SS Iron Crown: WW2 shipwreck found off Australia

The SS Iron Crown was sunk by a torpedo in World War Two

The wreck of an Australian ship sunk by a Japanese submarine in World War Two has been found after 77 years, officials say.

The SS Iron Crown, a naval freight ship, was hit by a torpedo off the state of Victoria in 1942, killing 38 people. Its five remaining crew members survived.

The ship sank within 60 seconds of the attack in Bass Strait.

Maritime archaeologists called the find “an event of national significance”.

A search team from the Australian National Maritime Museum located the shipwreck about 100km (60 miles) off Victoria.

Measuring about 100m (330ft) long, the ship was found upright and “relatively intact” about 700m below the ocean surface, officials said. Its bow, railings and anchors were also found in place.

Underwater stills show the ship's intact bow, anchors and anchor chains
The ship’s bow and anchors were found intact

The team used sonar devices and a drop camera to scour the seabed and map the site.

Peter Harvey, a maritime archaeologist for Heritage Victoria, said it was the only ship to have been sunk by a torpedo in the state’s waters.

It had been transporting ore from South Australia to New South Wales when it was attacked. The five survivors were rescued from the water by another ship.

“Locating the wreck after 77 years of not knowing its final resting place will bring closure for relatives and family of those that were lost at sea,” Mr Harvey said.

Its oldest surviving crew member died in 2012. George Fisher told historians in 2003 that the attack had been “one of the saddest” events of his life, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The wreck’s exact whereabouts have not been revealed in order to protect the site.

Authorities said they planned to hold a memorial service there.

Australian father and son lifesavers drown in tourist rescue bid

The Twelve Apostles are a popular attraction in the rugged Port Campbell National Park, Victoria

A father and son who were volunteer lifesavers have drowned while trying to rescue a tourist swept out to sea off the Australian state of Victoria.

The boat carrying Ross Powell, 71, and his son Andrew, 32, overturned as they tried to reach the man near limestone stacks known as the Twelve Apostles.

The 30-year-old tourist was winched to safety by a rescue helicopter along with a third lifesaver from the boat.

Australian PM Scott Morrison paid tribute to the Powells.

“Surf lifesavers are selfless and brave,” he said on Twitter.

“We thank them all for their service and extend our deepest sympathies to Ross and Andrew’s family and friends.”

Map locator

The incident has shocked the tourist town of Port Campbell, south-west of Melbourne, where the men were experienced members of the local surf lifesaving club. Floral tributes have been left at the club and flags there are flying at half mast, Australian media reported.

The tourist, who has not been named, was said to have got into difficulties while wading at the mouth of the Sherbrook River.

The lifesaving team set off in their boat but it flipped over in the rough surf, local officials said.

Andrew Powell’s partner, Amber Griffiths, described the father and son as “two of the most beautiful people to ever exist – always putting others first”.

The rescued lifesaver is in a serious condition in hospital, Australian media reported. The tourist suffered hypothermia and is in a stable condition.

Melbourne nightclub shooting leaves one dead, three injured

One man has been killed and three others wounded in a shooting outside a popular nightclub in the Australian city of Melbourne.

Three security guards from the Love Machine venue and a man queuing outside were shot in the incident on Sunday.

“It would appear that shots have been discharged from a car in this area into a crowd standing outside,” inspector Andrew Stamper told the media.

Police say there is no evidence to suggest the shooting is terror-related.

Mass shootings in Australia are rare. The country overhauled its gun laws after 35 people were shot dead in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996.

The country saw its worst incident since then last year when seven members of the same family died in a murder-suicide.

The man who died in the nightclub shooting has not been named, but local media report he is a 37-year-old security guard.

Police say the other men who were shot are aged 28, 29 and 50. The youngest is in a critical condition.

Victoria Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper described the injuries they sustained as “horrific”.

“This is just a horrendous act. It’s a busy nightclub, one of the main nightclubs in Melbourne in one of the main entertainment precincts in Melbourne,” he told a news conference.

No arrests have yet been made, and police have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

Australian newspaper The Age said investigators are likely to examine links to a motorcycle gang.

Scott Morrison made his announcement on Thursday morning after visiting the governor-general

Australia election announced: 10 things to know about the poll

Australians will vote in a general election on 18 May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

The poll will decide whether the conservative government wins a third term or is replaced by a Labor administration led by Bill Shorten.

