Two sharks, believed to be Great Whites, have been spotted in Auckland’s Hauraki Bay this morning. Photo / Getty Images
Further shark reports on a second beach east of Auckland came after swimmers were warned to stay out of the water after two large sharks – one the size of a small boat – were spotted near shore this morning.
And, for the second day running, sharks were spotted off Muriwai Beach on Auckland’s west coast, triggering a warning for beachgoers.
This morning the Auckland Council warned swimmers and recreational boats on the East Coast to exercise caution after confirmation of the location.
Now another sighting further south on Maraetai Beach has emerged from a couple who saw a large fin cut through the water around 8 a.m.
At least two sharks, believed to be great white sharks, have been seen just 600m from shore.
Someone who was out in the water and saw the couple said they were at least 5m long, measuring slightly less than his specialty.
“We were in a boat that was 26 feet (8 m) long and next to one of them,” said Boatie, who asked not to be identified.
“They were huge. We went back in. We didn’t want to be out there, to be honest.”
He said he informed the Coastguard about the harm they caused.
“We are more worried about the kids on the beach and the people on the jet skis,” he said.
The last suspected sighting of a shark occurred this morning when a couple on the coastal trail of the Maraetai Beachlands saw a large fin zooming through the water.
“While returning between 8-8.30am we saw a large bluefin moving very fast in the waters of the Maraetai towards the Omana Esplanade,” said Deepali Kohli.
He said there was a possibility that the threat was much wider than the East Coast.
For a second day, swimmers and surfers at Muriwai Beach have been warned of a new threat after Auckland’s popular west coast was cleared due to yesterday’s shark sightings.
A warning was posted on the Auckland Council’s Safeswim website this morning, advising against swimming at Muriwai Beach.
It said sharks had been spotted and had to be careful.
Tensions in Myanmar are at an all-time high after the country’s military seized power in a coup Monday morning, detaining democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior members of the government.
Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won a landslide victory in the country’s November elections, winning more than 80 percent of the vote.
The military coup comes as the country’s new parliament meets for the first time, with generals justifying the power struggle accusing widespread electoral fraud that resulted in the army imposing a year of emergency.
As a military convoy rushed towards the path of the soldiers who had blocked the road to the Myanmar parliament, a sports teacher was unwittingly caught on camera.
The teacher is seen dancing to cheerful techno music, apparently oblivious to the fact that a military takeover is taking place right behind him.
The footage was originally posted to Facebook by Khing Hnin Wai, a sports teacher at the Ministry of Education who regularly posts exercise videos from the same location in Naypyidaw. The video has been verified by Storyful.
Footage of the coup shocked social media viewers after telephones and internet in the capitals of Naypyidaw and Yangon were interrupted and state TV turned off after leaders from the NLD party were arrested.
Troops lined the streets of Yangon’s commercial center as residents rushed to stockpile supplies from markets and others connected at ATMs to withdraw cash, before banks cut service due to poor internet connections.
The coup has sparked international outrage, with many world leaders condemning Myanmar’s military and calling for the release of Suu Kyi and other detained officials.
Citizens were urged to protest
Suu Kyi has not been heard or seen since the military took control, but the statements she wrote in anticipation of the coup were published on the NLD’s verified Facebook page.
“The military action is an act of bringing the country back under a dictatorship,” read the statement, which contained Suu Kyi’s name but was not signed.
“I urge the people not to accept this, to respond and with all my heart to protest the coup by the military.”
The statement was issued by party chairman Win Htein, who in a handwritten note at the bottom emphasizes that it is genuine and reflects Suu Kyi’s wishes.
“In my life, I swear, that this request to these people is Aung San Suu Kyi’s genuine statement,” he wrote.
Some pro-military supporters celebrated the coup by parading through Yangon in pick-up trucks and waving national flags, but others were shocked.
“Our country is a bird that has just learned to fly. Now the army is breaking our wings,” student activist Si Thu Tun told Reuters.
The aerobics teacher in Myanmar records her routine dance as her camera captures a military convoy on its way to overthrow Myanmar’s democratically elected government. pic.twitter.com/OKoh4sf1Mz
Mobs of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand protested in front of their embassy after the news broke on Monday.
Dressed in red, the color of the NLD, Myanmar protesters in Bangkok held up a poster of the military commander reading “Shame on you, dictator”.
“I woke up today and saw the news that Ms. Suu was arrested. I want her to be released,” one protester told Thai media.
“The army ruled our country for 50 years and we suffered.”
About two dozen riot police attempted to disperse the protest, clashing with protesters.
A police spokesman said several people were detained for questioning after Thai protesters threw stones and colored smoke bombs.
Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?
Suu Kyi, 75, is a hugely popular figure in Myanmar for her persistent stand against the military.
In 1991, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his decision to challenge the country’s military rule and he was heralded as a beacon for human rights.
His opposition to the military saw him spend nearly 15 years under house arrest, between 1989 and 2010.
In 2015, his party won a landslide victory, but the constitution prohibited him from becoming president. Despite this, he is widely considered to be the country’s de facto leader.
