TIME Surfing

The Surfer Who Fought a Shark on TV Donates Huge Sum to Fellow Surfer Who Got Mauled

Mick Fanning gives away his entire appearance fee from a TV show to a surfer undergoing surgery on both legs

Australian surfing champ Mick Fanning knows how fortunate he is to have escaped a shark attack unscathed, which is why he donated just under $55,000 (or $75,000 in Australian currency) to a fellow surfer who wasn’t as lucky.

The sum is the entire television appearance fee Fanning earned from his recent interview with Australia’s Channel Nine show 60 Minutes, and he is giving it to Matthew Lee, the Guardian reports. Lee, 32, had to undergo surgery on both legs after being mauled by a great white shark in waters near the Australian town of Ballina last month.

Three-time world champion Fanning knows that risk better than most after narrowly escaping not one, but two shark attacks recently. The 34-year-old had to punch away a shark that attacked him during a televised competition in South Africa, and was then forced to scramble to safety after spotting another of the oceanic predators in his New South Wales hometown while shooting the 60 Minutes segment the following week — his first time back in the water after the first attack.

Lee’s family thanked Fanning and Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell — who pledged a further $25,000 for the injured surfer’s treatment — in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Mick Fanning and David Gyngell,” the statement read. “No words can describe how grateful we are for the generous donation.”

[Guardian]

TIME Australia

Another Australian Surfer Fends Off Shark Attack

Great white shark
Getty Images

The 52-year-old sustained bites to his leg and arm

Despite Shark Week having ended weeks ago, the sea-bound predators seem reluctant to give up the spotlight. On July 19, a great white was caught on live television going after Australian surfing champ Mick Fanning. The 34-year-old was able fend of the shark without injury, but the incident seems to have done little to diminish the enthusiasm of its fellow great whites.

Craig Ison was attacked by a shark off the New South Wales coast early Friday. The 52-year-old Australian surfer (and former boxer, according to media reports) was able to rebuff the shark with a few blows, but didn’t prove quite as fortunate as Fanning, sustaining bites his leg and left arm.

The shark, believed to be a great white, left a 16-inch bite-mark on Ison’s leg and board. He was taken to a nearby hospital for surgery.

[CNN]

TIME Australia

Australian Leader Urged to Reveal What Happened to Vietnamese Refugee Boat

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers a lecture on "Our Common Challenges: Strengthening Security in the Region" in Singapore
Edgar Su — REUTERS Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers a lecture titled "Our Common Challenges: Strengthening Security in the Region" in Singapore on June 29, 2015

A significant number of children were thought to have been aboard

Australian officials are being accused of breaking international law after 42 Vietnamese asylum seekers were allegedly sent back to Vietnam after arriving in Australian waters by boat.

A small wooden vessel was spotted off of Australia’s northwest coast last week, the BBC reports. It was apparently carrying the asylum seekers, whose status is currently unknown.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has refused to reveal what happened to the migrants, simply stating that the Australian government stance was to “do what we have always done, and that is to act in accordance with Australia’s interest.” Canberra has recently adopted a policy of “tow-backs,” forcing migrant boats away when they enter national waters.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who belongs to the Australia Greens party, has called for greater transparency in the case, the BBC reports.

“Handing these people directly over to the Vietnamese Government constitutes refoulement, which is a breach of the Refugee Convention,” she said in a statement.

Australia courted controversy recently with allegations that officials paid people smugglers bound for its shores to turn around. Abbott has refused to comment on the claims, which if confirmed would amount to participation in human trafficking, say human-rights activists.

[BBC]

TIME Australia

Man Killed in Shark Attack as Daughter Looks On

The pair were diving for scallops

A man was killed by a shark off the coast of Australia while his adult daughter witnessed the attack from their boat.

The pair were diving for scallops off the state of Tasmania, the Associated Press reports. The woman returned to the boat with some of the catch, and when she looked back for her father, she saw a large shark attacking him.

A 15-ft.-long great white shark had recently been seen in the area, and it’s possible the same animal was responsible for the man’s death.

While sharks are commonly seen in Australia’s waters, they only account for an average of two fatalities per year in the country.

[AP]

TIME Surfing

Surfer’s Mom Describes Watching Her Son Fight Off Shark Attack

Australian surfer Mick Flanning is pursued by a shark, in Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa on July 19, 2015.
World Surf League—AP In this image made available by the World Surf League, Australian surfer Mick Flanning is pursued by a shark, in Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa on July 19, 2015.

Mick Fanning's mom said she was terrified when her son was attacked

The mother of three-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning revealed Monday that “time stood still” as she watched live TV coverage of her son being attacked by a shark.

Elizabeth Osborne saw her son punch the predator in its back after the shark grabbed his foot rope and pulled him underwater.

“I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Osborne told NBC News’ Australian partner Channel 7, after the incident at the J-Bay Open in South Africa on Sunday.

“I saw this big fin, and Mick scrambling and turning around,” she said. “And then he went down and I realized then…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME remembrance

The World Marks the First Anniversary of the MH17 Aviation Disaster

One year on, investigations into the tragedy are still ongoing

Friday marks one year since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

The Boeing 777 was on route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it crashed in pro-Russian rebel-held territory on July 17, 2014.

The Dutch Safety Board is due to release the final report into the cause of the crash in October, reports the BBC. It is widely believed by Kiev and Western nations that Russian-backed rebels shot down the plane. Moscow denies this and instead blames the Ukrainian military.

A criminal probe launched by a joint investigation team consisting of detectives from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine is also ongoing.

A public memorial service was held in Australia’s capital, Canberra, on Friday and a permanent memorial plaque was unveiled to commemorate the 38 Australians who died.

