost a bit of a surprise.

    “It almost felt like somebody in the back said, ‘Let’s get this match over, we need Roger to win this one’.”

    Khachanov took the decision on the chin.

    “I mean what can you do? You have to put this ball inside the line. Next time,” Khachanov said.

    “You just hope that it was in or it was touching the line. But you cannot do anything. Maybe Hawkeye was wrong.

    “I mean, it’s tough to say. I was hitting. I didn’t see if it was in or not. I was hoping it was in.”

    Former world No 7 Belinda Bencic can secure the tie win with victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the women’s singles rubber.

    Federer started his Hopman Cup campaign with a straight sets win over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita.

    And although he was broken in his first game against Khachanov, he quickly bounced back to win the opening set in 29 minutes.

    The second set was an entertaining arm wrestle as both players produced powerful service games.

    But Federer finally cracked the Russian in an epic tiebreak.

    “It was good to play a tiebreaker of this kind early on in the season,” Federer said.

    “Just to get through these nervy situations with the pulse up high, and you’re sweaty, and you’re trying to figure it out.

    “It was a good match overall. I was very happy with my performance. I thought the intensity was great.”

    SOCK QUESTIONABLE

    The United States beat Japan 2-1 at the Hopman Cup after an illness withdrawal by one of the Japanese players, but the win may come at a cost after Jack Sock injured his hip.

    Sock slipped on the court during the first set of his match against Yuichi Sugita, grabbing his hip. He was forced to retire at 1-1 in the second set after losing the first set 7-6 (1).

    Hopman Cup director Paul Kilderry said he thinks Sock will be OK.

    “He has had some treatment on it and he feels he’ll be good to go,” Kilderry said. “He said if felt uncomfortable out there, so I think he was just a little nervous about doing more damage.”

    The US team had already led 1-0 after Japan’s female player, Naomi Osaka, withdrew with an unspecified illness, handing CoCo Vandeweghe a 6-0 6-0 win.

    The Americans were also awarded the Fast4 mixed doubles match 4-0 4-0 because Osaka was not able to compete.

    Osaka’s place in both matches was taken by 19-year-old local player Maddison Inglis, who was woken at 8.30am by tournament officials who told her she would be required to play.

    Vandeweghe teamed up with her coach and 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash in the meaningless Fast4 mixed doubles match against Inglis and Sugita.

    The US and Switzerland play on Thursday in a match that could decide which team advances from the group to Saturday’s final.

    “Thursday night is a sell-out,” Kilderry said. “He (Sock) is confident he’ll be fine.”

    In Group A matches on Wednesday, Canada plays Germany and Australia takes on Belgium. Australia beat Canada and Germany defeated Belgium in the opening round.

    SHARAPOVA WINS, OSTAPENKO OUT

    Maria Sharapova had 11 aces and saved seven of 10 break points to beat Alison Riske 4-6 6-3 6-2 on Tuesday and advance to the Shenzhen Open quarterfinals.

    The five-time major winner will next face Zarina Diyas, who upset third-seeded Zhang Shuai 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-4.

    “Although I would’ve wanted a quick and easy victory, these are the kind of matches that you need, especially with such a short preparation going into the Australian Open,” Sharapova said.

    Earlier, Kristyna Pliskova, the twin of former No 1-ranked Karolina Pliskova, beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-1 6-4.

    Ostapenko, who beat Serena Williams in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, was overwhelmed by Pliskova’s powerful serves.

    “I felt a bit nervous in the second set, but my serve was really working today, which was a big help,” Pliskova said.

    Pliskova will next play Ana Bogdan, who beat Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2.

    Aryna Sabalenka also advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Danka Kovinic, while Timea Babos defeated Magda Linette 6-2 6-1.

    – AAP, AP

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    Andy Murray pulls out of Brisbane International with a hip injury, mulls surgery

    Andy Murray takes part in a warmup session in Brisbane earlier this week. The Scot has withdrawn from the event.

    BRADLEY KANARIS/GETTY IMAGES

    Andy Murray takes part in a warmup session in Brisbane earlier this week. The Scot has withdrawn from the event.

    Andy Murray’s long-term hip injury has forced him out of the Brisbane International, cast serious doubts over his participation in the Australian Open and has him contemplating surgery.

    Former No 1-ranked Murray pulled out of the Brisbane event after failing to practice on Tuesday, two days ahead of his scheduled return to competitive tennis for the first time since July.