Suu Kyi’s international image was torn during her time in power after she defended a military-backed crackdown in 2017 against the country’s Rohingya Muslim community.
About 750,000 Rohingya were forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh during the campaign, which UN investigators say constituted genocide.
Despite this, he still has many supporters in Myanmar, which saw him win a landslide victory in the 2020 elections.
Who is Min Aung Hlaing?
General Min Aung Hlaing is the head of Myanmar’s military and arguably the most powerful individual in the country.
The 64-year-old became commander of the country’s military in 2011, when Myanmar began a transition to democracy after decades of military rule.
When the NLD won the election in 2015 and came to power, she appeared to be adapting to the transition, appearing on various shows with Suu Kyi.
However, he did ensure the military continues to have government influence by holding 25 percent of parliamentary seats.
In 2017, he was criticized for a military crackdown on the Rohingya ethnic minority, whose operations he supervises.
It was General Hlaing’s comments after the 2020 elections that raised fears of a planned military coup.
He said revoking the constitution ruled by the 2008 junta could be “necessary” under certain circumstances following allegations of voter fraud.
General Hlaing’s comments, translated into English and published in the army-run Myawady newspaper, sent shockwaves through a youthful democracy, which is only a decade out of the grip of 49 years of military dictatorship.
What is happening right now?
With a one-year state of emergency now in effect in Myanmar, all power has been transferred to General Hlaing.
Myint Swe, a former general who runs Yangon’s powerful military command and current vice president of Myanmar, will become acting president for next year.
However, it will be the military commander running the show.
In a statement read on military-run Myawaddy TV signed by Swe, he said “legislative, judicial and executive powers” had been transferred to General Hlaing, effectively returning Myanmar to military rule.
The army then promised to hold new elections after a year-long state of emergency.
“Free and fair multiparty elections will be held and then the responsibility of the state will be left to the winning party,” said a statement on the military’s official Facebook page.
No matter what happens next, the general will try to “pile up the game in his favor”, said Herve Lemahieu of Australia’s Lowy Institute.
Governments around the world have condemned the military coup, with New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, the US, Canada and Singapore just a few countries that have expressed concern.
US President Joe Biden has warned of a return to sanctions for Myanmar if the military does not back down.
“The United States will defend democracy wherever it is attacked,” Biden said, demanding that the military “immediately relinquish the powers they have taken”.
View of the Waikeria Prison where the inmates are on the roof mattress that had been burning since last night. Photo / Provided
Emergency services remain at the Waikeria Prison this morning after arriving yesterday to negotiate with inmates out of control on the burning mattress on the roof.
The Specialist Advanced Control and Control Team, made up of staff from various prisons, has been in the prison where inmates rioted since Tuesday afternoon.
It is understood that the situation is ongoing this morning, but Correction has not provided an update. Photos emailed to NZME late at night showed huge smoke clouds visible from neighboring farmland.
Police, firefighters and St. John were at the scene yesterday as Correction officers continued to try to negotiate with the inmates and ensure the safety of everyone in the prison.
A spokesman said 19 detainees had been seen on the roof of the building. This includes those who were involved in lighting the fire on the previous page today, along with several other people who were able to get out of their cells with assistance.
“Prisoners can access some parts of the building by penetrating the roof space, but their movement inside the building is restricted by internal gates, barriers and secure doors.
“There was a large amount of smoke around the building coming from the mattresses burned by the prisoners.”
Although there is no threat to public safety, Corrections staff have transferred 49 inmates from one unit to another in the prison while the incident continues.
“There are about 230 prisoners in total in the ‘top prison’ facility and we will not hesitate to evacuate further detainees if necessary to keep them safe.”
FENZ was initially summoned to Waikeria after inmates lit several fires in the prison’s practice yard on Tuesday afternoon.
About 20 prisoners were using the courtyard at the time.
The situation was thought to be under control before the nine detainees refused to comply with the instructions, Newshub reported.
The perpetrators allegedly removed the toilet door from their hinges and used it as a weapon against staff.
Correctional Association President Alan Whitley said the union is offering support.
“We are always concerned about people when situations like this occur, but we have a special team that has special training, they are professional people and they will do a professional job to control the situation,” Whitley told RNZ.
St John’s staff treated a number of staff and inmates for smoke inhalation. Earlier in the evening, it was thought that at least one inmate was bleeding after an argument with guards.
One detained inmate said riots in the prison were imminent, with inmates protesting for human rights. They claim there are problems in the prison, including toilet paper that is taking days, Newshub reports.
Last year, two Waikeria Prison Correction officers were punched in the face within days, while clashes between prisoners have also been reported.
An inmate punched an officer in the face and another officer was also injured when he stepped in to help.
The fight occurred after an officer was threatened and punched a few days earlier.
There have also been previous reports of inmates fighting amongst themselves.
The Waikeria Prison is one of New Zealand’s largest prisons, located on a 1,200ha site south of Te Awamutu in the Waikato region.
The ‘top prison’ where convicts currently reside were built in 1911 and are the oldest part of the prison. It was replaced by a new facility under construction at the prison and which is slated to open in 2022.