All 151 seats in the House of Representatives will be contested, and half of the 76 seats in the Senate.

The election is expected to be hotly contested in several areas including climate change and the economy.

“[The election] will determine the economy that Australians live in, not just for the next three years, but for the next decade,” Mr Morrison said at a press conference on Thursday.

“We live in the best country in the world, but to secure your future, the road ahead depends on a strong economy,” he said. “That is why there is so much at stake.”

Here are some key things to know about the vote.

1. Voting in the election is compulsory

Unlike many other global democracies, Australia has mandatory voting for people aged 18 and over – or they risk a fine.

It ensures a high turnout: 95% of people voted in Australia’s last election. The most recent US and UK elections, by contrast, drew an estimated 55% and 66% respectively.

Advocates say it depolarises the vote and reduces the influence of lobby groups, though critics dispute this.

2. Leadership ‘madness’ may haunt the government

Mr Morrison only became prime minister last August after bitter party infighting ousted his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull.

In doing so, Mr Morrison became Australia’s fifth leader since 2013.

Australia’s decade of internal leadership coups

“It was a peculiarly Australian form of madness,” Mr Turnbull told the BBC in March, speaking about a coup culture which began with Labor in 2010.

It’s likely to harm the government’s standing with voters, predicts Prof Sally Young, a politics expert from the University of Melbourne.

“They’re sick of the sniping and undermining,” she says. “Knifing a leader – it never goes down well.”

3. Climate change could sway votes – but to what extent?

Australia has just endured a year of extreme weather events, including destructive floods, bushfires, cyclones and a severe drought. The past summer was the nation’s hottest on record.

It has made climate change a key election issue in some seats, experts say.

Farmer May McKeown feeds her remaining cattle on her drought-affected property located on the outskirts of the town of Walgett
Extreme weather has pushed climate change into voters’ minds, experts say

Last year, the government scrapped plans to set an emissions reduction target in legislation – prompting fierce criticism.

“Australia’s lack of action [on climate change] internationally is becoming more recognised within this country,” says Prof Young.

The University of Sydney’s Prof Marc Stears agrees, but says it’s unclear how it widely it will affect voting decisions.

4. In many ways, the main battle lines are familiar

Prof Stears says the major parties are already talking up their traditional strengths. That’s subjects like jobs and infrastructure for the government, and health and education for Labor.

They will compete fiercely on economic issues, with both parties promising policies aimed at reducing the cost of living,

Bill Shorten grins across the table at Scott Morrison in parliament
Bill Shorten has led the Labor opposition for six years

Although Australia’s economy is the envy of many countries, wages growth is flat, and there is a generational split in attitudes to house prices.

5. There’s much talk about a north-south divide

Mr Morrison is overseeing a minority government, meaning he can ill afford to lose support anywhere in the country.

Political observers say he faces challenges from the left and right – a debate that is often framed in geographical terms.

In the northern state of Queensland, experts say the government fears losing votes to more socially conservative minor parties and independents.

But in Victoria in the south, the electorate is perceived as more progressive. It delivered a resounding victory to Labor in a state election five months ago.

6. Will migration and refugee debates resurface?

During past elections, Australia’s major parties have employed tough rhetoric on immigration issues – particularly regarding asylum seekers.

It has often been used to appear strong on issues such as national security, says Prof Stears.

An Australian Navy vessel pictured beside an asylum seeker boat
Australia holds asylum seekers in offshore detention, under a controversial bipartisan policy

That debate resurfaced in February, however, Prof Stears believes that last month’s New Zealand mosque attacks may see politicians tone down such rhetoric.

7. There are signs of support for minor parties

Prof Young says there is some public cynicism about the major parties, pointing to possible increases in support for other candidates.

High-profile independent candidates have entered key races, and in New South Wales, a recent state election saw rises in minor party support in rural electorates.

8. Is there a risk of foreign interference?

In February, Mr Morrison said a “state actor” had carried out a cyber attack, on the parliament and political parties.

Authorities said there was no evidence of electoral interference, but security experts have urged vigilance.

Concerns about alleged foreign interference prompted Australia to introduce new laws last year.

Is China trying to influence Australian politics?

