Australia

Victoria’s state of disaster extended ahead of ‘significant fire activity’ forecast

The declaration, which gives the state and emergency services additional powers, was put into place last Thursday.

Mr Andrews said the extension was needed to manage what was likely to be a significant increase in bushfire activity over the next 48 hours.

The state of disaster covers East Gippsland, the Alpine region and the state's north-east.

Authorities are urging people to leave the Alpine region and all areas east of Bairnsdale, in East Gippsland, as the fire danger once again ramps up.

Australia bushfires might burn for months, Morrison warns

At least 24 people have died since the fires began in September. Air quality in the capital Canberra was this weekend rated the worst in the world.

Mr Morrison announced the creation of a recovery agency to help those who have lost homes and businesses in the fires.

He has faced fierce criticism over the speed of his response to the crisis.

The weekend saw some of the worst days of the crisis so far, with hundreds more properties destroyed. Rural towns and major cities saw red skies, falling ash and smoke that clogged the air.

Australia claim series win

New Zealand wilted in the Melbourne heat at the MCG, where Australia wrapped up a crushing 247-run win on day four of the second Test on Sunday.

Blundell rallied for the Black Caps, celebrating his second Test hundred in three matches with a resilient 121 runs, but he had no support from his team-mates after Nathan Lyon (4-81) and James Pattinson (3-35) starred.

Marnus Labuschagne (1-11) ended Blundell's unforgettable innings late in the evening as Australia only required nine wickets to skittle New Zealand for 240 – Trent Boult not batting due to a fractured finger.

Preliminary BOM results show Tuesday was Australia's hottest day on record

The average temperature across the country was 40.9 degrees Celsius, breaking the mark of 40.3C set in January 2013, but it's a record unlikely to last for long.

Temperatures were well over 45C for much of the interior — the location record (50.7C at Oodnadatta) is still safe — but the wide spread of exceptional heat meant the national average record was broken.

The heat is expected to keep building over the next few days as the air mass moves across the country.

     

Australia set to sizzle as temperatures likely to reach over 40 degrees

The current record of 50.7 degrees was set in January 1960 in the outback town of Oodnadatta in South Australia.

Temperatures have been high over the weekend in Western Australia.

Forecasters say the extreme heat is expected to affect the rest of the country in the coming week, with temperatures likely to exceed 40 degrees in many areas from Wednesday.

Australian firefighters are struggling with out of control bush fires as hot and dry weather continues.

Total fire bans are in place for parts of New South Wales with 100 bush fires currently burning.

Australia claim crushing win over Pakistan in first Test

Pakistan were bowled out for 335 in their second innings as Australia wrapped up victory inside four days in Brisbane.

Despite Babar Azam's brilliant century and a 95-run knock from Mohammad Rizwan, Australia were not to be denied – paceman Josh Hazlewood leading the way with figures of 4-63.

Pakistan resumed on 64-3 and faced a heavy defeat after man of the match Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner put Australia in a dominant position at 580, in reply to Pakistan's first-innings 240.

That'll do it!

Cardinal Pell granted final chance to challenge sexual abuse convictions

Pell was granted leave to appeal the verdict in the High Court of Australia.

The ex-Vatican treasurer, 78, is currently serving a six-year jail term for abusing two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

He lost his first challenge against his convictions in August and has consistently maintained his innocence.

Pell is the most high-ranking Catholic official in the world to be convicted of child sexual abuse.

Australian bushfires reach Sydney's suburbs

Scores of fires are still burning in New South Wales amid temperatures of 35C (95F) and winds of 80km/h (50mph).

A feared southerly wind change has now occurred but the "catastrophic" day feared has largely been avoided.

No deaths were reported on Tuesday but fire chiefs warned that conditions meant the dangers facing the state were far from over.

About six million people live in New South Wales (NSW) state.

The number of fires still afflicting NSW ranged from 100 to 300 in Australian media reports.

Australian states declare state of emergency over 'catastrophic' threat from bushfires

At least three people are dead and thousands have been displaced by three days of dangerous weather conditions in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland.

But officials say the worst danger will come on Tuesday for areas around Sydney, the nation's largest city.

More than 120 bushfires are burning across the two states.

In NSW, the blazes have scorched 970,000 hectares of land and destroyed 150 houses. Nine homes have been razed in Queensland.

Australia eases kava restrictions

The announcement of a kava pilot programme was made as Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, visited Fiji on Friday.

Mr Morrison said the amount of kava that can be imported for personal consumption will be doubled from two to four kilograms by the end of the year.

A pilot programme for commercial kava imports will also be implemented by the end of 2020.