US$19.7 Billion ‘Ghost Bridge’ – Hong Kong -Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Has Failed | 55-KM-Long

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The Daily Show: Laughing off this gotcha moment with Tucker Carlson

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The UK: The stabbing-murder of MP David Amess is a terrorist incident

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The Telegraph later announced that a 25-year-old suspect, a British national of “Somalian heritage,” was arrested and that the police are not looking for any additional suspects.

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A Conservative MP was murdered in Essex today, October 15th. According to LBC, “Police responded to reports of a stabbing at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea this afternoon. Armed police and forensics officers were seen outside the church after the stabbing.

MP Sir David Amess, 69, was stabbed at the scene with a large police presence there shortly before 1pm today.”

The Telegraph reports that “Essex Police said the response of the emergency services to the incident was immediate and officers arrived at the scene within minutes.”

Amess, a Tory MP who represented Southend West in Essex since 1997, was at Belfairs Methodist Church as part of a “constituent surgery,” at which point, Sky News reports, “a man walked [in]…and stabbed him multiple times.” A constituent surgery is a form of meeting in UK politics in which MPs meet directly with their constituents and those constituents can express their concerns about governance issues.

ew other details are currently known about the attack. One source, as ZeroHedge reports, said that Sir Amess was stabbed three times by the attacker. Only one attacker was reported.

Initially, Sir Amess was treated at the scene for life-threatening injuries and a Conservative Party source told Sky News that an air ambulance was at the scene of the attack.

Later, however, around 3 pm English Time, police announced that Sir Amess died of his wounds at the scene of the stabbing.

The Telegraph later announced that a 25-year-old suspect, a British national of “Somalian heritage,” was arrested and that the police are not looking for any additional suspects.

Anthony Fitch, who was near the church in the immediate aftermath of the attack, watched police lead the suspect away from the scene and told the Mirror that “He was taken away by two officers with armed police behind him. He didn’t make any noise.”

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Excerpts from “Nature: China’s CoronaVac and Sinopharm vaccines account for almost half of the 7.3 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered globally. Now studies suggest that the immunity from two doses of either vaccine wanes rapidly”

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  • NEWS
  • 14 October 2021

China’s COVID vaccines have been crucial — now immunity is waning

Billions of shots of China’s CoronaVac and Sinopharm vaccines have been given globally, but studies have questioned the length of protection they offer.

China’s CoronaVac and Sinopharm vaccines account for almost half of the 7.3 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered globally, and have been enormously important in fighting the pandemic, particularly in less wealthy nations.

But as the doses mount, so have the data, with studies suggesting that the immunity from two doses of either vaccine wanes rapidly, and the protection offered to older people is limited. This week the World Health Organization announced advice from its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) that people over 60 should receive a third dose of the same or another vaccine to ensure sufficient protection.

The recommendation is “sensible and necessary”, says Manoel Barral-Netto, an immunologist at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Salvador, Brazil.
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THE RACE TO VACCINATE. Chart showing that China’s CoronaVac and Sinopharm jabs account for nearly half of all doses.

Inactivated vaccines

CoronaVac, produced by Beijing-based company Sinovac, is the world’s most widely used COVID-19 vaccine. Not far behind is the vaccine developed in Beijing by state-owned Sinopharm (see ‘The race to vaccinate’).

In mid-2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the shots for emergency use, on the basis of limited clinical-trial data suggesting that CoronaVac was 51% and Sinopharm 79% effective at preventing symptomatic disease. This was on a par with the 63% efficacy reported for the University of Oxford–AstraZeneca’s viral-vector vaccine at the time of its WHO listing, but lower than the 90% and higher efficacies of the mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna.

Both the Chinese vaccines are inactivated vaccines, which use killed SARS-CoV-2 virus. Researchers say this type of vaccine seems to be less potent because it triggers an immune response against many viral proteins. By contrast, mRNA and viral-vector vaccines target the response to the spike protein, which is what the virus uses to enter human cells.