    “I came here with every intention of making a strong start to the year, but sadly my team and I don’t feel that I’m where I need to be just yet to compete at the highest level,” the two-time Brisbane International champion said in a statement.

    Garbine Muguruza plays a forehand in her match against Aleksandra Krunic at the Brisbane International.

    BRADLEY KANARIS/GETTY IMAGES

    Garbine Muguruza plays a forehand in her match against Aleksandra Krunic at the Brisbane International.

    His withdrawal was confirmed hours after Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion and women’s top seed, retired from her opening match because of leg cramps.

    READ MORE:
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    Williams loses comeback match
    Federer rusty, but dominant in win
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    Murray heads to Aus on a low

     

    Garbine Muguruza receives medical attention before she was forced to withdraw from the tournament.

    BRADLEY KANARIS/GETTY IMAGES

    Garbine Muguruza receives medical attention before she was forced to withdraw from the tournament.

    Muguruza fell to the court behind the baseline and had treatment on her legs before retiring from her opening match against Aleksandra Krunic while leading in the third set

    Krunic rallied from 5-2 down in the second set, forcing the third in a tiebreaker, and earned a spot in the quarterfinals with a a 5-7 7-6 (3) 1-2 retired result after almost 2 1/2 hours in humid conditions on Pat Rafter Arena.

    “I don’t really cramp a lot, so I’m actually surprised that today my body was like that,” Muguruza said, adding that her calf muscles started to cramp early in the second set. “It’s a shame because I always come here excited about the first tournament, and this one was bad luck, I guess.”

    Alize Cornet reached the quarterfinals with a 6-1 7-5 win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

    The Brisbane International had been Muguruza’s only scheduled tune-up event before the first major of the season gets under way in Melbourne on January 15.

    The 30-year-old Murray is also undecided, planning to stay in Brisbane for a few days before deciding whether or not to contest the Australian Open or fly home.

    Murray said he’d been trying to rest and rehabilitate the problematic right hip, but realised after some practice sets in Australia against leading players that he wasn’t fit for competition and needed to reassess his options.

    “Obviously continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover,” Murray wrote in an Instagram post. “Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as high as I would like which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that.”

    Murray, a five-time Australian Open runner-up, hasn’t played a competitive match since his quarterfinal exit at Wimbledon and his ranking has slipped from No 1 to No 16.

    He’s not the only leading player trying to overcome injury, with top-ranked Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic also trying to recover in time for the Australian Open.

    In men’s first-round matches in Brisbane, US qualifier Michael Mmoh beat Federico Delbonis 6-3 6-4, Chung Hyeon upset fifth-seeded Gilles Muller 6-3 7-6 (1), Kyle Edmund rallied for a 6-7 (5) 7-6 (4) 6-4 win over Denis Shapovalov and Denis Istomin beat No 7-seeded Damir Dzumhur 6-7 (4) 6-3 6-2.


     – AP

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    ‘I might look a bit different’: Carrie Underwood discloses facial injury

    Carrie Underwood has told fans she will look “different” the next time they see her after she received over 40 stitches on her face following a fall at home in November.

    The US country singer, who originally only reported that the fall had left her with a broken wrist, revealed news of her more severe injuries in a post on her fan club website on Monday (local time) , Entertainment Tonight first reported.

    Underwood said she had not been “ready” to talk about her facial injuries, due to the level of “uncertainty as to how things will end up”.

    Carrie Underwood, who originally only reported that the fall had left her with a broken wrist, revealed news of her more ...

    AP

    Carrie Underwood, who originally only reported that the fall had left her with a broken wrist, revealed news of her more severe injuries in a post on her fan club website.

    ​”In addition to breaking my wrist, I somehow managed to injure my face as well. I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but when I came out of surgery the night of my fall, the doctor told Mike [Fisher, Underwood’s ice hockey player husband] that he had put between 40 and 50 stitches in,” Underwood wrote.

    Since the incident, Underwood has posted one new picture of herself on social media – a selfie on her Instagram account promoting her fashion line, Calia by Carrie Underwood, which showed the singer’s face largely hidden by a scarf. It is not known if the picture was taken after the incident.

    Despite the uncertainty, Underwood said she was “grateful that it wasn’t much, much worse”, thanking her friends and family for their support.

