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29-Year-Old Indian origin Bus Driver Manmeet Alishera killed in Australia

Several passengers on board the bus at the time managed to escape via the rear doors

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Sydney, October 28, 2016: A 29-year-old bus driver of Indian origin was burnt to death on Friday while sitting behind the wheel in a shocking and senseless attack in Australia’s Queensland state.

A 48-year-old man at the scene was arrested after he allegedly climbed aboard the bus in Brisbane before “throwing some type of incendiary device at the driver”, Xinhua news agency quoted Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart as saying in Brisbane.

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“Sadly the driver, Manmeet Alishera, 29-year-old man, died as a result of his injuries,” Stewart said.

There is no evidence of any linkage to “terrorist type activities” or links to a racial motivation, Stewart said.

“While we don’t know the motivations at this stage, I want to reassure the community that we take these incidents very seriously,” Stewart said, adding counter-terror authorities were initially involved.

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Local media reported that Manmeet Alisher was a beloved Indian singer and prominent figure in Brisbane’s Punjabi community.

He was described as a soft spoken, courteous and genuine man.

Several passengers on board the bus at the time managed to escape via the rear doors “partly because of the heroic actions of a taxi driver who saw what was unfolding”, Stewart said.

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Six people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and minor injuries.

Queensland has been in mourning over the past week following the deaths of four people in Australia’s largest amusement park Dreamworld and the murder of a woman in Brisbane. (IANS)

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Queensland in Australia to Combat Diseases And Deaths Caused by Climate-change

Forecasters say southeastern Australia can expect more unusually warm and dry conditions in the coming months

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FILE - A dead tree stands near a water tank in a drought-stricken paddock located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

The Queensland state government in Australia is to fund a new program to help combat killer heatwaves and outbreaks of disease caused by climate change. Authorities are even discussing imposing tobacco-style taxes against carbon polluters. The initiative comes as the United Nation chief warned that if the world does not take serious action by 2020, it risks the fallout from “runaway climate change.”

The plan to tackle climate-related disease and deaths from heatwaves is part of the Queensland government’s efforts to cut the state’s carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

The strategy urges bureaucrats and executives to consider health impacts when assessing mining and energy projects. It also encourages the government not to subsidize “activities harmful to health and climate stability”.

It identifies heat stress among children and the elderly as the main concern for the future. Heatwaves are Australia’s biggest natural hazard, killing more people than droughts, floods and bush fires put together.

Other climate-driven health fears are “food and water insecurity, malnutrition, worsening [and] cardiovascular and respiratory” illnesses.

Fiona Armstrong, the head of the Climate and Health Alliance, which helped draw up the plan, said wild conditions can kill.

“You only need to look at the example of thunderstorm asthma in Melbourne a couple of years ago to see how these kinds of events, even though they might be predicted, can really take the sector and the community by surprise,” Armstrong said.

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Tire tracks left by a truck can be seen in a drought-stricken paddock on Kahmoo Station property, located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

Thunderstorm asthma can be triggered when storms play havoc with pollen, causing potentially fatal respiratory problems.

The Queensland plan also identifies the increased risk of mental illness among those affected by a worsening drought that has gripped much of eastern Australia, including much of Queensland and the entire state of New South Wales.

Queensland farmer Sid Plant said federal authorities are not doing enough.

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“Politicians do not seem to want to recognize that climate change is affecting Australia’s farmers. We are feeling the pain as early as anybody in the world. We are not living in the same climate that we were 20 years ago or 50 years ago,” said Plant.

Forecasters say southeastern Australia can expect more unusually warm and dry conditions in the coming months.

Some Australians doubt man’s influence on the climate, insisting that a shifting climate is part of a natural cycle. However, that remains a minority view. (VOA)

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