Australia

How one heatwave killed 'a third' of a bat species in Australia

The animals, also known as spectacled fruit bats, were unable to survive in temperatures which exceeded 42C.

In the city of Cairns, locals saw bats toppling from trees into backyards, swimming pools and other locations.

Wildlife rescuers found surviving animals clumped together, usually on branches closer to the ground.

"It was totally depressing," one rescuer, David White, told the BBC.

Last week, researchers from Western Sydney University finalised their conclusion that about 23,000 spectacled flying foxes died in the event on 26 and 27 November.

4 nations join PNG’s electrification initiative

As a result, PNG has invited Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United States to work together to support its enhanced connectivity and the goal of connecting 70 percent of its population to electricity by 2030.

Currently, only about 13 percent of PNG’s population have reliable access to electricity.

In a joint media conference today, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, along with his counterparts from Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the US said electricity lifts the living standards of communities in cities, towns and remote villages.

US, Aust, Japan commit to Indo-Pacific region

On 12 November, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) signed a Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to operationalize the Trilateral Partnership for Infrastructure Investment in the Indo-Pacific, announced in Washington, D.C., on 30 July. 

Australia to expand labour scheme to all Pacific countries

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and foreign minister Marise Payne say the current cap of 2-thousand places will be lifted, although the new limit is not a given.

Talks to allow Papua New Guinea to join the scheme have also been confirmed.

Australia will also establish a new Pacific office within its foreign ministry.

Australia to increase military and police cooperation in Pacific

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a new foreign policy strategy for the Pacific region, including increased military cooperation.

But Defence Minister Christopher Pyne told Fairfax Media this strategy also includes a new vessel to operate semi-permanently in the south west Pacific.

He said the ship could assist with preparation for and response to natural disasters and other resilience support.

Australia will also strengthen its links with police forces in the Pacific.

Australia lifting Pacific work scheme numbers

The assistant minister for international development and the Pacific, Anne Ruston, said under Australia's pledge to step up its relationship with Pacific nations it recognised that labour mobility was a key issue for them.

This was reflected in the 40 percent annual growth of the seasonal worker scheme, while a new Pacific labour scheme would also bring in 2000 workers over the next year, she said.

Pakistan cruise to series whitewash over Australia

Having dominated throughout Australia's tour of the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan inflicted more misery on Aaron Finch's side to complete a 3-0 success with five balls to spare.

Babar Azam starred again at the top of the order with his second half century of the series as Pakistan made a superb start under the lights, the hosts racing to 93-0 in the 13th over.

Babar's 50 came off just 40 balls and included a superbly executed upper cut for six off Nathan Coulter-Nile, the bowler only able to watch on as the ball sailed over the third-man boundary.

Better health services for PNGeans

In partnership with the National Department of Health, Australia is supporting Catholic Church Health Services (CCHS) and Anglicare to widen the health services offered at standalone sexual and reproductive health clinics across 18 provinces.

This is a true partnership, with Australia funding staff salaries and operations of facilities, PNG Government paying for medicines and the Catholic Church Health Services providing facilities.

Best of mates off field: Minister

Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Anne Ruston, said a mutual love for sport strengthens our two nations’ bilateral ties.

“The athletes showcased the best of what sport has to offer,” Minister Ruston said. 

“Australia and PNG may be fierce opponents on the field, but we are the best of mates off it.”

Minister Ruston said the Port Moresby matches marked the first time a women’s team competed alongside their male counterparts as the Australian PM XIII Women’s side.

New UN human rights chief blasts Australia over offshore processing

Michelle Bachelet included criticism of the centres on Nauru and Manus Island in her maiden speech at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The former president of Chile said the council had a responsibility to speak out against human rights violations without fear or favour.

She focused on migration in her address, saying an international agreement due to be signed this year provides for regional and international cooperation to set up prompt and humane reception for all arrivals.