Fears a person may be dead after a hotel fire in Pittsworth - and more 9AM Zedlines

One person has yet to be accounted for after the historic Pittsworth venue Tattersalls Club Hotel went up in flames in the early hours of this morning. Picture source: Flikr CC

Person missing after historic hotel goes up in flames

A person is feared dead after a fire tore through a hotel in Pittsworth near Toowoomba early this morning.

More than 20 firefighters were called out to battle the blaze around 2.30 this morning, with 11 people managing to escape the two-storey Tattersalls Club Hotel.

Firefighter Shane Rankine says the intensity of the fire has made it impossible to launch an internal search for the missing person.

Emergency services are still at the scene.


Queensland the highest buyers of caged eggs

A new survey has found that Queenslanders are more likely to buy caged eggs compared to people in every other state across Australia.

The findings come from customer research and ratings business Canstar Blue, who questioned more than 3000 adults nationally about whether they purchased caged, free range or cage laid eggs.

A spokesperson for the company said while price and mistrust of product labelling were issues for consumers, the findings also show greater insight into how Queenslanders feel “about the egg morality debate”.


Melbourne travel agency exporting formula

Baby formula is being exported to China from within a travel agency in Melbourne.

A&A Travel sublets part of its building in Glen Waverley to a freight company, but denies having any involvement.

China’s demand for Australian infant formula has skyrocketed since 2008, when melamine contamination killed six babies and made 300,000 ill.


Gecko found in Tasmanian container to be euthanised 

A GECKO found inside a shipping container by a Hobart transport company is likely be euthanised over fears it could threaten Tasmania’s ecosystem.

Staff reported the finding to Reptile Rescue Tasmania owner Bruce Press, who promptly contacted wildlife ranger Matthew Jones to collect the animal.

Mr Press said Mr Jones handed the gecko to Biosecurity Tasmania staff, who would make a decision about the fate of the animal, saying that it may cause ecological problems, have disease or may want to mate with Tasmania’s species.


Paupua New Guinea removes foreign adviser roles

Papua New Guinea’s government has removed more than a dozen foreign advisers working in government departments from its ranks.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has revealed 15 adviser positions in the departments of finance, transport, treasury and justice were removed on December 31st.

Papua New Guinea’s prime minster Peter O’Neill first unveiled the plan for the ban on foreign workers in July of last year.

Despite the cuts, 18 Australian public servants are set to remain in their advisery positions, while new liaison officer roles are being established to maintain relationships between the PNG and Australian government departments.


German leaders express shock, disgust over NYE assaults

German leaders have expressed shock over dozens of sexual assaults against women in Cologne over New Year’s Eve.

Police said they’d received 90 criminal complaints and quoted witnesses who claimed groups of between 20 and 30 young men “of Arab or North African descent” had surrounded victims, assulting and in some cases robbing them.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for an investigation into the incidents, which range from groping,  to at least one reported rape allegedly committed in a large crowd during festivities.

A plain-clothes policewoman was reportedly among those attacked.