9. Citizenship checks should be water-tight

In 2017, several MPs were disqualified for unintentionally breaking a rule that lawmakers cannot be dual citizens when elected.

Fifteen parliamentarians were ousted, though six later managed to return after relinquishing their non-Australian citizenships.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was briefly ousted from parliament because of his dual citizenship

The saga sparked comprehensive checks of MPs’ statuses.

10. What do the opinion polls say?

Opinion polls in recent times have consistently put Labor in front on a two-party preferred basis.

However, those measures also say that Mr Morrison leads Mr Shorten as preferred prime minister.

Australia ‘egg boy’ clash: Senator cleared as teenager handed caution

An Australian senator acted in self-defence when he physically retaliated against a boy who had smashed an egg on the lawmaker’s head, police have ruled.

Video of last month’s clash involving Senator Fraser Anning went viral and sparked debate in Australia over who – if anyone – should face police action.

Police cautioned the 17-year-old boy, but said neither would face charges.

The incident happened after Mr Anning caused fury by blaming the New Zealand mosque attacks on Muslim migration.

Last week, the Senate censured Mr Anning for his comments, which he made on the day that dozens of Muslims were killed by a gunman in Christchurch.

The egg incident happened in the wake of the controversy when the teenager, Will Connolly, walked up behind the senator during a televised press conference.

Mr Anning responded by hitting the teenager before the lawmaker’s supporters tackled the boy to the ground and put him in a chokehold.

Will Connolly pinned to the ground by five men following his egg-cracking protest
Will Connolly was tackled to the ground

On Tuesday, authorities they had made a decision “not to charge” the senator.

“On assessment of all the circumstances, the 69-year-old’s actions were treated as self-defence and there was no reasonable prospect of conviction,” Victoria Police said in a statement.

The teenager had also avoided prosecution but would receive an “official caution”, they added.

Police said they were still searching for one man who allegedly kicked the teenager repeatedly while he was pinned to the ground.

Support for ‘egg boy’

Though some criticised the teenager’s actions at the time, he was largely celebrated online as a hero and quickly earned the nickname “egg boy”.

Street art of the "Egg Boy" incident in Indonesia
Street art of the incident in Indonesia

An online campaign raised more than A$80,000 (£43,000; $57,000) for any future legal proceedings he may encounter. The teenager was also offered concert tickets, praised by celebrities and featured in street murals.

“I understand what I did was not the right thing to do,” he told the local Ten network last month.

“However, this egg has united people.”

Mr Anning has not apologised for his comments about the massacre, despite a public backlash which saw 1.4 million people sign a petition demanding his resignation.

He was officially condemned by the Senate for seeking to “attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion”.

Great Barrier Reef: Mass decline in ‘coral babies’, scientists say

The number of new corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has plunged by 89% since unprecedented bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, scientists say.

The events, which damaged two-thirds of the world’s largest reef system, are now being blamed for triggering a collapse in coral re-growth last year.

“Dead corals don’t make babies,” said lead author Prof Terry Hughes, from Queensland’s James Cook University.

The scientists blame the problem on rising sea temperatures.

The research, published in journal Nature on Thursday, was carried out by a group of scientists last year.

It measured how many adult corals along the reef had survived following the mass bleaching events, and the number of new corals that had been produced.

“Across the length of the Great Barrier Reef, there was an average 90% decline from historical [1990s] levels of recruitment,” co-author Prof Andrew Baird told the BBC.

The study highlights the link between coral vulnerability and rising sea temperatures resulting from sustained global warming, and recommends increased international action to reduce carbon emissions.

Coral bleaching is caused by rising temperatures and occurs when corals under stress drive out the algae – known as zooxanthellae – that give them colour. If normal conditions return, the corals can recover. But it can take decades, and if the stress continues the corals can die.

‘Nothing left to replenish the reef’

Prof Baird said the “pretty extraordinary” decline was unexpected. It was most likely the reef’s first re-growth problem on a mass scale, he added.

A research tile tracking coral growth in the Great Barrier Reef
Scientists measured the number of coral “babies” in 2018

“Babies can travel over vast distances, and if one reef is knocked out, there are usually plenty of adults in another reef to provide juveniles,” Prof Baird said.

However, the bleaching in 2016 and 2017 affected a 1,500km (900 miles) stretch of the reef.

