Syrian town of Madaya facing starvation - and more 9am Zedlines

The yellow-bellied sea snake is totally aquatic, making strandings rare and usually in response to sickness or rough weather. Image Source: WikiCommons

Grazier's dam poisoned by train leak

A grazier in North-West Queensland said his dam has been polluted after a train derailment leaked sulphuric acid on his property.

The train was carrying more than 800 thousand litres of sulphuric acid when it derailed, causing more than 31 thousand litres to spill on the property.

Owner of the property, Nigel Simmons, said his dam was used to water livestock, but with the acidity levels rising to a pH of 2.08, it is now totally unusable.

200 gather to remember Queenie Xu

More than two-hundred people gathered yesterday at a vigil to remember two-month-old Queenie Xu who was stabbed to death in Brisbane on Wednesday.

Detective Inspector Tony Duncan said the vigil is community motivated and allowed for the community to give the family their support.

Charges are yet to be laid against the grandfather said to be responsible for the attack.

WA bushfires now affected more than 29,000 hectares

A bushfire destroying an area south of Perth has spread further, prompting an emergency warning for Waroona, Harvey and surrounding areas.

The fire has so far burnt through an estimated 29,000 hectares of land after being started by a lightning strike at Lane Pool Reserve early on Wednesday.

Wind shifts this morning are expected to make containing the blaze difficult for firefighters in the area.

Yellow-bellied sea snakes wash ashore in NSW

Yellow-bellied sea snakes have been found washed up along New South Wales’ south coast after recent wild weather.

The snakes were also found washed up in southern California in October for the first time since 1983 during another El Nino weather pattern, drawing a connection between the weather cycle and the snake strandings.

The yellow-bellied sea snakes are highly venomous but not typically aggressive towards humans.

Syrian residents starved to death

Residents of the Syrian town of Madaya say they are dying of starvation as a months-long siege by pro-Assad forces has stopped the residents from leaving the town or getting resources.

Families are reportedly eating leaves and grasses as food becomes desperately scarce.

An estimated 30,000 people are trapped in the village where bitter cold and a lack of firewood has exacerbated the situation.

Residents report more than twelve people have been killed attempting to retrieve firewood from a nearby wooded hill as snipers have a clear shot.

Man accused of smuggling refugee to UK may face 5 years in prison

A man accused of smuggling a four-year-old Afghan refugee in to the UK from a refugee camp near Calais will face trial in France next week.

Rob Lawrie was caught at the Calais border last October allegedly hiding four-year-old Bahar Ahmadi in his van, and could face up to five years in prison for the act.

Mr Lawrie says he acted out of compassion for Bahar and her family who had fled Afghanistan.