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"Loving father" Craig McCulloch named as paramedic who tragically died in ambulance crash, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. “Loving father” Craig McCulloch named as paramedic who tragically died in ambulance crash.


A Queensland paramedic killed in an ambulance crash on the way to an emergency has been described as a loving father of two.

Craig McCulloch, 32, was the only one in the vehicle when it rolled several times and smashed into a tree near Mackay, just after 8am on Monday.

“To say we are saddened by the tragic death of one of our own is an understatement,” the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) said in a Facebook post.

“Craig McCulloch was a respected and reliable colleague and a loving father to two young children. Our thoughts remain with his family and his colleagues past and present.”

QAS commissioner Russell Bowles said McCulloch was a well-known paramedic with more than a decade of work experience in both Australia and the UK.

“That’s one of the reasons that he’s touched so many hearts – because he actually worked in multiple locations,” Bowles told 9News.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk tweeted that McCullouch’s death was a reminder of the dangers emergency workers face daily to keep others safe.

Bystanders and responding paramedics tried to save McCulloch, who was in a critical condition, but he died at the scene in Benholme, QAS’ acting deputy commissioner Gerard Lawler told reporters on Monday.

“It’s our most tragic day … it’s a most distressing event for those attending, (we have lost) a colleague, a friend and a loved one, who was highly respected in his profession and no doubt his family,” he said.

“Every support is being provided to those who responded … in these tragic circumstance we have experienced today.”

The advanced care paramedic was responding to a code one medical emergency with lights and sirens when the incident occurred.

“It’s the highest code and urgency an officer can respond to,” Mr Lawler said.

2. Australian refugee ‘terrified’ at extradition.

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Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is “terrified” of being extradited to Bahrain and has issued a heartfelt message to his wife, saying he is heartbroken not to hear her voice, his lawyer says.

Bahrain confirmed on Monday it had lodged documents with Thai authorities seeking al-Araibi’s extradition over the vandalising of a police station during the Arab Spring in 2012, an accusation he denies.

The documents were lodged ahead of a February 8 deadline set by a Thai court and comes amid a global effort to free al-Araibi, who was granted refugee status by Australia in 2017.

After visiting al-Araibi in the Bangkok Remand Prison and sharing news of Bahrain’s refusal to back down, the footballer asked his lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman to issue a statement.

“For seven years, not a day went by that I did not hear my wife’s voice,” it said.

“Now I’m in jail for a crime I did not commit. She is out there. Alone.

“It breaks my heart not to know when I will see her or hear her voice again. Please fight for me.”

Al-Araibi was detained by Thai authorities when he arrived in Bangkok on November 27 with his wife on their honeymoon. She stayed by his side for almost a week before returning to Australia.

After Bahrain signalled its intention to proceed with the extradition, Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa defended his country’s decision, saying al-Araibi had taken part in a “terrorist operation”.

Prior to Bahrain’s decision, Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote to his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha requesting al-Araibi’s release and emphasising Australia had issued the footballer with a permanent protection visa.

The 25-year-old plays soccer for semi-professional Pascoe Vale in the Victorian league and lives in Melbourne.

Al-Araibi was sentenced to 10 years’ jail in absentia by the Bahrain courts even though he claims he was playing in a televised game when the police station attack took place.

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Ms Bergman said she had yet to see the Bahrain extradition papers, which have been lodged with the Thai Attorney-General’s department. She expected al-Araibi’s case to be delayed for at least “a month or two” to allow for the documents to be translated into Thai.

Ms Bergman said the footballer’s spirits sank after she told him Bahrain was proceeding with the extradition.

“He’s happy that there’s a lot of people working on this case. But when he thinks there’s the possibility the Thai government will extradite him, he’s terrified.

“He said: ‘I was tortured before and I’ll be tortured again. I don’t want to face that again.'”

She added that the case against extradition could be argued on the grounds that it’s a political case.

3. Social media abuse of duchesses worrying.

Britain’s press is urging social media users to tone down inappropriate criticism of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Palace officials have been seeking help from Instagram to monitor and remove offensive comments about the two duchesses, who are married to Prince Harry and Prince William.