“Now, the scale of mortality is such that there’s nothing left to replenish the reef,” Prof Baird said.

The study also found that the mix of baby coral species had changed. It found a 93% drop in Acropora, a species which typically dominates a healthy reef and provides habitats for thousands of other species.

The researchers said coral replenishment could recover over the next five to 10 years if there were no future bleaching events.

However, given current estimates, this likelihood was “almost inconceivable”, said Prof Baird.

“We’ve gotten to the point now where local solutions for the reef are almost pointless – the only thing that matters is action on climate change,” Prof Baird said.

The reef – a vast collection of thousands of smaller coral reefs stretching from the northern tip of Queensland to the state’s southern city of Bundaberg – was given World Heritage status in 1981.

The UN says it is the “most biodiverse” of all the World Heritage sites, and of “enormous scientific and intrinsic importance”.

Indigenous Australians turned away from Adelaide Oval AFL match

A member of staff at Adelaide Oval’s box office says she was told not to sell Aboriginal people tickets to a sporting event.

The sports fans were attempting to see an Aussie Rules football match that celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander cultures last July.

The staff member claims she had to tell people the game was sold out.

Adelaide Oval apologised and said that directions from police were misinterpreted by staff.

The woman, employed by McArthur Recruitment, told ABC News that the box office supervisor “turned around and told everyone in the box office we’d been told not to sell tickets to any more Aboriginal people”.

A spokesperson for McArthur Recruitment said: “The ticket office staff followed the instructions of police and security and did not sell tickets to anyone for around an hour while the police and security managed the situation.

“Security returned to the box office after the incident to reiterate their instruction not to sell tickets to a number of people that they pointed out to box office staff.”

The woman said that she lied to some customers, telling them there were not any tickets left. She resigned from her post the following day.

A spokeswoman for South Australia Police told the BBC that they responded for a “request for assistance where some patrons attempting to enter Adelaide Oval, or purchase tickets to enter the ground, were clearly intoxicated.

“Police at no time made any direction to the ticket sales employees about the sale of tickets.”

Darren Chandler, General Manager of Operations at Adelaide Oval said: “It is extremely disappointing that a supervisor in the ticketing office misinterpreted a message from police and didn’t follow established protocols that would have clarified the situation.

“We are unequivocal in our stance that everyone is welcome at Adelaide Oval and we condemn discrimination in any form. We apologise to anyone affected and have taken steps to ensure this situation doesn’t arise again.”

News of the incident comes less than a month after Accor Hotels confirmed it was investigating claims that staff at one of its Australian hotels had been racially segregating guests.

UK man arrested fleeing Australia on jet ski, police say

A British man wanted on drugs charges has been arrested off a remote island in Australia while trying to flee the country on a jet ski, authorities say.

The 57-year-old was taken into custody on Saibai Island, just 4km (2.5 miles) south of Papua New Guinea, after travelling 150km from north Australia.

The man was found on mudflats and there were reports he had been carrying a crossbow and other supplies.

He is expected to be taken to Western Australia.

“This arrest sends a strong message to would-be fugitives – our reach across Australia is second to none,” an Australian Federal Police spokesperson said.

Police said the man, who has not been officially named, had launched his jet ski on Monday from Punsand Bay in Queensland.


The man was tracked by federal and state police on an Australian Border Force vessel.

Saibai Island is one of a string of islands in the Torres Strait which belong to Australia.

Australian naval vessels regularly patrol the Torres Strait, in part to enforce a controversial policy of turning back asylum seekers who attempt to reach the nation by boat.

Senator Pauline Hanson's chief of staff, James Ashby, was filmed in conversations in Washington DC

Australian gun laws: One Nation party ‘sought NRA money’ in US

A right-wing party in Australia discussed softening the nation’s strict gun laws as it sought donations from a US lobby group in a bid for greater political power, video recordings show.

Representatives from One Nation, an anti-Islam minor party, met with the National Rifle Association last year.

Australian PM Scott Morrison says the videos, secretly filmed by Al Jazeera, showed “deeply concerning” discussions.

One Nation has referred the media reports to police.

On Tuesday Mr Morrison asserted that Australia’s gun laws were the “world’s best”, adding “we will not be changing them”.

