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Australians warned against seafood after deadly algal bloom

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Authorities in Australia’a Tasmania state are urging people to stop consuming seafood due to the risk of potentially-fatal paralytic poisoning.

Mark Veitch, Tasmania’s acting director of public health, released a statement late Sunday night warning Tasmanians and tourists to heed the “very real” threat to health, which has come due to an algal bloom in the water, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Shellfish feed on the algae and (therefore) concentrate the toxin — this makes them dangerous to eat and may cause serious and even fatal illness,” the statement said.

“The large scale of this algal bloom and the high levels of toxin in tested shellfish mean the risk of shellfish poisoning from eating shellfish collected from the wild is very real.”

Tasmanian seafood is considered by many as the best in the world, with many Australians choosing to make the trip to the southernmost state for sport fishing, mussel and abalone diving, as well as oyster sampling.

The authorities have said it was unsafe to eat wild oysters, mussels, scallops and pipis from anywhere along the island’s east coast, while Tasmanians have also been warned that cooking the fish will not kill the deadly toxins.

Two types of toxin have been identified by the authorities, one of which causes mild diarrhea while the other causes paralysis which could lead to death.

The latest algal bloom follows a similar one which occurred in 2015 when two people were hospitalised after consuming toxic mussels in October.

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US to revoke visas of Saudi officials implicated in death of Jamal Khashoggi

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journalist Jamal Khashoggi

BREAKING: The United State to revoke visas of some Saudi officials implicated in death of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo also said during a press conference that the State and Treasury departments are looking at the possibility of sanctions meant to target those responsible for human rights violations.

The announcement comes after President Trump called the kingdom’s efforts to hide Khashoggi’s killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul the “worst cover-up ever,” stepping up his rhetoric as frustrations directed at Riyadh grow.

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US slaps sanctions on Taliban, Iranian supporters

Washington has intensified its sanctions against Iranian entities and individuals after President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal in May, a move that has been widely criticized by the international community.

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Washington, Oct 24 : The US Treasury announced on Tuesday that it has imposed sanctions on eight individuals, including two associated with Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — Qods Force (IRGC-QF), in an effort to hit Afghanistan’s Taliban militants.

The Treasury accused the designated Taliban members of engaging in suicide attacks and other activities in Afghanistan and blamed the Iranians for providing financial and material support for the Taliban, Xinhau reported.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed in a statement that Iran was “exploiting Afghanistan to further their destabilizing behaviour”.

Mnuchin is on a week-long trip to the Middle East with talks on combating terrorist financing and looming Iran sanctions.

Also on Tuesday, the other member nations of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre (TFTC), all US Gulf allies, also imposed Taliban-related sanctions.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain announced Tuesday to add Iran’s IRGC to the list of terror-related individuals and organisations, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Washington has intensified its sanctions against Iranian entities and individuals after President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal in May, a move that has been widely criticized by the international community.

New US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports are set to kick in on November 4.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said his country will manage to abort anti-Iran sanctions by the United States, Press TV reported on Monday.

The TFTC, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, was formed in May 2017 and inaugurated by the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Trump on the sidelines of the Arab-Islamic-American Summit last year.

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UN calls for probe into Pakistani reporter’s murder

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Paris, Oct 23 The head of the United Nations cultural organisation UNESCO on Tuesday deplored the slaying of journalist Sohail Khan in northwest Pakistan last week and urged the country’s authorities to bring his killers to justice.

“I condemn the killing of Sohail Khan,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “I trust the authorities will spare no effort in investigating this crime, which undermines the fundamental human right of freedom of expression as well as the right to access information,” he said.

“A free press plays an essential role in combating organized crime and upholding the rule of law,” Azoulay added.

Sohail Khan, a reporter for local Urdu daily, which also operates a local television channel, was gunned down on October 16 in the Haripur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.

Khan, 28, was murdered days after a report on drug trafficking, the Freedom Network watchdog organization said. He was the third journalist killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year. His killing sparked protests by journalists across Pakistan.

Four reporters have been murdered in Pakistan since January, the watchdog said.(IANS/AKI)

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