“You don’t choose the target with inactivated vaccines, you just throw in all these different antigens,” explains Jorge Kalil, a physician and immunologist at the University of São Paulo Medical School, Brazil.
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Lower antibody responses

Some studies have found that compared with vaccines made using other technologies, China’s inactivated vaccines initially generate lower levels of ‘neutralizing’ or virus-blocking antibodies — considered a proxy for protection — and that these levels drop quickly over time.
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But “waning of antibodies isn’t necessarily the same as waning of immune protection”, says Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong. He says that vaccines induce complex immune responses, including B cells and T cells, which might be more long lived than neutralizing antibodies.
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So far, studies assessing protection over time are limited. But preliminary analysis of a mass-vaccination campaign with CoronaVac in Chile suggests a small but significant decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease, although protection against hospitalization remains high, says Eduardo Undurraga, a public-health researcher at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago.

Vaccines made using other technologies have seen a similar trend of waning antibodies and protection against infection, but more-robust protection against severe disease and death. But researchers say that because the Chinese inactivated vaccines start at a lower base of neutralizing antibodies, the protection they offer could drop faster than those with a stronger head start.

BIGGEST TAKERS FOR CHINA’S VACCINES. Chart showing countries where China’s CoronaVac & Sinopharm vaccines have been administered

To boost, or not to boost

The less-potent immune response from inactivated vaccines also has implications for the protection they offer to older people. The immune system weakens with age and vaccines are generally less effective in older people, says Kang, but the effect seems to be more pronounced with the inactivated vaccines.

A massive analysis of some one million people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Brazil4 found that CoronaVac offered up to 60% protection against severe disease up to the age of 79 — not far off the 76% protection offered by the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine.

But the picture changes drastically in people over 80, says co-author Daniel Villela, an epidemiologist at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In that group, CoronaVac was only 30% effective at preventing severe disease and 45% effective against death, compared with 67% and 85%, respectively, for the Oxford–AstraZeneca jab.
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Clinical-trial data from China6, not yet peer-reviewed, suggest that a third dose of CoronaVac increases neutralizing antibody levels, and a similar boost has been observed in studies of third doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine.

And earlier this month, the Chilean government reported preliminary results on the effectiveness of booster shots, based on data from some two million people who had received two shots of CoronaVac, and a third shot of the CoronaVac, Pfizer–BioNTech or Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccines. Protection against COVID-19 jumped from 56% after two shots to 80% or higher after a third shot of any vaccine, with protection against hospitalization rising from 84% to 87%.
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“For all vaccines, it’s very much an evolving situation,” says Kang. “Inactivated vaccines are a big part of our portfolio. So we really need to figure out how to use them.”

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-02796-w

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Singapore: The Truth Warriors might not be so truthful after all

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The Truth Warriors website claims to have been started by a “group of concerned citizens”. One page on the website purportedly tracks the number of “suspected” cases of deaths in Singapore from a Covid-19 vaccine. On another, a picture urges people not to follow the majority but to “follow the right way”.

Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/covid-19-moh-calls-out-truth-warriors-website-potentially-misleading-posts-vaccines?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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Covid-19: MOH calls out ‘Truth Warriors’ website for ‘potentially misleading’ posts on vaccines, ivermectin

By DARYL CHOO
Published October 15, 2021
Updated October 15, 2021

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (Oct 15) called out the “Truth Warriors” website as one of several local websites posting “unverified and potentially misleading information” on Covid-19 vaccines and the ivermectin drug.

In a Facebook post, MOH said the website has been carrying articles claiming that ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug, is safe and effective in treating Covid-19 and that other countries have been using it for early treatment of the coronavirus with high success rates.
Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/covid-19-moh-calls-out-truth-warriors-website-potentially-misleading-posts-vaccines?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

“To date, there is no scientific evidence from properly conducted clinical trials to demonstrate that ivermectin is effective against Covid-19,” the ministry said.

“Self-medicating with ivermectin can be dangerous to one’s health, and there have been reports of patients requiring hospitalisation after doing so.”

Last Thursday, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said it was investigating the illegal sales and distribution of ivermectin in relation to a case where a 65-year-old woman ended up in hospital after consuming the drug.

In Singapore, ivermectin is sold by prescription only and for the sole purpose of treating parasitic worm infections.

Side effects of ivermectin can include vomiting, stomach pain, seizures, severe skin rash and liver injury.

MOH stressed that it is not used to treat viruses and is not approved by HSA for use in preventing or treating Covid-19.

Despite this, some people have been organising bulk online purchases of the drug from overseas, TODAY previously reported.

Even after the media spotlight on the 65-year-old woman’s hospitalisation, supporters of ivermectin have also dug their heels in and cast doubt that the drug caused the woman to fall ill.


Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/covid-19-moh-calls-out-truth-warriors-website-potentially-misleading-posts-vaccines?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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God’s Word in China

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Singapore is predominantly Chinese but is not part of China; and Singaporean Chinese culture is not the same as Chinese culture.

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During the 19th century, Chinese migration to Southeast Asia was a common occurrence. Many were unskilled and migrated from China to Southeast Asia for jobs during the colonial period of the region. … Today, descendants of early Chinese migrants make up the bulk of the population of Chinese Singaporeans.
Chinese nationals in Singapore – Wikipedia

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If you were the Singapore Government, would you accept any move by your Chinese population towards identification with China first, and Singapore second?

The government has sought to build a Singaporean national identity based on multiracialism, equality and meritocracy. English is the country’s official working language.

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The New York Times

Worries Grow in Singapore Over China’s Calls to Help ‘Motherland’

By Amy Qin

  • Aug. 5, 2018

阅读简体中文版閱讀繁體中文版

SINGAPORE — Growing up in Singapore, Chan Kian Kuan always took pride in his Teochew heritage — the dialect, the cultural traditions and the famous steamed fish. But after visiting his ancestral village in Teochew, in Guangdong Province, China, and seeing the progress there, he became truly proud to be not just Teochew, but also Chinese.

“It’s very messy. We are Chinese, but we are Singaporean, too,” said Mr. Chan, vice president of the Teochew Poit Ip Clan Association in Singapore. “When China becomes stronger, we feel proud. China is like the big brother.”

As a young country made up mostly of immigrants, Singapore has for decades walked a fine line between encouraging citizens like Mr. Chan to connect with their cultural heritage and promoting a Singaporean national identity.

But there are growing concerns here that a rising China could tip that carefully orchestrated balance by seeking to convert existing cultural affinities among Singaporean Chinese into loyalty to the Chinese “motherland.”

Confident in its fast-growing political and economic clout, China has become increasingly assertive in its efforts to appeal to the vast Chinese diaspora to serve the country’s national interests and gain influence abroad. Already, there has been evidence of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to manipulate political activity among Chinese populations in countries like Canada, the United States and Australia.
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And with ethnic Chinese constituting nearly 75 percent of Singapore’s population of 5.6 million, some scholars and former diplomats worry that this island nation could be an especially tantalizing target for the Chinese government’s influence efforts.

“For us, it is an existential issue; the stakes are extremely high,” said Bilahari Kausikan, a former permanent secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one of the most outspoken voices in the country on the subject of Chinese interference.

“China’s rise is a geopolitical fact that everyone must accept,” Mr. Kausikan said. “But it’s a very small step in my mind from cultural affinity for China to the idea of Chinese superiority. We are only 53 years old. It’s not guaranteed that every Singaporean Chinese would not be tempted either consciously or unconsciously to take that step.”

Last month China’s ambassador to Singapore took the rare step of publicly rebutting recent remarks made by Mr. Kausikan in which he raised an alarm about what he called China’s covert “influence operations.”

“We uphold the principles of peaceful coexistence and champion global fairness and justice,” the ambassador, Hong Xiaoyong, wrote in an op-ed in The Straits Times, an English-language newspaper. “We oppose the big bullying the small and interference in others’ internal affairs. This is what China has said, and this is also what China has been doing.”

“China respects Singapore’s achievements in maintaining racial and religious harmony,” he added. “It has no intention of influencing Singaporeans’ sense of their national identity and will never do so.”
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Mr. Kausikan and others are also concerned about China’s subtler influence efforts in Singapore, including appeals to sentimental “flesh and blood” ties to China.
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“My cellphone is on 24 hours a day,” Hong Guoping, then head of the United Front in the Xiang’an district in Fujian Province, told a group of Singaporean Chinese affiliated with that district in 2013. “My fellow countrymen can call me at any time. I’m happy to serve everyone.”
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Some scholars have highlighted what they call a worrying trend that has seen China increasingly blurring the distinction between huaqiao (Chinese citizens overseas) and huaren (ethnic Chinese of all nationalities).

At an overseas Chinese work conference last year, President Xi Jinping stressed the need to bring together people of Chinese descent around the world — up to 60 million ethnic Chinese in more than 180 countries — to enjoy the “Chinese dream.”

