Australia

Australia-NZ win bid to host FIFA World Cup

Their joint proposal beat a rival bid from Colombia to host the tournament which is being expanded to 32 teams.

Japan, who had also put forward a bid to stage the event, pulled out on Monday after they were ranked below the joint bid by world governing body FIFA's evaluation report.

The report highlighted the infrastructure and organisational advantages of the Australia/New Zealand bid which FIFA believed would make for a commercially successful tournament.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand was honoured to have been selected as co-hosts.

Victoria extends state of emergency as coronavirus cases spike

The move came a day after the state announced it would reimpose restrictions capping visitors to households to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10, starting Monday. The limits had been relaxed on 1 June to allow up to 20 people in households and public gatherings.

Victoria reported 19 new infections on Sunday, the fifth day of double digit-rises. The state has now had 1836 total confirmed cases, or a quarter of the cases in Australia, since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted.

Australia works with PIF to combat COVID-19 in the Pacific

This vital Forum initiative ensures the passage of humanitarian and medical supplies within the Pacific as we work together to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simon Kofe, Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers, welcomed the initiative and said: “Australia’s support will ensure that the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway will be able to deliver much needed humanitarian and medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its actions, Australia is working to achieve values of familial ties and care for neighbour’s key throughout the Pacific.”

Rare dinosaur identified in Australia

The elaphrosaur, whose name means "light-footed lizard", was related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor.

The five-centimetre (two-inch) vertebrae fossil was discovered during a dig near Cape Otway in Victoria in 2015.

It is the first elaphrosaur bone ever to be found in Australia.

The fossil was discovered by volunteer Jessica Parker, who was taking part in an annual dig led by Melbourne Museum.

Australians download COVIDSafe contact tracing app

The COVIDSafe smartphone app uses a Bluetooth wireless signal to exchange a "digital handshake" with another user when they come within 1.5m (4.9ft).

The app then logs this contact and encrypts it.

Users will be notified if they have had more than 15 minutes of close contact with another user who tests positive.

Australia has recorded 6,694 confirmed coronavirus cases and 80 deaths from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Court quashes Cardinal Pell's sexual abuse convictions

The ex-Vatican treasurer, 78, was the most senior Catholic figure ever jailed for such crimes.

In 2018, a jury found he abused two boys in Melbourne in the 1990s.

But the High Court of Australia quashed that verdict on Tuesday, bringing an immediate end to Cardinal Pell's six-year jail sentence.

The Australian cleric had maintained his innocence since he was charged by police in June 2017.

His case rocked the Catholic Church, where he had been one of the Pope's most senior advisers.

Smith captaincy ban over

That is a question that took on new relevance on Sunday after Smith's two-year leadership ban ended.

Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were suspended from cricket after a ball-tampering scandal on the 2018 tour of South Africa.

A scheme was cooked up to use sandpaper to doctor the ball, with Smith being aware of the plan but doing nothing to prevent it going ahead.

Disgraced by the incident, Smith was served with a one-year playing ban that began on March 29, 2018, with a further 12-month suspension from leading Australia in any format of the game.

Australia v NZ behind closed doors

Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed that fans will not be allowed into grounds to watch the three-match series, which starts on Friday at the SCG.

Ticket-holders will be given a full refund with no decision yet made over Australia's upcoming three-match Twenty20 international tour of New Zealand.

"Cricket Australia will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation at home and overseas before making a decision on Australian men's international matches beyond the Australian leg of the ODI tournament," said a statement.

Fundraiser for boy in bullying video hits $300,000

Yarraka Bayles posted the clip of her son, Quaden, crying after he was targeted at school for his dwarfism.

"This is what bullying does," she says in the video, in which her son also says he wants to end his life.

Now a GoFundMe page has raised 30 times more than its $10,000 target.

The page was set up by US comedian Brad Williams after the video went viral to raise money to send Quaden to Disneyland.

The National Rugby League's Indigenous All Stars team have also invited Quaden to lead out the side for their match against the Maori All Stars on Saturday.

Fire-hit Australia faces 'dangerous' downpours

Severe weather warnings for rain, winds and flooding have been issued for coastal areas of the eastern state.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned of "dangerous conditions" on Saturday and Sunday.

There has already been flooding in Sydney and other areas along the coast.

Friday was the wettest day recorded in well over a year in Sydney, where roads were closed and public transport delayed.

Other NSW towns faced flood waters as well, including Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour, where 280mm and 250mm of rain fell respectively.