It comes in the aftermath of the killings of 50 Muslims in shooting attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern referenced Australia’s gun law reforms – swiftly introduced after a 1996 massacre – before announcing her own crackdown last week.

One Nation, led by Senator Pauline Hanson, won four seats in Australia’s 2016 election, but it has since been plagued by defections and infighting.

What are the allegations?

In September 2018, a journalist posing as a pro-gun activist secretly filmed Ms Hanson’s chief-of-staff, James Ashby, and another party figure, Steve Dickson, in Washington DC.

Mr Ashby is filmed saying he wants to raise A$20m (£11m; $14m). Mr Dickson says: “If we could get that amount of money, imagine, we could change Australia.”

He adds: “We are pro-guns and pro people in this party owning guns.”

It is unclear if the officials ultimately received donations.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is yet to comment

Al Jazeera reported the pair had approached the NRA and other conservative groups in the US, such as Koch Industries.

What has been the response?

Many Australian lawmakers expressed concern on Tuesday and called on Ms Hanson to explain the videos.

Mr Morrison tweeted: “Reports that senior One Nation officials courted foreign political donations from the US gun lobby to influence our elections & undermine our gun laws that keep us safe are deeply concerning.”

An independent senator, Derryn Hinch, said it was an “obscene” attempt to water down Australia’s gun laws.

A pile of guns handed in to authorities during Australia's gun amnesty in 2017
Unregistered weapons surrendered during a gun amnesty in Australia in 2017

The government said it also raised questions over whether One Nation may have breached laws which ban political donations from foreign groups.

On Tuesday, One Nation said it “strongly supports the rights of lawful gun ownership within Australia”.

It criticised Al Jazeera as a “propaganda arm of the Qatari government”, and said it had referred the news organisation to Australian police over “foreign interference” concerns. The high-profile media network has defended its editorial independence, in the past.

What are Australia’s gun laws?

Australia overhauled its gun laws after 35 people were killed in a mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996.

The changes banned semi-automatic and self-loading weapons, and introduced tougher requirements on purchasing guns.

Firearms must also be registered, and owners must have a licence.

The number of Australia’s mass shootings dropped from 11 in the decade before 1996, to two in the years since: the murder-suicide of a family of five in New South Wales in 2014, and the murder-suicide of a family of seven in Western Australia last year.

Gun control advocates have argued that aspects of Australia’s laws have been eroded in recent years.

Cyclone Veronica: Destructive winds and rain lash Australia

A second cyclone within 48 hours has brought destructive winds and torrential rains to coastal regions of Australia.

Cyclone Veronica lingered about 95km (60 miles) off the nation’s north-west coast on Monday, officials said.

Despite no longer being expected to make landfall, the category two system is moving slowly and has prompted warnings for locals to remain indoors.

Cyclone Trevor, a category four, hit the Northern Territory on Saturday.

Heavy rain and large waves whipped up by Cyclone Veronica threaten to cause widespread flooding in Western Australia, according to authorities.

An area stretching from Karratha to Port Hedland was enduring gale-force winds of more than 125km/h, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Similar conditions affected the Northern Territory on Saturday when Cyclone Trevor made landfall between the remote communities of Numbulwar and Borroloola.

Cyclone Veronica is near Port Hedland in Western Australia, after Cyclone Trevor made landfall in the Northern Territory on Saturday

In Western Australia, the strong winds snapped trees and caused minor power outages but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

Many locals had reinforced their homes with sandbags and stocked up on food and water supplies.

One woman who gave birth at a local hospital during the storm named the child Veronica, local network Nine reported.

‘Unusual’ twin occurrences

Cyclone Veronica was a category four before it was downgraded at the weekend.

“It really is quite unusual for two cyclones to happen at the same time, particularly two very strong systems,” meteorologist Steph Bond told the BBC, adding it had happened only twice in Australia’s history.

She attributed the timing to a climate phenomenon known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation creating “favourable” conditions for summer storms.

Cyclone Trevor also brought down trees and power lines after making landfall as a category four system.

Residents of McArthur River, a remote town in the Northern Territory, board a military plane during evacuations ahead of Cyclone Trevor.
Thousands of people were evacuated ahead of Cyclone Trevor

Authorities said it had caused no major injuries or significant damage to infrastructure, following the region’s biggest evacuation effort in nearly 50 years.