    “I am determined to make 2018 amazing and I want to share things with you along the way,” she wrote. “And when I am ready to get in front of a camera, I want you all to understand why I might look a bit different.”

    Underwood, who won the fourth season of American Idol in 2005, spent the holiday break in her husband’s native Canada.

    She shared a snap of Fisher and their son, two-year-old Isaiah, enjoying the snow on her Instagram account on Sunday.

    Fans have reacted to the news of Underwood’s injuries on social media.

     


     – Sydney Morning Herald

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    Recap: ASB Classic tennis first round – day two

    Day two of the main draw as top women’s tennis stars converge on Stanley Street in Auckland. 

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    US ambassador summoned over US President Donald Trump tweet

    US President Donald Trump's first tweet for 2018 was directed at Pakistan.

    EVAN VUCCI/AP

    US President Donald Trump’s first tweet for 2018 was directed at Pakistan.

    The Pakistan government has summoned the United States ambassador in Islamabad to express its serious concerns over a tweet by US President Donald Trump accusing Pakistan of lies and deceit and harbouring terrorists, official sources say.

    “The US ambassador (David Hale) was summoned last night. We expressed our serious concerns over what President (Donald) Trump said in the tweet to the ambassador,” a source from Pakistan’s foreign ministry, who asked not to be named, said.

    An official from the US embassy, who also requested not to be named, confirmed the meeting between Hale and the Pakistani authorities but did not provide any details.

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    ‘You just can’t tweet,’ Trump warned on Iran
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    “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump had written in what was his first tweet of 2018.

     


     – AAP

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    Live: ASB Classic tennis first round – day two

    Day two of the main draw as top women’s tennis stars converge on Stanley Street in Auckland. 

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    New Zealand’s horror road toll will continue unless driver attitudes change – AA

    A young man was killed in a head-on crash near Blackbyre Rd at 9pm on New Year's Eve.

    MARTIN DE RUYTER/STUFF

    A young man was killed in a head-on crash near Blackbyre Rd at 9pm on New Year’s Eve.

    The horrific death toll on New Zealand’s roads in 2017 looks set to continue in 2018 after two people died in separate crashes less than 24 hours into the new year. 

    The holiday season claimed its twelfth victim after one person died in a collision between a motorbike and ute in Masterton about 5.30pm on Monday. 

    A 69-year-old Tauranga man was also killed on Monday in a two-car collision at the Maungatapu Bridge on State Highway 29A at 2.15am. The official holiday period ended at 6am on Wednesday.

    This unassuming stretch of road was the scene of the high-speed fatal crash on the Appleby Highway.

    MARTIN DE RUYTER/STUFF

    This unassuming stretch of road was the scene of the high-speed fatal crash on the Appleby Highway.

    Police have repeatedly urged motorists to take extra care and tired officers have said they are fed up with the “disappointing” behaviour of drivers.

    READ MORE:
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    Another day of fatal car crashes on NZ roads

    Marlborough road policing team leader Barrie Greenall said the number of traffic complaints in his region alone had sky-rocketed since Christmas.

    Police are continuing investigations into a head-on crash that left a young man dead.

    GRANT MATTHEW/STUFF

    Police are continuing investigations into a head-on crash that left a young man dead.

    “Initially drivers were sensible, driving to the conditions and driving patiently and that deteriorated to the state that we had multiple traffic complaints.”

    Greenall said drivers were displaying poor behaviour and impatience on the roads, particularly around Kaikōura.

    “The other behaviour elsewhere, north and south of Kaikōura had not been as good and quite frankly disappointing.”

    Police are also continuing to investigate a high-speed crash on New Year’s Eve that killed a young man and pushed the 2017 road toll up to 380 – the highest since 2009 when 384 people died.

    The collision left debris across the Appleby Highway near Nelson, including children’s belongings spread down the road.

    Nelson Fire and Emergency NZ senior station officer Craig Davies said it was a “horrendous” scene.

    “There was at least 100 metres of debris, a lot of children’s gear, bikes, and bits and pieces.

    “It wasn’t the sort of thing that any emergency services want to see on a New Year’s Eve.” 

    The crash, involving a ute and a car, happened about 9pm on Sunday on a 100kmh stretch of road between Bartlett Rd and Blackbyre Rd. 

    The five people in the car, including two children, were taken to hospital with minor to moderate injuries. A young man in the ute died at the scene.

    Senior Sergeant Blair Hall said police were still investigating and would determine whether any charges would be laid. 