Palace aides have been spending hours each week moderating comments on the official Palace Instagram account and removing racist and sexist content.

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There have been rumours in recent months that Meghan and Kate have been feuding, which could have partly fuelled online abuse with fans of one duchess criticising the other online in very personal terms.

Meghan, an American actress who married Harry in May, is pregnant with their first child, and some on social media and in the press have taken to criticising her for cradling her “baby bump” during public engagements.

The Times newspaper reported on Tuesday in an editorial called “Vile Abuse” that many of the comments made about Meghan and Kate are too vicious to publish and have included threats.

“Women receive more abuse online than men and this sad truth seems to apply just as much to the royal family,” the newspaper said.

The paper also condemned the treatment of Rachel Riley, a British television personality who has complained about a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse on Twitter.

In response to the rise of abusive comments directed at the royal women, Hello! magazine this week launched a “kindness” campaign urging posters to think twice before posting nasty comments.

“For us, it’s not acceptable to pit two women against each other,” the magazine’s royal correspondent Emily Nash said in a video announcing the campaign.

“It’s not acceptable to post abusive, threatening, racist or sexist comments online. And it’s not acceptable to attack other users just because they disagree with you.”

4.  NSW fish deaths a ‘catastrophe’.

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The NSW regional water minister has backed the system in place to manage the Murray-Darling river system as he deals with angry locals outraged over more mass fish deaths at Menindee.

Hundreds of thousands of fish are blanketing sections of the Menindee weir pool and the Darling River less than a month after up a million fish died in the same area.

Minister Niall Blair visited Menindee on Tuesday to see first hand what he’s termed an “environmental catastrophe”.

But his riverbank press conference was hijacked by locals frustrated with the decision to drain the Menindee Lakes in 2017 and the extraction of water by cotton growers.

They insist the Murray-Darling basin has been taken to the brink under the current management plan.

“You put us in this predicament. You let all the water go. The lakes were full,” one man said.

“What are you going to do about the cotton?” a woman asked Mr Blair.

The minister said he understood the frustration of residents and argued the meeting with locals was constructive and “polite”.

“I don’t think the whole system needs to be overhauled,” Mr Blair told AAP on Tuesday.

“If we didn’t have that (management plan) in place a lot of rivers would have stopped flowing by now.”

Cotton Australia says its growers are working with little to no water and are planting few crops due to the drought.

NSW primary industries staff travelled south of Menindee to Redbank Weir near Balranald on Tuesday to confirm reports of more fish deaths on the Murrumbidgee River.

Mr Blair says initial reports suggest hundreds of fish have died: “It’s not like what we’re seeing in the Darling.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has been criticised for not visiting Menindee on a weekend tour to NSW’s west, said she’d wanted to talk to people in towns including Coonabarabran and Walgett.

“Of course I care about the fish, but can I be honest? I care more about people,” she told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

“I’m not denying it’s an environmental disaster … but my priority is to make sure people have water security now and into the future.”

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The DPI says the Menindee deaths are the result of critically-low levels of dissolved oxygen – likely linked to the mixing of weir pool water following a drop in temperatures in recent days.

The majority of fish affected were Bony Herring with contractors removing up to 700 kilograms of dead fish on Monday, the department said.

Local Graeme McCrabb estimates millions have died in the latest event.

“I’m sitting in a spot here and there are hundreds of thousands within 100 or 200 metres,” he told AAP.

“You can smell the dead fish, it’ll get worse throughout the day. It’s just a waste. An absolute waste.”

Mr McCrabb said the town of Menindee was also suffering from a lack of tourists and needed government support to truck in fresh drinking water.

5. Indian man, 20, drowns at Wattamolla beach.

The body of a man who went missing while swimming at a beach in the NSW’s Royal National Park has been found.

The 20-year-old man, an Indian national, was last seen swimming in the lagoon area at Wattamolla Beach on Tuesday evening.

Police divers found his body a short distance from where he disappeared in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

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