NSW police find hundreds of birds allegedly used in illegal cockfighting in Sydney’s south-west


Hundreds of fighting cockerels, roosters and chickens have been seized after a raid on a property in Sydney’s south-west, as part of an ongoing investigation into an illegal cockfighting syndicate.

Police and RSPCA inspectors found more than 540 birds as well as cockfighting paraphernalia in Horsley Park yesterday.

Razor sharp blades that would be attached to the birds’ natural spurs during a fight between the animals were also discovered, the RSPCA said.

A man at the property was spoken to by police before being released.

Police and RSPCA inspectors found more than 540 fighting cockerels, roosters and chickens.(

Supplied: NSW Police

)

RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said information in the lead up to the raid suggested there would be 40 birds on the property, so inspectors were shocked when they found hundreds of animals instead.

“We understood there to be about 40 fighting roosters, you can imagine being confronted by 540 fighting roosters,” he said.

“These birds were undoubtedly destined for a very gruesome death. It is an abhorrent barbaric practice that simply needs to stop.”

A knife blade held in a man's hand.
This blade makes a bird into a “lethal weapon” during a cockfight, the RSPCA said.(

ABC News

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Mr Coleman said it would be “near on impossible” to rehome the birds which are born to fight, and can be aggressive to humans as well as each other.

“We’ll do our best with the younger birds that we’ve managed to secure. But the reality is most of these birds will be humanely euthanised, once this investigation concludes,” he said.

More than 70 roosters were discovered in December last year at a property on Camden Valley Way in Catherine Field, and several cockerels were taken into veterinary care with serious injuries.

Thirty-four men detained at Catherine Field were issued a court attendance notice for promoting, organising or attending an animal fight and are due to appear before Moss Vale Local Court on April 1.

A 56-year-old man was taken into the custody of the Department of Home Affairs regarding his visa status, police said.

In that raid, police also seized metal spikes, spurs and other cockfighting paraphernalia it will be alleged were attached to the birds before they were forced to fight.

A row of cages wtih water bottles handing at the front.
No-one has claimed the birds found on the property.(

Supplied: NSW Police

)

Vision of the seized material showed various blades labelled with names that included “Mexican Slasher”, “Socket Knife”, “Half Bayonet”, “Jagger” and “Flipping Fork Knife”.

Over $100,000 in cash and several electronic devices were also found, police said.

At the time, the Organised Crime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Martin Fileman, said the scale of organised animal cruelty had not been seen in two decades.

“By getting enjoyment out of livestock killing each other and making money out of it, it’s quite disgraceful,” he said.

Rings on a wall
The raid was part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged syndicate.(

Supplied: NSW Police

)

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DHS chief Mayorkas tours border facility, says hundreds of migrant kids still coming over every day


Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday toured facilities at the southern border, touting how the Biden administration has emptied Border Patrol facilities — but warned that officials are seeing hundreds of unaccompanied children cross the border each day.

Mayorkas toured the facility in Donna, Texas, which had been packed with more than 4,000 migrants early on in the crisis — with migrants seen crammed into small pods.

Since then, the administration has shifted many of the children in those centers into the custody of Health and Human Services, where the number of migrants in care has ballooned from 12,000 to more than 22,000 in just a few months.

KAMALA HARRIS CALLS FOR ‘IMMEDIATE RELIEF’ FOR NORTHERN TRIANGLE IN VIRTUAL MEETING WITH MEXICAN PRESIDENT

But the administration has marked it as a win, saying that children are better being cared for by HHS than by Border Patrol agents. The administration earlier this week released pictures of empty areas, contrasting it with those from March.

Mayorkas told reporters that they’ve made  “dramatic progress” but stressed that “the challenge remains,” and said that they intended to keep current capacity to cope with future influxes.

“We’re down to about 1,830 people per day right now,” he said, referring to encounters at the border. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing a fairly high population of migrant children are coming across — 270 a day right now, the last 21 days,” he said.

There were more than 172,000 migrant encounters at the border in March, including a record number of migrant children, and similar numbers are expected for April. It overwhelmed facilities and left Border Patrol releasing migrants into the interior without notices to appear in court.

DHS RELEASES IMAGES OF EMPTY BORDER PATROL FACILITY AS CHILD MIGRANTS MOVE TO HHS SHELTERS 

The Biden administration has refused to call the surge at the border a crisis, calling it instead a “challenge” and blaming it on a mix of the Trump administration’s lack of preparedness and “root causes” in Central America like poverty, violence and climate.

