Australia and Oceania

Second pregnant woman diagnosed with Zika in Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — A second pregnant woman has been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Australia, officials said Friday, adding that the disease was acquired overseas and there was no public health risk. The confirmation comes after a pregnant woman in the northern state of Queensland was diagnosed on Tuesday with the virus suspected of causing a surge in brain-damaged babies in Brazil. The latest case involves a woman from the state of Victoria […]

Man charged with allegedly attacking two female backpackers in Australia

COORONG NATIONAL PARK, Australia (Reuters) — A man was charged with the alleged rape, assault and attempted murder of two female foreign backpackers on Wednesday (February 10), local media reported. The attack happened on a remote stretch of beach at Coorong National Park on Wednesday, about 156 kilometers (97 miles) from the South Australian state capital city of Adelaide. According to local media, one of the women escaped from the attacker and was spotted by […]

Australia set to legalize cultivation of medical cannabis

CANBERRA, Australia (Reuters) — Australia is expected to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for medical or scientific purposes with a bill introduced to parliament on Wednesday (February 10), the first step towards doctors eventually prescribing it to patients with chronic pain. The bill will see Australia create a national licensing and permit scheme to supply medical cannabis to patients with painful and chronic conditions on clinical trials. Several Australian states have committed to starting trials […]

Report card on aboriginal Australian paints bleak picture

CANBERRA, Australia (Reuters) — Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday (February 10) said that the government was failing to meet a number of goals aimed at improving the lot of its embattled aboriginal population as he released its tenth annual report card on indigenous issues. Just two of seven targets in the 2016 Closing the Gap report, which outlines the government’s record in meeting its own targets on issues such as infant mortality, life […]

Australian court paves way for deportation of infant asylum seekers

Australia’s High Court threw out a challenge to the country’s offshore immigration detention camps on Wednesday (February 3), clearing the way for the deportation of dozens of infants born in Australia to detained asylum seekers. The court rejected a legal test case brought by an unidentified Bangladeshi woman who challenged Australia’s right to deport detained asylum seekers to the tiny South Pacific island nation of Nauru. “Now the legality is one thing, the morality is […]

Severe storm causes flash flooding in Geelong

Buildings were damaged and cars submerged on Wednesday (January 27) as a severe storm caused flash flooding in the Victorian city of Geelong. Local media reported that the State Emergency Service (SES) received almost 500 calls for help with 18 people rescued and residential homes and commercial properties damaged. On Thursday (January 28) the clean up continued with home owners and restaurant workers returning to survey the damage. “It stopped raining, the streets start to […]

Authorities to review anti-corruption unit after match-fixing scandal

Tennis officials on Wednesday (January 27) launched an independent review into their anti-corruption practices after allegations the sport’s watchdog, the Tennis Integrity unit (TIU), had been ineffective in stamping out corruption in the game. The announcement at the Australian Open came in the wake of media reports on the first day of the tournament that 16 players, who have been ranked in the top 50 had been repeatedly flagged to the TIU over suspicions they […]

Australian Foreign Minister, condems “horrific attacks” in Jakarta

Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop condemned the attacks that took place in Jakarta on Thursday (January 14), and has offered assistance if Indonesia asks for it. “I confirm that the Australian Government condemns these horrific attacks and that we stand with Indonesia in countering terrorism and we’ll do what we can to support them in the investigation as to how this occurred and who is responsible. I have been able to confirm that at this […]

Australian police say operation underway at Sydney Opera House

A police operation was underway at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday (January 14) , police said, with at least one ferry leaving the area cancelled and media reporting that people were being cleared away from the site. A police spokeswoman said an operation was going on but could not provide any details. “Basically, we were doing a bit of steel work in the basement of the Opera House about 20 minutes ago and about […]

Australia knocks back Washington over more help against Islamic State

Australia on Thursday (January 14) said that it had denied a request from the United States for a greater military commitment against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq made in the wake of the November attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its battle against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, has been one of the largest contributors to the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the […]

Australian fire crews tackle fire burning through 150,000 tyres at tyre yard

Fire crews were called in to tackle a fire on Monday (January 11) at a tyre yard that saw 150,000 up in flames, creating a smoke plume visible from Melbourne’s central business district kilometers away. Staff from the yard and the nearby industrial area were evacuated as the Metropolitan Fire Brigade deployed dozens of trucks with more than 100 firefighters tackling the blaze from the ground, local media reported. Firefighters on the ground struggled struggled […]

Freight train carrying sulphuric acid derails in Australia’s outback

A freight train loaded with sulphuric acid derailed on Sunday (December 27) near Julia Creek in Australia‘s outback. Local media reported the 26-carriage train carrying about 200,000 liters as having come off the tracks and spilling small amounts of acid and some diesel fuel. Police have set up an exclusion zone and three people sustained minor injuries, Australia media reported.