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Up to a million fish have died in an Australian river in “an ecological catastrophe on an international scale”.

Critically endangered Murray cod, some up to 100-years-old, were among the fish carcasses to line the Darling River in New South Wales (NSW) this week.

There were three other mass fish deaths around the Christmas period in the same region, which is a key breeding area for endangered fish species.

Algal blooms, which can be caused by agricultural chemicals, have been blamed for the deaths, but locals say corruption and greed are the reasons.

A video of people holding up the dead fish from the latest incident has gone viral as local farmers and the community blame the state government’s mismanagement of the Murray-Darling Basin.

There have been four mass fish deaths since Christmas on the Darling River. Pic: Jeremy Buckingham
Image:
There have been four mass fish deaths since Christmas on the Darling River. Pic: Jeremy Buckingham

Dick Arnold and Rob McBride held up two massive fish as they accused the government and cotton growers for the “man made environmental disaster” which they said made them feel like crying.

Mr McBride said: “This is nothing to do with drought, this is a man-made disaster.

“This is the result of draining the Menindee Lakes twice in four years, killing the system.”

He added that 250,000 livestock and millions of native animals are at risk from the increasingly toxic river water.

His daughter, Kate McBride, who is also a farmer, added: “They have survived that many droughts, and the highs and lows of it all, but the one thing they haven’t been able to survive is this mismanagement.”

Niall Blair, NSW’s fisheries and regional water minister, blamed the deaths on drought.

“Unfortunately this is the sort of thing we do see during drought,” he said.

“We’re looking at the operating rules around the Menindee Lakes and what we can do.”

He was accused of ignoring locals after he sped past a group waiting for him on a boat with a police escort, but said he met others.

Upriver the basin is about 20% full but in the lower Darling River levels are as low as 5%, a spokeswoman for the Murray Darling Basin Authority said.

The state’s independent MP, Jeremy Buckingham, travelled to the area after the farmers’ video went viral, and said he vomited when he saw the scale of the deaths.

Locals accused the government of mismanaging the Murray-Darling River Basin. Pic: Jeremy Buckingham
Image:
Locals accused the government of mismanaging the Murray-Darling River Basin. Pic: Jeremy Buckingham

“The huge extraction of water for big irrigators is literally choking the life out of the system downriver and leaving stagnant, blue-green algae infested dregs for everyone else,” he said.

“It is an ecological catastrophe on an international scale.”

Richard Kingsford, director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of NSW, said the latest incident probably “killed up to a million fish”.

He said the lakes being drained make such disasters more likely.

“It’s a classic example of nature biting back,” he said.

:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com

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Deloitte Football Money League 2019: Real Madrid richest ahead of Barcelona and Manchester United | Business News

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Real Madrid have replaced Manchester United as the world’s wealthiest club, according to the latest Deloitte Football Money League.

Manchester United slipped into third spot after generating £590m – representing a comparatively low two per cent year-on-year increase.

Meanwhile, neighbours Manchester City retained their fifth-place ranking with revenues of £504m – an 11 per cent rise from 2016/17 figures.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich ranked fourth for a second year running with £557m, while Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain climbed one place into sixth spot on £480m.

Premier League leaders Liverpool recorded the biggest income increase from clubs in the top 10, with profits soaring 25 per cent to £455m, while Chelsea also achieved an impressive 22 per cent growth with £448m.

Manchester United have slipped to third
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Manchester United have slipped to third

Arsenal (£389m) dropped three places into ninth spot after missing out on Champions League football for the first time in 20 years, but narrowly trumped north London rivals Tottenham (£379m).

Everton (£189m), West Ham (£175m) and Newcastle (£179m) also made the top 20, with Rafa Benitez’s side recording a chart-topping 108 per cent increase in revenue – up from £86m in 2016/17.

Other clubs to make the annual index include Juventus (£350m), Borussia Dortmund (£281m), Atletico Madrid (£270m), Inter Milan (£249m), Roma (£222m), Schalke (£216m) and AC Milan (£184m).

Deloitte Football Money League 2019
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Deloitte Football Money League 2019

Dan Jones, head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Real Madrid’s outstanding financial performance in 2017/18 is built on their long history of success on the pitch, most recently three consecutive Champions League titles.

“This has enabled the club to continue to drive commercial revenue as the appetite to partner with Europe’s most successful clubs remains stronger than ever.”

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Five people killed in shooting at Florida bank | US News

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Five people have been killed at a bank in Florida after a gunman opened fire.