Critics have blamed the Biden administration’s refusal to apply Title 42 health protections — which allow migrants to be quickly removed — to children and some migrant families, while also blaming its rolling back of Trump-era policies like border wall construction and the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).

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Mayorkas has faced pressure from activists who have called for him to end Title 42 completely. He said that they are making exceptions for some vulnerable people on Title 42 — but indicated that the program would be in place until the pandemic was over.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday met virtually with the Mexican president and called for “immediate relief” for Northern Triangle countries as part of an effort to resolve those root causes.

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Zulu war of succession: Hundreds of warriors escort Queen Mantfombi’s body through Johannesburg amid claims that she was poisoned by rivals after King Goodwill Zwelithini’s death



Mourners draped in leopardskin have paraded in honour of Zulu Queen Mantfombi, rumoured to have been poisoned after she was named successor to the late king.

Hundreds of warriors with cowhide shields escorted the queen’s body through the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday ahead of a private funeral held in her ancestral lands today.

The pageantry masks a bitter war of succession being waged within the palace among King Goodwill Zwelithini’s five surviving wives and 28 children – not just for the title but for the vast wealth and land which goes with it.

There have been lurid allegations, including that the king’s will was forged and that Mantfombi was assassinated.

Princess Thembi, one of Zwelithini’s sisters, denied the claims last week, complaining to reporters: ‘People think we’re murderers.’ 

Mantfombi, known as the ‘great queen,’ was named interim successor in the king’s will after his death on March 12. 

She died unexpectedly in hospital of an unspecified illness on April 30. There is no evidence of any foul play. 

It had been expected that her eldest son 47-year-old Prince Misuzulu would be next line.

But in a dramatic turn of events, Zwelithini’s first wife, Queen Sibongile Dlamini, went to challenge the king’s will and demand recognition as his only legitimate spouse. 

A handwriting expert has reportedly been hired to try to prove that the king’s signature was forged.

The first wife, Sibongile Dlamini, and her daughters by Zwelithini are taking their legal challenge to Pietermaritzburg High Court in a legal battle that is captivating South Africa.

Sibongile Dlamini is demanding half of his estate, as well as sole recognition that she is the only legal wife of the late king.  

Although the title of Zulu king does not bestow executive power, the charismatic Zwelithini had moral influence over more than 11 million Zulus, nearly a fifth of South Africa’s population. 

The monarch also enjoys an annual taxpayer-funded budget of more than £3.5 million and controls around a third of the land in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, charging rent.

On Wednesday, hundreds of mourners paraded through the Johannesburg suburb of Hillbrow to accompany Mantfombi’s body, singing and dancing as they made their way to the mortuary under a clear autumn sky.

Zulu regiments known as ‘amaButho’, donned traditional leopardskin ponchos and headbands, wielding clubs and shields made of animal hide.

Young women wore colourful miniskirts and beads, while their elderly married counterparts followed in head wraps and patterned shawls.

‘Our wounds had not healed from the passing of the king, now the queen has followed,’ said mourner Jabu Mangena, dressed in black and wearing a broad-brimmed red hat.

‘We will remember her as a woman who was proud of her culture and heritage,’ she said. 

Mourners will accompany the queen’s remains to KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace in the southeastern town of Nongoma, around 300 miles from Johannesburg, where she will be buried privately on Thursday.

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Hundreds of sheep dead after truck rollover outside Horsham in western Victoria


Police say around 250 sheep are dead, with some euthanased on the side of the road, after a multideck truck carrying around 600 head overturned this morning south-west of Horsham.

WARNING: This article contains images that readers may find upsetting

The truck, which was travelling north along Noradjuha-Horsham Road, lost control and overturned while travelling through an S-bend south of Three Bridges Road.

“Some of [the sheep] were thrown from the truck and at the moment we are in the process of releasing the rest of them,” Horsham Police Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Mick Ryan said.

“Investigations are still ongoing, we’re going to be here for quite some time.

“We won’t know until we’ve had a further chat with the driver … and establish what he’s said happened.

“The first priority is to rescue the sheep that are alive and get rid of the ones that are deceased.”

Department of Primary Industry staff and rangers from Horsham Rural City Council were assisting to euthanase the sheep.

The 31-year-old truck driver from Echuca sustained minor injuries and was conveyed to Horsham Hospital where he will be kept overnight for observation and is expected to be released tomorrow. 