    “It was a high-speed crash, which spread debris over a considerable area.

    “It’s particularly difficult when police have to advise family of a death on New Year’s Eve.”

    AA motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon said New Zealanders needed to be more aware of what they could do to reduce the chances of being involved in a serious crash. 

    Investment in road infrastructure was also enormously important, he said.

    “There is a lot of work that can be done to . . . [improve roads] and if we do that we know that we can half the fatalities and serious injuries.”

    AA researched 100 road fatalities from 2017 and found the drivers in nearly half of them (48 per cent) had not been doing anything extreme.

    “These are good kiwis who are making mistakes,” Noon said.

    More than 100 people who died in 2017 crashes were not wearing seat belts. Noon said about half of those people would still be alive if they were wearing the proper restraints. 

    This year’s road toll was likely to be just as bad unless driver attitudes changed, he said.

    “I sincerely hope that 2018 sees a reversal of the trend that we have seen in the last few years . . . [and] we can start again to make gains as we did in the previous decade.”

    Fifty-five people lost their lives in crashes on Canterbury roads last year, the highest road toll since 2007 when 56 people died. In 2016, 28 people were killed on the region’s roads.


     – Stuff

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    Rhythm and Vines festival-goer’s vomiting was so bad she fell unconscious

    Georgina Grey, right, and her friends thought they would see in the new year at Gisborne's Rhythm and Vines festival. ...

    SUPPLIED

    Georgina Grey, right, and her friends thought they would see in the new year at Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vines festival. Instead, they left early. Grey suffered severe vomiting and a friend was sick with diarrhoea.

    Just hours after setting up a tent at a multi-day music event, Georgina Grey was struck down with vomiting so severe she passed out.

    The 22-year-old Auckland-based student had hoped to see in the new year with friends, and the thousands of others who were drawn to the Rhythm and Vines festival.

    Instead she left on New Year’s Eve morning when someone else in her group of revellers fell ill with diarrhoea.

    Day one of the 15th Rhythm and Vines festival at Waiohika Estate near Gisborne.

    TAYLA OMEARA/STUFF

    Day one of the 15th Rhythm and Vines festival at Waiohika Estate near Gisborne.

    * Were you affected by the bug? Contact newstips@stuff.co.nz

    ​Fifteen other festival-goers were admitted to Gisborne Hospital on January 1 with severe vomiting and diarrhoea, which health authorities feared could have been from norovirus. They have since been discharged.

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    A sea of mud claims jandals as bad weather sweeps over Rhythm and Vines

    A sea of mud covers the walkways at Rhythm and Vines.

    TAYLA OMEARA/STUFF

    A sea of mud covers the walkways at Rhythm and Vines.

    St John Ambulance paramedics treated people in a large tent set up on site, but the number of people presenting with norovirus-like symptoms meant they needed to be isolated to avoid contamination, Tairāwhiti District Health Board Medical Officer of Health Bruce Duncan said at the time.

    While norovirus hasn’t yet been confirmed, the DHB’s priority was avoiding an outbreak.

    “With thousands of people in close proximity, it was a priority to do all we can to prevent a mass outbreak. At this stage, this appears to have been successful,” Duncan said.

    On Tuesday the DHB couldn’t confirm whether the severe stomach bug was caused by norovirus.

    Rhythm and Vines head of department camping Lisa Taylor said the stomach bug could have been contracted anywhere but the festival’s campgrounds.

    “It’s got nothing to do with the campsites or what they’re doing within them. It’s around what [people were] eating and what [they were] drinking, it could have been anything.

    “It’s pretty hard to blame the campsites for 15 people getting sick out of about 13,000. Considering it can happen anywhere, they could’ve contracted it from anywhere.”

    She also finds it “hard to believe” that the conditions of campsites weren’t up to standard. 

    “My cleaners [were] pretty stringent about making sure they put hand sanitisers in on a regular basis.

    “We have cleaners there all the time, who go around the portaloos all day 24/7 pretty much.”

    However, for Grey, it would be the last time she attends Rhythm and Vines, describing the conditions as “disgusting”.

    “It was pretty gross, there is nowhere to wash your hands in the portaloos, there was only hand sanitiser.”

    After setting up their tents on December 28, Grey and her friends attended a bar. Leaving before 10pm, she woke up two hours later feeling severely sick.