“The realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation requires the joint efforts of Chinese sons and daughters at home and abroad,” said Mr. Xi, according to Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency.

Scholars say the focus on strengthening ties with overseas Chinese signals a major shift away from Beijing’s previous, more hands-off approach to diaspora relations.
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In some Western countries, China has already successfully mobilized local groups like Chinese businessmen, Chinese students and Chinese-language media, using them as proxies to rally against anti-Chinese views or to whip up support for Beijing’s line on contentious issues like the Dalai Lama or Taiwan.

Frequently, the result has been a negative and often xenophobic anti-Chinese backlash. Many overseas Chinese have said they are now being unfairly subject to a cloud of suspicion simply for being associated with China.

“When you start reaching out to people on the basis of race and blood, it becomes unacceptable to other governments,” said Wang Gungwu, a former chairman of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore. “On the other hand, Beijing thinks it is natural to do so. And that is where the conflict lies, however unintended the consequences may be.”
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Karoline Kan contributed research from Beijing.

Follow Amy Qin on Twitter: @amyyqin.

For the whole article:

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Singapore particularly vulnerable yet resilient to Chinese influence operations: French report

Justin Ong
Political Correspondent

  • Published Oct 2, 2021, 5:00 am SGT

SINGAPORE – A terrorist attack targeting the ethnic Chinese and triggering intercommunal unrest in Singapore, serving as a pretext for China’s intervention. Beijing’s use of Malaysian-based intermediaries to conduct disinformation operations against Singapore, to exploit the city-state’s closeness with its neighbour.

These are examples of how Singapore’s structural vulnerabilities could be targeted and exploited by China, a French think-tank said in a report released last week.

The study by the Institute for Strategic Research at France’s Military College, or Irsem, also observed that Singapore has been able to resist and defend against Chinese influence “skilfully”, with the counter-narrative of a single national identity.

“Singapore, which has an ambivalent relationship with China, a mixture of both closeness and distrust, has several characteristics that make it a particularly vulnerable target and, at the same time, particularly resilient to Chinese influence,” it said.

The 646-page document, titled “Chinese influence operations: A Machiavellian moment”, describes in French how China is ramping up attempts to infiltrate and coerce states around the world through a mix of overt and covert means.

The Chinese embassy in France on Sept 22 responded by slamming the report as a “stigmatisation operation” against China.

Authored by Chinese politics and foreign affairs experts Paul Charon and Jean-Baptiste Jeangene Vilmer, the Irsem report contains case studies on Taiwan, Sweden, Canada and Singapore.

The chapter on Singapore noted that its primary vulnerability was the very nature of its multiethnic and intercommunal society – both an asset and a lever that could easily be used by an ill-intentioned third party.

Irsem said the main narratives conveyed by Beijing’s influence operations include how Singapore:

– Is a Chinese country that is part of and should be loyal to “Greater China”

– Is a small state that cannot afford to be arrogant and alienate the Chinese giant

– Lacks a strong leader since the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong underestimating the importance of ties with Beijing

– Is too close to the United States, which is the past while China is the future and it is in Singapore’s interest to align with Beijing; and

– Should not get involved in the South China Sea debate.

The widespread use of English and Chinese here also makes Singapore all the more penetrable by external actors, said the report.

“Its dependence on imports for all essential goods; its strained relationship with Malaysia – itself vulnerable to radical Islam and more or less aligned with Beijing – are other vulnerabilities likely to be exploited,” added Irsem, citing known precedents of Malaysian Chinese groups producing disinformation content against Taiwan.

The report pointed to the role of Chinese clan associations here in preserving Chinese identity and kinship, a phenomenon previously flagged by other think-tanks.

It estimated at least 20,000 Chinese naturalised as citizens each year, excluding permanent residents, and described this flow as a way of maintaining a Chinese majority for a community with the lowest birth rate.

“These Chinese newcomers, who maintain their networks in mainland China, are an additional vector of influence,” said Irsem.

Younger Singaporeans, meanwhile, are primarily influenced by Beijing through its economic and professional opportunities: the report pointed to chambers of commerce and business associations offering scholarships to study in China, and the presence of a Confucius Institute at Nanyang Technological University.

These institutes teach Chinese language and culture at several locations around the world and have been accused by the US of promoting propaganda.

