Everything you need to know about the world today, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.
Government Commits $80m on Pest Control
The government will spend an extra $80 million towards predator control in the budget. The extra funding over the next four years will allow the Department of Conservation to carry out sustained predator control over more than 1.8 million hectares. Conservation Minister Eugene Sage says New Zealand has a biodiversity crisis with 82 percent of native birds either threatened or at risk of extinction. Sage said the budget allows DOC to concentrate on its priorities. Forest and Bird Spokesperson Kevin Hackwell says the funding allows a ten-fold increase on DOC forests to have regular pest management.
First Mycoplasma Bovis Case Identified in North Island
The Ministry of Primary Industries has confirmed cattle on a dairy farm in Cambridge tested positive for Mycoplasma bovis. This is the first case in the North Island after it was discovered in South Island farms last week. The bacteria is spread through close contact between animals, causing serious conditions in cattle such as pneumonia, arthritis, and abortions, though humans are not at risk. Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Geoff Gwynn says it is not surprising to hear the disease is found in another region, as large numbers of animals are moved every day. Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor says a majority of farmers are disregarding system obligations.
Union: Tertiary Education Needs More Funding
Tertiary education providers hope the government can provide them financial relief in the coming budget. Tertiary Education Union president Sandra Grey says the spending is $3.7 billion short of where it should be, and the shortfall results in cuts to services and teaching. The industry is relying on enrolling more foreign students to make more money. Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the tertiary education sector is one of the biggest challenges the government is facing, but extra funding will not solve all problems. Tertiary education spokesperson for the National Party Paula Bennett says the government will have little money for tertiary education after it makes university free for students for the first year.
USA Opens Jerusalem Embassy Under Palestinian Fury
The United States has opened its new embassy in Jerusalem to mass protests from Palestinians in Gaza. The opening comes after Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital instead of Tel Aviv. Around 800 people attended the opening which took place yesterday. Donald Trump has previously tweeted that he believes it is a "great day for Israel". Israel's president Benjamin Netanyahu agreed, saying on Monday that it was a "glorious day" and that Donald Trump had "made history". In Gaza, 100km from the new embassy, Israeli forces killed 55 and wounded 1,200 in one of the region's worst days of bloodshed in years.
Second Double Amputee Climbs Everest
A Chinese man has scaled Mt Everest, 43 years after frostbite took both his feet on the world's highest mountain. Double Amputee Xia Boya, now aged 69, gave his sleeping bag to a friend during a high-altitude storm in 1975. This resulted in the amputation of legs below the knee, which amazingly did not stop Boya from reaching the summit in his fifth attempt. Boya becomes the second double amputee to conquer Mt Everest after New Zealander Mark Inglis accomplished the feat in 2006.
Iran Develops Own Telegram
The Iranian government has released its own social media app, Soroush, to replace the popular Telegram app. Telegram is blamed for producing unrest among citizens after several anti-establishment protests were organised on it. Telegram was recently banned in Russia after the apps' founder Pavel Durov refused to give encryption keys to authorities. The app has 50 million users in Iran but it is reported that the app could be blocked as the Iranian government says it needs to abide by their laws. Iran's government says that all data sent on Soroush will be completely private. One emoji featured on Soroush has the slogan "death to America".
Catalans Elect New Separatist Leader
Catalan has voted in the separatist candidate, Quim Torra, as leader of the region. Catalonia is still under Spain's direct rule following former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s independence referendum.
Canada Adds Third Gender Option in Census
Canada has changed its census to be more inclusive of non-binary citizens. The census will now include a third option that will ask respondents who they identify as other than male and female. Director of Demography at Statistics Canada, Laurent Martel, says they want all Canadians to be able to identify themselves. This comes after Ontario became the first Canadian state to issue non-binary birth certificates. Pakistan, Nepal, and India also all have a third option after male and female.
Additional reporting by Leonard Powell, Grace Watson, Justin Wong