The gunman, identified as Zephan Xaver, 21, called police after firing shots inside the SunTrust bank in Sebring, Florida, and eventually surrendered.

Karl Hoglund, Sebring police chief, said the shooting happened at about 12.30pm ET (17.30GMT).

Xaver called police to tell them he had fired shots, according to authorities.

Negotiators failed to convince him to leave the bank, at which point the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team entered the building and continued to speak to him.

He surrendered and is in custody. His motive is not clear.

Mr Hoglund said: “Today has been a tragic day in our community.

“We’ve suffered significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime.”

No information has been released about the victims.

CNN reported there had been no danger to the surrounding areas.

Ron DeSantis, Florida governor, said he was asking the state department of law enforcement to help local police.

Sue Malliano, a spokesman for the SunTrust bank, said: “We are working closely with officials and seeking to take care of everyone affected at our Sebring, Florida branch.”

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Troops return to Bulawayo with a vengeance | World News

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A week of protest, violence and national trauma in Zimbabwe began last week in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo.

It was here on the morning of 14 January that protesters took to the streets after President Emerson Mnangagwa’s administration raised fuel prices by 150%.

Seized with fury, demonstrators blocked roads and occupied neighbourhoods – and their protests would lead to city-wide looting and rioting.

Shops and business in large swathes of the city were destroyed or stripped bare. I asked the owner of one supermarket in an area called Nkeita what had happened to the police.

“They came late, they were late. Everything was gone when they got here,” he replied.

Business owners told me that they were abandoned by the police and the army for the first three or four days.

Former MP David Coltart thinks the authorities hand over Bulawayo to thugs
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Former MP David Coltart thinks the authorities handed over Bulawayo to thugs

Government critics, like lawyer and former opposition MP David Coltart, think that the authorities decided to hand over this independent-minded community to thugs and criminal elements.

More from Emmerson Mnangagwa

“I have seen the destruction of food outlets on an industrial scale.

“Having represented the people of Bulawayo for many years, I cannot believe the people themselves would have done this because they would have harmed themselves.

“Some 80% of food outlets in working class areas were destroyed. The capacity of these businesses to open again was effectively ended.”

Mass protests and violence in Zimbabwe started in the second largest city, Bulawayo
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Mass protests and violence in Zimbabwe started in the second largest city, Bulawayo

Zimbabwe’s president promised to prosecute members of the army or the police who were found guilty of misconduct.

Yet it is members of the public in Bulawayo who are now being rounded up and arrested as the authorities re-assert their control in the city.

Lawyers told us 500 people have been detained in the past few days. The city’s prisons, “are packed like sardines,” said one.

Noxola Maphosa's brother was arrested for trying to organise a protest but they keep trying to delay the trial date
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Noxola Maphosa’s brother was arrested for trying to organise a protest but they keep trying to delay the trial date

We found one woman called Noxolo Maphosa, outside the city’s stately magistrate’s court, carrying a toothbrush and some basic suppliers for her brother, Josephat.

Josephat Ngulube ran as a candidate in the last election but he was arrested over the weekend for trying to organise a protest.

“Now I don’t know what is going to happen to him,” said Ms Maphosa.

“I am just waiting for them to tell us what is going to happen but I don’t have hope. I thought we would get a trial date today but they keep on postponing. I am losing hope.”

The police and the members of the military are back on the streets and they are making their presence felt.

I heard and saw evidence of systematic raids and beatings carried out in the city’s suburbs.

Residents in an area called Marbutweni told us that troops turned up after 8pm on Tuesday and went door to door, administering beatings to men over the age of 14.

Clive showed the bruises from being beaten by troops
Image:
Clive showed his bruises from being beaten by troops
Clive said the troops asked him where he was coming from and nine men beat him with batons and more
Image:
Clive said the troops asked him where he was coming from and nine men beat him with batons and more

A resident called Clive showed us a series of blue marks and bruises covering his back, then turned around to address us in a quivering voice.

“I met those guys. ‘Where you coming from?’ (they said).

“I said ‘I am going home. It is after dark’.

“(They said) lie down and then nine guys were hitting me. Baton sticks and everything. Come on, is this Zimbabwe?”

We were given more testimony from a man called John, whose face was badly swollen.

“I was asking, ‘what did I do wrong?’ But they were continuously beating me and I don’t know what to do now because I am scared,” he told us.

These are arbitrary and unjustified attacks in a country led by a man – Emerson Mnangagwa – who is trying to sell it as a modern democracy. The people of Bulawayo are unlikely to forgive.

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