Irsem also said China could rely on influential “spokespersons” in Singapore.
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Today, even though the majority of Singapore’s population is ethnically Chinese, “the fact is that they feel overwhelmingly Singaporean”, said the report.

“Despite Beijing’s efforts, there is very little cultural penetration,” Irsem added. “Chinese influence on the Chinese-speaking media is relatively limited because of Singapore’s control over all media.”
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The Irsem publication is the latest of several reports highlighting Singapore as a natural target for Chinese influence. In June, experts told The Straits Times that such operations would have been amplified lately, including through propaganda campaigns against US-made Covid-19 vaccines and in favour of China’s Sinovac.

Last month, citing the threat posed to political sovereignty and national security, the Singapore Government proposed the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act or Fica. It did not explicitly name any state actors targeting Singapore.

The draft law aims to combat hostile information campaigns and local proxies. It has attracted controversy ahead of its scheduled debate in Parliament next week – drawing disagreement and proposed amendments from the Workers’ Party, and prompting a parliamentary petition submitted by Progress Singapore Party Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai calling for its passage into legislation to be delayed.

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/spore-particularly-vulnerable-yet-resilient-to-chinese-influence-operations

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Kuching: RMAF personnel shoots mother-in-law before turning gun on himself in homicide-suicide

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Penang: Wild boar at Gurney Drive, shot dead at the Pulau Tikus market

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Lost wild boar shot dead at Penang’s Gurney Drive

Perhilitan kills animal for fear it would attack bystanders

Updated 4 minutes ago · Published on 15 Oct 2021 4:18PM

GEORGE TOWN – A wild boar that somehow lost its way and was found wandering along Penang’s popular Gurney Drive was shot dead this morning by the Penang Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

Northeast district Civil Defence Force officer Muhammad Aizat Abdul Ghani said that the animal had to be killed for fear that it would pose a danger to the public.

“We are not sure how it could have gotten lost there. We also got information that it was seen wandering around the Pulau Tikus public market, more than a kilometre from where it was shot.

“So far, there have been no reports of civilian injuries or property damage,” said Aizat, adding that the operation ended at around 9.40am today.

Earlier, the appearance of the wild boar surprised locals and tourists.

It was first noticed by a food delivery man at about 9am who then called the emergency line.

Aizat said that five Civil Defence Force personnel arrived at the location at 9.12am to capture the animal.

“When we arrived, the animal was in a state of fear and we were worried it would act aggressively and harass road users.
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It was then that the animal was shot dead in a bush. – The Vibes, October 15, 2021

https://www.thevibes.com/articles/news/44683/lost-wild-boar-shot-dead-at-penangs-gurney-drive

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Canberra, Australia: Durian smell at Dickson shopping precinct causes fear of a gas leak!

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The tenant above one of the shops had durian in his place.

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Fri, October 15, 2021, 2:50 PM

Canberra firefighters rushed to a store in Australia’s capital Friday after reports of a gas leak — only to find the smell was caused by the penetrating waft of durian fruit.

Emergency responders instructed the public to avoid the area as they hunted in vain for the source of the leak at the Dickson shopping precinct.

“After an hour on scene” Canberra’s emergency services agency said “the owner of a tenancy above the shops advised of the potential source of the incident.”

“It was not a gas leak, but in fact a Durian fruit. The fruit gives off a very pungent smell and can waft some distance.”

Grown across tropical Southeast Asia, fans love the “king of fruits” for its bittersweet flavours and creamy texture.

But those less fond of the pungent produce compare its odour to rotting garbage — or in this instance a gas leak — and it is banned from many hotels and on public transport.

arb/oho

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SYDNEY: Canberra firefighters rushed to a store in Australia’s capital today after reports of a gas leak – only to find the smell was caused by the penetrating waft of durian fruit.

Emergency responders instructed the public to avoid the area as they hunted in vain for the source of the leak at the Dickson shopping precinct.

“After an hour on scene” Canberra’s emergency services agency said “the owner of a tenancy above the shops advised of the potential source of the incident.”

“It was not a gas leak, but in fact a Durian fruit. The fruit gives off a very pungent smell and can waft some distance.”

Grown across tropical Southeast Asia, fans love the “king of fruits” for its bittersweet flavours and creamy texture.

But those less fond of the pungent produce compare its odour to rotting garbage – or in this instance a gas leak – and it is banned from many hotels and on public transport.

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