Australia and Oceania

Briton John Beeden becomes first person to row the Pacific Ocean solo and non-stop to Australia

British adventurer John Beeden on Sunday (December 27) became the first person to row solo non-stop from North America to the Australian mainland, local media reported. Beeden rowed more than 7,400 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean, after leaving San Francisco in his six-metre boat “Socks II” on June 1 this year. The 53-year-old Briton has been rowing for up to 15 hours a day, local media said. Beeden, an ex-Sheffield rower who now lives […]

Australian PM: Whaling spat shouldn’t be allowed to hurt Japan ties

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed disappointment during a speech in Tokyo on Friday (December 18) at Japan’s resumption of whaling in the Southern Ocean, but said the dispute over the hunt should not be allowed to hurt the two countries’ special strategic ties. Japan’s whaling fleet set out for the Antarctic this month to resume a hunt for the mammals, ending a year-long hiatus following an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Japan […]

South Australia bushfire threat eases after at least 87 properties damaged

(Reuters) — South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill confirmed on Friday (November 27) that at least 87 properties have been damaged or destroyed in South Australia’s Mid North as the fire threat eased. Roads were reopened by South Australian Police on Thursday (November 26), allowing residents to return to their homes and assess damage. “She was flying, absolutely flying, we had five minutes from when we got back here to get what we could get out […]

Malcolm Turnbull is sworn in as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister

  (Reuters) — Malcolm Turnbull, an urban former investment banker who supports marriage equality and action on climate change, was sworn in as Australia’s 29th prime minister on Tuesday (September 15), a day after ousting longtime rival Tony Abbott in a party room coup. Turnbull, a Rhodes Scholar who previously led the Australian Republican Movement, was sworn in by Cosgrove, the representative of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Australia’s head of state. “Mr. Turnbull, I invite you […]

Mixed opinions in Australia after Malcom Turnbull topples Prime Minister Tony Abbott

(Reuters) — Australia woke on Tuesday (September 15) to the news that the ruling Liberal Party voted to oust Tony Abbott as prime minister in favour of Malcolm Turnbull, a multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur who is hugely popular with the electorate. Abbott was deposed late on Monday (September 14) following months of opinion polls that showed his popularity with the public near rock bottom as Australia’s $1.5 trillion economy struggles to cope with the end […]

Turnbull topples Abbott, to become Australia’s fifth PM in eight years

(Reuters) — Australia will have its fifth prime minister in eight years after the ruling Liberal Party on Monday (September 14) voted out Tony Abbott in favour of longtime rival Malcolm Turnbull, following months of infighting and crumbling voter support. Turnbull, a multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur, won a secret party vote by 54 to 44, Liberal Party chief whip Scott Buchholz told reporters after the meeting in Canberra. Australia is set to hold elections before […]

Australia’s Abbott ousted as Prime Minister by cabinet member Turnbull

      (Eagle News) — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was ousted as leader of the Liberal Party late Monday night Sept. 14,  in a hastily-arranged party leadership ballot where his cabinet minister, Malcolm Turnbull, edged him out by just 10 ballots. Turnbull got 54 votes over Abbott’s 44, making him Australia’s 29th prime minister. The Liberal Party however retained Julie Bishop as deputy leader after she won in ballots with 70 votes over […]

Australia, wary of regional instability, eyes closer U.S. security ties

AUGUST 27 (Reuters) — Australia will seek to broaden and deepen its security alliance with the United States in the decades ahead as the rise of China and other Asia-Pacific powers risks fueling instability in the region, Australia’s defense minister said on Thursday (August 27). Foreshadowing a strategic defense white paper due later this year, Kevin Andrews said world economic and military power was shifting to the Asia-Pacific. “But growth in the region will be […]

Australia unveils new emissions reduction target ahead of Paris talks

(Reuters) — Conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday (August 11) announced cuts to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions that were immediately criticized by environmental groups and opposition politicians for lagging far behind other advanced economies. The world’s largest exporter of coal and iron ore will cut emissions by 26-28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030, Abbott said, a target that will be submitted as part of negotiations on a global climate deal in Paris at […]

Bushfire continues to burn in Australia’s Blue Mountains

  (Reuters) — A bushfire fuelled by strong winds continued to burn in Australia’s Blue Mountains for a second day on Sunday (August 2). Hundreds of fire-fighters were battling the blaze, assisted by helicopters dropping water onto flames that cannot be easily reached by vehicles, local media said. Although no homes are directly threatened, a Watch and Act alert has been issued for residents to monitor if these conditions change, Australian media reported. “Hopefully we […]

Graffiti Catcher

(Reuters) Sydney is deploying a high-tech system that literally sniffs out vandals on its rail network. The CEO of Sydney Trains, Howard Collins, calls the new system Mousetrap. “So our new operation, Mousetrap, is what it says it does. It detects, covertly, people vandalising our trains,” he said. When a graffiti attack is taking place, a sensor in the carriage acts like an electronic nose, detecting the presence of paint fumes. An alarm is sent […]

Australia’s Abbott confident officials acted within the law on asylum seekers’ issue

JUNE 16 (Reuters) — Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott said on Tuesday (June 16) he was confident Australian agencies acted “within the law” as calls grew for an inquiry into reports that officials paid people smugglers thousands of dollars to turn the their boat carrying asylum seekers back to Indonesia. “I am absolutely confident that at all times Australian agencies have acted within the law,” Abbott said. “Does that mean that that did happen?,” asked […]