The Noradjuha-Horsham Road has reopened after being closed in both directions for most of the day.

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Manchester United fans force Liverpool match to be POSTPONED after hundreds of protestors BROKE IN to Old Trafford to demand Glazers sell the club, before policeman is slashed with bottle in violent clashes outside the stadium



Hundreds of Manchester United supporters stormed the pitch at Old Trafford ahead of their game against Liverpool in protest at the club’s American owners, the Glazer family, before clashing with police in ugly scenes.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed two officers have been left injured with one officer being ‘attacked with a bottle and sustaining a significant slash wound to his face, requiring emergency hospital treatment.’

The local derby match has now been postponed, with broadcaster Sky Sports confirming it will go ahead at a later date, which is yet to be decided. 

There were clashes as fans tried to break police lines outside the stadium, with officers drawing batons to keep the crowds back and bottles and other projectiles thrown. A line of riot police, backed by horses, pushed the crowds back from the area where the players were set to enter the ground. 

The storming of Old Trafford came after many more blockaded the entrance to the Lowry Hotel where the United players and staff are staying and use each weekend prior to a home fixture.

Representatives from the two teams and the Premier League came together to convene and discuss the situation at 4pm, after which it was determined that for safety reasons the fixture could not press ahead.

Both teams were held back at their team hotel by Greater Manchester Police, while match referee Michael Oliver was also delayed in accessing the ground. 

At around 6pm local reports in Manchester confirmed the gathered crowds which remained at the Lowry hotel had begun ‘thinning,’ though one supporter was reported to have been taken away by police causing uproar among fans.

The Manchester Evening News reported that the remaining fans ‘got very angry and started throwing bottles,’ before police ‘got kitted up in full riot kit.’

Earlier, at the height of the protests, section of the crowd had shouted ‘we want Glazers out’ and ‘United, United’ as they ran onto the pitch. Outside the Lowry, others chanted ‘we decide when you play’. 

One protester was filmed picking up a camera tripod from a pitchside media position inside the stadium and hurling it onto the pitch. 

Others tried to get down the tunnel, while another took a corner flag and some swung from the crossbar of one of the goals. Many were clutching beer bottles. 

Later, television footage from inside the ground showed a smaller number of fans still inside the stadium. Some clambered over the seating to taunt stewards before police moved in.  

Thousands had assembled at an organised protest outside Old Trafford against the Glazer family and their efforts to sign United up to the European Super League. 

Officials at Old Trafford also convened an emergency meeting to determine whether any Covid-19 protocols had been breached following the stadium invasion. Fans were not due to be in attendance at the game.

Footage in the aftermath started to circulate on social media, appearing to show the officer within Old Trafford who had makeshift stitches placed over a nasty, bleeding cut on his face.

The man could also be seen to have a bruised eye, and was understood to have been hit by a bottle thrown by supporters.

Just after what should have been the scheduled kick-off time, police succeeded in pushing back the crowds and clearing the Old Trafford forecourt, while the residue of banners, flares and protest items could be seen strewn across the floor.

United were one of six Premier League clubs who initially signed up to the doomed Super League project last month. They all withdrew 48 hours later following a furious backlash from the wider football community.

Joel Glazer made an apology to supporters for signing up to the doomed Super League project but many United fans carried placards at the protest reading ‘apology not accepted’.  

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Hundreds urged to get tested in Melbourne after ‘strong and unexpected’ COVID-19 wastewater fragments


Victoria’s Health Department is urging hundreds of Victorians to get coronavirus tests after “strong and unexpected” COVID-19 fragments were found in the state’s wastewater.

Authorities have contacted 246 people in Melbourne’s western and north-western suburbs to get COVID-19 tests “as a precaution”.

“This additional action is being taken due to the strength of the wastewater detection and because a known positive COVID-19 case, from flight QF778, has been in Victoria in the past 14 days,” the department said in a statement late Thursday afternoon.

Authorities said the 246 people who were contacted included four primary close contacts of that case and 242 recently returned red and orange zone travel permit holders.

It’s understood the four close contacts were on the same flight from Perth as the positive case. The remaining 242 had all travelled from the Perth and Peel regions. 

“All of these primary close contacts have recently been tested and have returned negative results. All of the 246 people are being asked to test again out of an abundance of caution,” the department said.

Coronavirus fragments have now been detected in four additional catchments in Melbourne’s western, northern, north-western, and outer eastern suburbs.