    “I was just vomiting so much that I couldn’t sleep, I was hot and cold. I vomited everything out of my system, but kept dry retching.

    “It was so bad that I like passed out from vomiting and woke up outside my tent not knowing what had happened. That happened three times that same night.”

    She thought it might have been caused by a beef sausage she had eaten earlier in the night. But when she wasn’t improving, and a friend was struck down with diarrhoea, they decided to leave.

    “We had been ready to go all year, invited friends that hadn’t been before, then I get there and it was s*** show really.

    “With the rain and being sick and everything else, it wasn’t great.”


     – Stuff

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    Holidays are over, let the congestion along State Highway 1 begin

    Congestion is starting to build along State Highway 1 at Ōtaki where holidaymakers can expect 15 minute delays as they ...

    NZTA

    Congestion is starting to build along State Highway 1 at Ōtaki where holidaymakers can expect 15 minute delays as they make their way home.

    Traffic congestion is once again building for drivers heading back to the Capital as holidays draw to a close.

    The NZ Transport Agency are warning motorists of 30 minute delays along State Highway 1 between Levin and Ōtaki.

    Congestion began building up at midday on Tuesday, with NZTA advising southbound traffic of 15 minute delays between Peka Peka to Ōtaki due to holiday traffic.

    But nearly two hours later, they said “this congestion has mostly eased in the area”.

    READ MORE:
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    Delays on Kāpiti Coast have eased for holidaymakers heading north from Wellington

    Southbound traffic was expected to build throughout the day, and NZTA was predicting congestion to be heaviest between 2.30pm and 6.30pm.

    Northbound holidaymakers will also be affected near the coastal community, with traffic build up expected throughout most of the day.


     – Stuff

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    ‘Rising tide of milk’ threatens to upset balance in dairy market, Rabobank warns

    Fonterra cut its forecast payout for the 2017-18 season to $6.40 per kilo in December, but Rabobank is now more pessimistic.

    TOM PULLAR-STRECKER/STUFF

    Fonterra cut its forecast payout for the 2017-18 season to $6.40 per kilo in December, but Rabobank is now more pessimistic.

    Rising milk production overseas could lower the prices paid to New Zealand farmers, Rabobank has warned in a quarterly report on the dairy industry. 

    Fonterra warned on Friday that its farmers would probably produce 4 per cent less milk this season because of dry weather which had reduced the quality of pastures.

    Rabobank said the dairy industry had turned to higher imports of palm kernel expeller, which is a byproduct of the controversial palm oil industry, to maintain their feed reserves.

    But the bank said the production situation was different overseas where supply was rising.

    READ MORE
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    Fonterra boss’s $8.3m salary thrusts CEO pay in the spotlight
    Fonterra cuts its milk price forecast

    Fonterra cut its forecast payout for milk solids for the 2017-18 season by 35 cents to $6.40 a kilogram in December.

    But Rabobank has now revised its forecast down further to $6.30/kg, because of what it described as a “wave of exportable surpluses” from other countries which it expected to weigh on the global dairy market until the middle of 2018. 

    Rabobank says NZ imports of palm kernel expeller have been high this year as farmers contend with damaged pastures.

    TONY BENNY/STUFF

    Rabobank says NZ imports of palm kernel expeller have been high this year as farmers contend with damaged pastures.

    Those surpluses were expected to be up by 3.2 billion litres between last October and March this year, compared to the six-month period a year prior.   

    Senior dairy industry analyst Michael Harvey said Rabobank did not expect the rising surpluses would completely overwhelm global markets, but said a lot would depend on Europe where supply growth is expected to continue.

    “Supply growth is emerging as the biggest risk for global dairy markets,” with the entire dairy complex witnessing weakness, he said.

    cows

    ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFF

    Dairy policy moves in the European Union and the risk of the United States exiting the North American Free Trade Agreement were among “key factors” that could lead create volatility this year, he said. 

    A “smooth recalibration” of the global dairy market was unlikely, but Rabobank was forecasting a gradual tightening of surplus supplies during the second half of 2018, Harvey said. 

    “China will … play a key role in ensuring global markets remain ‘fairly balanced’, with their import purchasing demand – assisted by lower-than-expected milk supply and some improvements in demand – expected to remain active throughout 2018.”

    Milk production had peaked in New Zealand for the 2017-18 season and there were “clear risks” to milk flows during the summer months, due to the threat of drought.