“In the worst of times you have displayed the strength of giants and the grace of angels and I am humbled by you,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the crowd, which included family members of those who perished. “We owe it to the dead to bring the guilty to justice.”

Memorial events are also being held in Ukraine as well as the Netherlands, from where 193 of the victims hailed.

In Kuala Lumpur, a service was held on July 11, a week before the anniversary as it would otherwise clash with the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The end goal is clear — to bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure they pay for this unforgivable crime,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement on the eve of the anniversary.

Malaysia is leading calls from several countries for a U.N. tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing the flight. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected establishing an international tribunal, saying it would be counterproductive.

Meanwhile, a new video obtained by News Corp. Australia purports to show the rebels filming themselves ransacking the luggage of passengers from MH17.

In the footage, men appear to believe they have come across the wreck of a Ukrainian fighter jet but minutes later realize the aircraft is a commercial liner.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the video was “sickening to watch.”

Warning: The video contains graphic content that some viewers may find distressing

TIME Australia

War Has Been Declared on Australia’s Feral Cats

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Getty Images

The creatures have been implicated in almost all of Australia's mammal extinctions

Australia has started an aggressive five-year crusade against feral cats, which are wreaking havoc on endangered species across the landmass.

The Washington Post reports that the federal government is hoping to get rid of up to 2 million of the creatures by 2020. Feral cats are domestic cats, and their descendants, that have returned to a wild state, living in Australia’s expansive bushland.

“Of the 29 mammals that we’ve lost to extinction, feral cats are implicated in 28 out of those 29 extinctions,” Australia’s threatened-species commissioner Gregory Andrews told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The mass-scale elimination will be carried out through poisoning, baiting and shooting, the government says.

The cull is not unprecedented for the country — the government has tried to eliminate other invasive species, such as cane toads and European wild rabbits.

Andrews does insist that they’re not after all Australian cats, though. “It’s very important to emphasize too that we don’t hate cats,” Andrews said. “We just can’t tolerate the damage that they’re doing anymore to our wildlife.”

[ABC]

TIME Bizarre

Police Catch a Guy Who Dumped 11,700 Empty Beer Cans on the Same Street Over 18 Months

"It was very frustrating for the residents," a local police officer said

Every weekday for the past 18 months, someone had been driving by and throwing a neatly tied bag containing up to 30 empty beer cans onto the same street in Waverley, a suburb of Melbourne. And now, after a crafty neighborhood intervention, the culprit, a man in his late 30s, has been caught by local police, a local paper, the Waverley Leader, reports.

“It was very frustrating for the residents of the neat and tidy street. They’d really had enough,” Glen Waverley police Senior Constable Nick Schnerring told the Leader. “We had a breakthrough when several neighbors hid behind bushes and noted the registration and make and model of the car.”

The man, the street’s residents discovered, timed his daily garbage dumps very precisely — he would drive by between 7:30 a.m. and 7:40 a.m. After community members notified the police of the man’s car, police were able to catch the culprit in action.

The man had thrown out a total of about 487 24-packs worth of empty beer cans onto the side of the road. He has been fined $300 and police are still investigating.

TIME celebrities

Amber Heard Charged With Illegally Bringing Her and Johnny Depp’s Dogs Into Australia

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Amber Heard is seen in tribeca on the streets of Manhattan on August 27, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic)
Alo Ceballos—2012 Alo Ceballos Amber Heard is seen in Tribeca on the streets of Manhattan on Aug. 27, 2012, in New York City

Harsh penalties are prescribed under Australia's strict animal-importation laws

Amber Heard, actress and wife of Johnny Depp, was summoned to Australian court on Wednesday on charges that she and Depp brought their dogs, Pistol and Boo, into the country illegally. She faces fines as high as $100,000 or as much as 10 years in prison.

Heard and Depp made headlines in May when it was discovered that they had brought the two Yorkshire terriers into the country on a private jet without quarantining them, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) reports.

Heard was charged with two counts of illegal importation contrary to the quarantine act and one count of producing a false document (it was not specified what document that was). She and Depp had been in Australia, while he filmed the next Pirates of the Caribbean installment, when reports surfaced that they were keeping dogs that had been improperly imported. Australia, which is known for strict animal-, foodstuff- and agricultural-importation policies, would have required Heard and Depp to begin the process more than six months prior to their arrival, including the making of multiple visits to a veterinarian in the U.S. and a 30-day stay for Pistol and Boo in a quarantine center in Australia.

Australian Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce famously issued Depp and Heard an ultimatum: remove the dogs from the country or surrender them for euthanasia. “If we start letting movie stars — even though they’ve been the sexiest man alive twice — to come into our nation [and break the laws], then why don’t we just break the laws for everybody?” he said on ABC at that time.

The dogs were flown safely back to the U.S. shortly after.

[ABC]

TIME United Arab Emirates

An Australian Woman Is to Be Deported From the UAE for ‘Writing Bad Words’ on Facebook

Her online complaint about a driver who parked in a disabled parking bay saw her charged under the UAE's Cyber Crime law

An Australian woman has been detained in Abu Dhabi, and is to be deported from the United Arab Emirates after she took a photo of a car parked across two disabled parking bays and posted it to Facebook.

Jodi Magi, who has worked in the UAE teaching graphic design since 2012, took the photograph in February to draw attention to the driver’s apparent lack of consideration, although she obscured the number plate, reports News.Com.Au.

However, following a complaint to police, the case went to court in June. Magi, 39, was charged under the UAE’s Cyber Crime law and was found guilty of “writing bad words on social media.”

She was issued with a fine of about $2,700. But when Magi went to pay the fine Monday, authorities detained her, pending, they said, her deportation.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told media Tuesday that she expected Magi to be deported in “a very short time,” and that consular officials were giving assistance to Magi and her husband.

[news.com.au]

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