Rugby League World Cup: Australia and New Zealand pull out of tournament

Australia and New Zealand have pulled out of the Rugby League World Cup because of “player welfare and safety concerns” related to Covid-19. The men’s, women’s and wheelchair events are scheduled to take place in England this autumn. New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) chief Greg Peters said it was “simply too unsafe” to take part. Rugby Football League (RFL) chairman Simon Johnson called it a “selfish, parochial and cowardly decision”. “We are very unhappy with this decision and we are not prepared to take it lying down.” NZRL chief Peters said the decision to withdraw was made because the safety … Continue reading Rugby League World Cup: Australia and New Zealand pull out of tournament

Quade Cooper denied Australian citizenship despite playing for national rugby team

New Zealand-born rugby union star Quade Cooper has been refused Australian citizenship – despite playing for the national team on 70 occasions. The former Wallabies fly-half, who has lived in Australia since the age of 13, described the moment his application was rejected on Tuesday as “awkward”. The 33-year-old played for the Wallabies between 2008 and 2017, including two rugby union World Cups. Cooper was permitted to play for the national team because of his residency. However, he was denied the opportunity to play for Australia at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro because he did not have … Continue reading Quade Cooper denied Australian citizenship despite playing for national rugby team

NZ farmer convicted for animal neglect after 226 sheep are euthanised

A New Zealand farmer has been convicted of mistreating his sheep after 226 of them had to be euthanised. The animals were found to be severely malnourished and ill and were put down. Famer Bevan Scott Tait had pleaded guilty although his defence said he had been suffering from depression and had not received enough support. On Monday, he was sentenced to nine months home detention and 150 hours community work under the Animal Welfare Act. He will also be barred from managing or owning farm animals for four years. Mr Tait’s farm in Russock Creek at the southern end … Continue reading NZ farmer convicted for animal neglect after 226 sheep are euthanised

Australia’s Sydney Airport gets $16.7bn takeover offer

The owner of Australia’s busiest airport has received a A$22.26bn ($16.7bn; £12.1bn) takeover offer. Sydney Airport said the proposal, which is below its pre-pandemic stock market valuation, was being reviewed. Its shares jumped by more than 30% after the buyout approach was announced – a move seen as a sign of confidence in air travel recovering post-pandemic. If the planned purchase is successful it would be the biggest such deal in the country this year. A consortium made up of IFM Investors, pension fund QSuper and Global Infrastructure Management tabled the offer of A$8.25 a share, which is a more … Continue reading Australia’s Sydney Airport gets $16.7bn takeover offer

Update: Australia moves refugee family after criticism

Australia has released a refugee family from Christmas Island, after their youngest child was flown to the mainland for medical care. The family will now be allowed to live together in Perth while they pursue legal action related to their immigration status. Four-year-old Tharnicaa Murugappan was evacuated to a Perth hospital last week after contracting a blood infection. Her medical condition reignited public concern for the family’s welfare. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said the father, Nades, and eldest child, Kopika, 6, would be flown to Perth on Monday where they can join Tharnicaa and mother, Priya. The family has been … Continue reading Update: Australia moves refugee family after criticism

Just Insensitive: Producer resigns from New Zealand movie after backlash

The producer of a movie about the Christchurch terror attacks in New Zealand has pulled out of the project after mounting criticism over the film. Philippa Campbell apologised for her involvement and said she had not realised the hurt the film would cause. The proposed movie, They Are Us, is supposed to focus on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s role during the 2019 shooting at two Christchurch mosques. The shooting was New Zealand’s worst terrorist attack and killed 51 people. “I have listened to the concerns raised over recent days and I have heard the strength of people’s views,” Ms Campbell … Continue reading Just Insensitive: Producer resigns from New Zealand movie after backlash

Developing Story: Australia power station explosion leaves thousands without electricity

Hundreds of thousands of people across the Australian state of Queensland were left without electricity after an explosion at a power station. Energy companies are now scrambling to restore power while local officials have warned of traffic “chaos”. CS Energy said the fire broke out in the station near the town of Biloela around 13:45 local time (03:45 GMT). About 250,000 customers have had their electricity restored, but many are still without power, said the ABC. Continue reading Developing Story: Australia power station explosion leaves thousands without electricity

At least four injured in supermarket stabbing

At least four people have been injured, three of whom are now in critical condition, after a stabbing attack at a New Zealand supermarket. The stabbing took place at a Countdown supermarket in central Dunedin on South Island in the afternoon. One person has been taken into custody, authorities said. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the motivation behind the attack was not clear but that there was no indication it was a domestic terror event. Incidents of mass violence are rare in New Zealand but the country saw the 2019 Christchurch shooting when a white supremacist killed more than 50 … Continue reading At least four injured in supermarket stabbing

What?: New Zealand airport worker tests positive, one day after bubble opens

An Auckland airport worker has tested positive for Covid-19 a day after New Zealand opened a reciprocal travel bubble with Australia. The case appears to be unrelated to the travel bubble though, and flights with Australia have not been suspended. Thousands of passengers flew between the two nations on Monday for the first time in more than a year. New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern said the infected person had been cleaning planes from “high risk countries”. She told reporters that the worker had been fully vaccinated, adding that while the jab did not fully eliminate the risk of getting infected, … Continue reading What?: New Zealand airport worker tests positive, one day after bubble opens

Aide fired after Parliament House ‘sex videos’ shock Australia

The crisis engulfing Australia’s “toxic” politics has continued to grow following the emergence of videos showing staff members performing sex acts in parliament, leading to one senior aide being fired. One video showed the aide performing a sex act on a female MP’s desk. Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the videos as “disgraceful”. It comes after a former staff member revealed how she feared losing her job following an alleged sexual assault. Brittany Higgins alleges she was raped by senior colleague in an office in March 2019, but says she felt pressured not to report the incident to police. It … Continue reading Aide fired after Parliament House ‘sex videos’ shock Australia

Sex consent app proposal sparks backlash

Australians have derided a suggestion by the News South Wales (NSW) police commissioner that an app could be used to register sexual consent. On Thursday, Mick Fuller championed the idea of an app where people could digitally record their mutual agreement to have sex. He said the technology could be used to establish “positive consent”. But many people have criticised the proposal as short-sighted and potentially open to abuse. Concerns have also been raised about whether it could be used for state surveillance. In recent weeks, Australians have reignited a national discussion about sexual assault, abuse and harassment of women, … Continue reading Sex consent app proposal sparks backlash

Tsunami warnings lifted after New Zealand earthquake

Three powerful earthquakes struck off the coast of New Zealand on Friday, triggering tsunami warnings that were later stood down. Evacuation orders were issued for residents living in coastal areas of the North Island after the third and strongest earthquake hit. The national emergency agency warned of a tsunami threat along the east coast, there were reports of chaos in some towns as hundreds of people tried to reach higher ground. But by Friday afternoon, authorities said the largest waves had passed. Residents were told they could return home but were warned to stay off beaches. The South Pacific archipelagos … Continue reading Tsunami warnings lifted after New Zealand earthquake