There have been repeat detections in Benalla.

These are in addition to viral fragment detections reported over recent days in other catchments in the eastern, western, north-western and outer northern suburbs.

The state recorded no new local cases on Thursday and two new overseas-acquired cases in hotel quarantine, out of 15,656 test results.

Wastewater detections

The Health Department said it was most likely that new detections were due to a person or people shedding the virus after the infection period, or due to a person living in or travelling through the area in the early active infectious phase. 

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Hundreds gather to remember Gold Coast mother Kelly Wilkinson at twilight vigil


Hundreds of mourners gathered for a candlelit vigil to honour the 27-year-old mother-of-three on the Gold Coast on Monday evening.

An emotional local State Member of Parliament Sam O’Connor, who helped organise the vigil, read a statement on behalf of the family, describing Ms Wilkinson as someone who would help others regardless of events in her own life.

“The third of four girls, Kelly stood out as a protector and one who was never afraid to push boundaries. The kind of woman who went from riding motorbikes on cliffs to wearing dresses and flaunting her favourite jewellery.

“She made everyone fall in love with her antics.”

Ms Wilkinson’s devotion to her children was at the forefront of the family’s recollections.

“She always said being a mother was the best job in the world and she loved nothing more than watching the kids play,” Mr O’Connor read from the statement.

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Hundreds gather to remember murdered Gold Coast mother




In an emotional tribute, they lit candles and wiped away tears, as community leaders praised her as a mother, a daughter and a friend. Michelle Rafferty reports.

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Crowd limit at Melbourne Anzac Day service sees hundreds watch from outside Shrine of Remembrance


People have lined a perimeter fence around Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance to watch the dawn service as COVID-19 restrictions limited the event to just 1,400 attendees.

The crowd is still larger than the 2020 service, where tight restrictions saw people stand distanced in driveways and front yards to commemorate Australia’s service men and women.

But it was more subdued than years past, with the cap on capacity in place and a requirement to check in to the event.

Similar crowd limits are in place across the rest of the country, with physically distanced seating and QR codes a feature at most of the official services.

Many still turned up to the Shrine of Remembrance on the clear Melbourne morning but had to view the service from outside a fence.

Many who stood behind the perimeter expressed disappointment, although they were grateful to be able to pay their respects.

“You’re standing here paying tribute and respect to Australia and the men who gave their lives, for the freedom of Australia and this doesn’t represent freedom,” attendee Jonathan Vaughan said, as he grabbed the fence.

“Given what we’ve gone through and now that we’ve come this far I don’t feel this brings us close together.”

Sisters Bronwyn Casey and Michelle Reid regularly attend the service and said this year lacked atmosphere.

“It makes it a bit sad because there’s not enough people around and you’ve got all this fenced off,” Ms Casey said.

Ms Reid said the pair didn’t register to attend but were aware there would be some restrictions in place.

“But I didn’t realise there would be barriers that would keep us so far back,” Ms Reid said.

“I think a lot of older people who normally would come would find the registering difficult.

“They’re not tech savvy so it restricts a certain age group.”

RSL Victoria chief executive, Jamie Twidale, said it was amazing for the crowd to be able to gather at all.

“After 2020 when nobody could get out commemorate at all. And unfortunately, that’s happening in Perth,” he said.

“And how lucky are we in Victoria, that that’s happening today.”

Many veterans now in the most vulnerable age group for COVID-19, and a focus has been on keeping them safe from the virus.

Mr Twidale said it was “unfortunate that we’ve had to do it this way this year”.

He said he wanted to thank people who gathered at the fence for paying their respects.

“And it matters not how you commemorate,” he said.

“What matters is that you do and the fact they’ve come in and stood in the dark is really testament to the Australian spirit.”

The caps at the official Anzac Day events have come into sharp focus this year in contrast to the 85,000 seats available at the traditional AFL clash between Essendon and Collingwood in the afternoon.

Some veterans had urged players to boycott the game in light of what they said was a double standard.

Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said allowing just 1,400 people at the dawn service, compared to 85,000 people at the MCG, “just doesn’t make sense”.

“These are veterans who have served their country with honour, they put their lives on the line for Australia, and yet they were separated by a steel fence from participating in the dawn service this morning,” he said.

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Hundreds return to Dawn Service in Alice Springs



AT Alice Springs Garden Cemetery, the people of Mparntwa, Alice Springs had emerged by first light to commemorate Anzac Day in a new location this year.

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