Australia and Oceania

Australia warns of terror threat to Malaysia

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia has warned of a possible terror attack in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, urging travelers to be vigilant after a number of arrests. “Terrorists may be planning attacks in and around Kuala Lumpur,” Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in its latest advice issued late Sunday. “Attacks could be indiscriminate and may target Western interests or locations frequented by Westerners. You should be particularly vigilant at this […]

Fiji hit by ‘strongest ever’ cyclone

Photo grabbed from AFP/ Joshua Kuku Reports of power failure, state of natural disaster SUVA, FIJI (AFP)—Fiji was struck by its most powerful ever cyclone on Saturday, according to reports, as the island nation battened down the hatches with a curfew and evacuations. The category five super-storm hit the main island of Viti Levu overnight, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, with flights cancelled and evacuation centres activated earlier in the day. “As a nation, we […]

Australia and New Zealand urge China to refrain from stoking tensions in the South China Sea

SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) — Australia and New Zealand on Friday (February 19) urged China to refrain from further stoking tensions in the South China Sea after its apparent deployment of surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island. Tensions were escalated after China deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system to one of the disputed islands it controls in the South China Sea, Taiwan and U.S. officials said. “We know that the prosperity of an Australia and New […]

Australia warns Beijing over threat of conflict in South China Sea

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia urged China on Friday to refrain from the “militarization of islands” to avoid walking into a conflict, a day after the United States slammed Beijing for deploying missiles in the disputed South China Sea. China said Thursday it had weapons on one of the islands in the strategically important region, which US Secretary of State John Kerry said was evidence of an “increase of militarisation” and a “serious concern”. Prime Minister […]

5.8 magnitude quake shakes New Zealand’s Christchurch

  A  5.8 magnitude quake shook near New Zealand’s city of Christchurch on Sunday (February 14), according to the US Geological Survey. The USGS website said the quake was located 17 kilometers east northeast of Christchurch. New Zealand’s earthquake monitoring service, however, put the quake’s magnitude at 5.7 It hit just eight days short of the anniversary of the February 22, 2011 earthquake in the same region, which resulted in nearly 200 deaths and caused […]

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 […]