    “Meanwhile, autumn milk flows are unlikely to match last year’s strong results,” Rabobank’s report warned.


     – Stuff

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    Stormwater not raw sewage closed Takapuna Beach on Auckland’s North Shore, Watercare says

    What was thought to be raw sewage flowing directly onto Takapuna Beach has been found to be wastewater following heavy rain.

    SLSNR

    What was thought to be raw sewage flowing directly onto Takapuna Beach has been found to be wastewater following heavy rain.

    A suspected sewage spill which closed one of Auckland’s most popular swimming beaches was actually dirty stormwater, Watercare says.

    A stream of dirty water initially thought to be sewage flowed down the beach and between the red and yellow swimming flags at Takapuna Beach on the North Shore causing authorities to close the beach on Monday afternoon.

    Watercare spokeswoman Ramari Young said multiple tests of the water on Tuesday morning had shown it had tested negative for wastewater. 

    The SwimSafe website showed the extent of beaches that were unswimmable on Tuesday morning.

    SwimSafe

    The SwimSafe website showed the extent of beaches that were unswimmable on Tuesday morning.

    Young said a stormwater drain overflowed near Takapuna Beach after heavy rains on Monday. 

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    “The wastewater network wouldn’t discharge onto the beach.

    Takapuna Beach remained closed for swimming on Tuesday morning.

    JASON DORDAY/STUFF

    Takapuna Beach remained closed for swimming on Tuesday morning.

    “I understand there was a major downpour in Takapuna yesterday so in fact it was a stormwater pipe and what was coming out of it was stormwater.”

    Surf Life Saving Northern Regions Operations Manager Adam Wooler initially said the spill was due to a fault in the wastewater network.

    “I think the raw sewage was a one-off, and the issue has been tackled,” Wooler said earlier on Tuesday. 

    This was immediately reflected on the SafeSwim website, with the water quality labelled “high risk” at Takapuna.

    The website indicated that the beach would be clear for swimming again by Tuesday evening.

    Young said there were designated overflow points for sewage but those were alarmed, gated, and the site along Takapuna Beach where the suspected spill had happened wasn’t one of them. 

    At Takapuna Beach on Tuesday afternoon, a number of people were in the water.

    Auckland local Lua Mika said he hadn’t been aware of the issues at the beach. 

    “I didn’t know it was that bad. When she [the life guard] said it was at your own risk, you can still swim if you want, when they said that we were thinking well, its not that bad,” he said.  

    “I just assume that every beach in New Zealand, in Auckland, is all good to swim in.” 

    Mika planned to grab the kids and leave after becoming aware of the risk.

    North Shore resident Peggy Fahy was aware of the SafeSwim website and had checked the website before coming down to the beach for a walk.

    “I wouldn’t go in the water,” she said. 

    “I was just pointing out to my daughter… there’s a risk to the very young and very old and open sores. Imagine the bacteria that can get in, the havoc it could cause. It could go rampant.”

    Fahy said she couldn’t believe that people were still swimming, despite the risk. 

    Meanwhile several other nearby beaches were also closed due to pollution caused by heavy rain.

    Auckland Council has warned that the majority of beaches on the east coast of Auckland’s North Shore, are too polluted for swimming.

    Several other popular swimming spots along the coast were also deemed un-swimmable – due to high levels of pollutants in run-off after Monday’s heavy rain event.

    SLSNR-patrolled beaches Mairangi Bay, Long Bay, Takapuna Beach and Red Beach were at a “high-risk” on Tuesday morning.

    Life savers would not put out the red and yellow flags at those locations and advise beach goers of the risk, Wooler said. 

    They will monitor the website and put out the flags if and when the water quality changes to low-risk. 

    Several other popular swimming spots along the coast, which were not patrolled by SLSNR, were also deemed un-swimmable.

    These were Waiake Bay, Milford, Milford and Narrowneck beaches. 

    SafeSwim’s technical lead Martin Neal said the beaches were deemed high-risk based on a number of factors. 

    “We’ve got predictive models running that respond to various environmental factors that we know are associated with poor water quality.

    “Things like tides, wind and the big one is rainfall.”

    From 2pm on Monday until the early evening, there was up to 38mm of rain in Mairangi Bay.

    “What that does is causes a lot of diffuse pollution to be washed into streams and into beaches.”

    For more information, visit the SafeSwim website.

    The council has been contacted for comment. 


     – Stuff

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