Crocodiles latest danger for Australian flood towns

Waves crash against pumps at a flooded gas station in Queensland, Australia March 9, 2018 in this image obtained from social media. (Kieran Volpe via Reuters)
Updated 11 March 2018
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Crocodiles latest danger for Australian flood towns

MELBOURNE: Receding floodwaters in the northern Australian state of Queensland have revealed a new danger - crocodiles.
The unwelcome visitors have made their way into the town of Ingham towards the country's north-east tip, according to several residents' photos posted on social media, after four days of torrential rain broke river banks, covered pastureland and cut off towns.
Toby Millyard, crocodile researcher at Australia Zoo in Queensland, said the reptiles were known to use flood waters in the region to travel to different areas and search for food.
"Some crocodiles love it when it rains and they use the water's currents to travel; they're very smart animals," Millyard said in a phone interview. "But they're very easy to stay away from. As long as you're not in the water or standing by the edge, then you should be fine."
On Sunday morning, a group of school students and teachers stranded by floods were rescued from a isolated campsite south of the town of Tully, a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) spokesman said.
Queensland state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told media on Sunday that it would take several weeks to determine the full extent of the damage, especially on banana and sugar cane crops.
The Queensland state government has declared the area a "disaster" zone, while the Insurance Council of Australia has declared it a "catastrophe", which means that insurance claims will be fast-tracked. (Reporting by Alana Schetzer in MELBOURNE; Editing by Michael Perry)


US Coast Guard seizes $500 million worth of cocaine

Updated 35 min 40 sec ago
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US Coast Guard seizes $500 million worth of cocaine

  • Officers arrested 49 suspects on the boats that were being used to transport the drugs
  • Officials say there are indications that the use of cocaine is on the increase

US authorities seized about 18.5 tons of cocaine with a street value of $500 million in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the US Coast Guard said on Friday.
The cocaine was taken off the Coast Guard cutter James in the Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday after it was confiscated from 15 drug smuggling vessels in the international waters, the Coast Guard said.
Multiple US Coast Guard cutters helped seize the drugs of Mexico, Central and South America, it said.
Some 49 suspects were also arrested and will be prosecuted in southern Florida, the Miami Herald reported.
Cocaine remains one of the most popular illegal drugs in the United States, where most of the world’s cocaine is consumed, according to federal officials.
“There are troubling early signs that cocaine use and availability is on the rise in the United States for the first time in nearly a decade,” the US State Department said in a global narcotics trade report in 2017.
Potential global cocaine output reached 1,410 tons in 2016, the highest level ever estimated, the United Nations said in a report on drugs and crime in 2018.