Thousands of people in remote communities relocated to regional centres ahead of the storm. Some began to return home on Monday.

Presentational grey line

Are you in the area affected by the cyclone? If it is safe to do so, please email,

Satellite imagery shows Cyclone Trevor approaching the northeast state of Queensland

Cyclone Trevor hits Australia’s northern coast, bringing torrential rains

A vast cyclone has crashed into Australia’s northern coast, bringing torrential rains and winds of up to 250km/h (155 mph).

Cyclone Trevor made landfall as a category four storm and officials have declared a state of emergency in some areas.

Another storm, Cyclone Veronica, is set to strike the country’s west coast.

Thousands of Australians have evacuated their homes in preparation for the two potentially devastating cyclones.

Destructive winds are expected, while heavy rains and large waves threaten to cause severe flooding.

Cyclone Oma hit Queensland in February, bringing severe flooding

It is only the second time in history that two cyclones are predicted to strike the country at the same time.

Tropical Cyclone Trevor hit the communities of Numbulwa and Borroloola in the Northern Territory on Saturday morning.

It was downgraded to a category three shortly after making landfall but officials have warned that it is still dangerous.

“There’s a concern that flash flooding may occur,” emergency operations official Michael Hebb told AFP news agency.

The storm could bring a year’s worth of rain in just a couple of days.

A map showing the areas where the two cyclones will hit in the Northern Territory and Western Australia
Trevor will hit communities along the coast in the Northern Territory, while Veronica is expected to strike between Port Hedland and Karratha in Western Australia

In the biggest ever evacuation ahead of a cyclone, people living in its the path have moved into tented sites in Darwin and Katherine.

Some of those who were evacuated say they are worried about what they will return to.

“We are only new to the area and the house we are in isn’t going to sustain the expected winds that are predicted,” Emily Crawford, who evacuated to Darwin, told AFP.

Emergency services and the military were called in to rescue residents from the island of Groote Eylandt, off the north coast on Thursday.

The last evacuation of a similar scale was for Tropical Cyclone Tracy, which killed 49 people in Darwin in 1974.

‘Massive weather event’

Cyclone Veronica is due to hit the northwest coast of Australia between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

Very strong gusts are expected and the Bureau of Meteorology in Western Australia said a “severe impact” is likely.

In the mining town of Port Headland, where the storm is set to strike first, supermarkets have been stripped bare as residents stockpile in preparation, ABC News reported.

The town’s mayor, Camilo Blanco, has warned residents to be ready for “this massive weather event” and people have been protecting their houses with sandbags.

“Tie down your stuff in your yard, go next door and make sure that your neighbours are ready,” Mr Blanco said.

Giant sunfish washes up on beach in South Australia

Pictures of a giant, odd-looking fish have gone viral after it washed up on a beach in South Australia.

Identified as an ocean sunfish by experts, the 1.8m (6ft)-long specimen was first spotted by a group of fishermen driving along the sand.

At first, they mistook it for a large piece of driftwood, said Linette Grzelak who posted pictures of her partner’s find on Facebook.

“I didn’t think it was real until I Googled sunfish,” she told the BBC.

Her partner, Steven Jones has worked as a fisherman for years so “he knew what it was but had never seen one in real life”, she said.

“Hence why they took the photos. He said it was extremely heavy and the skin was rough and leathery like a rhinoceros.”

Giant sunfish washes up on beach in South Australia

The fish was found at Coorong National Park, 80km (50 miles) south of the city of Adelaide. It’s believed to have later washed back into the ocean, Ms Grzelak said.

‘Just average-sized’

Ocean sunfish, or Mola mola, are the world’s heaviest bony fish species and can be found in temperate marine waters globally, according to the Fishes of Australia database .

Their features include a large, blunt head, a disproportionately small mouth, and long dorsal and anal fins.

One expert said the found fish appeared to be a smaller example of its species, which can grow over 4m (13ft) tall and weigh more than 2.5 tonnes (2,500kg).

“It’s probably an average-sized one, they can get nearly twice as big as that,” Ralph Foster from the South Australian Museum told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The species are harmless to people, but are sometimes mistaken for sharks when they swim inshore, says the Australian Museum.

In Australia, they have been known to cause damage to boats due to their size.

Last year, a vessel in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race had to retire from the race after hitting a sunfish and breaking its rudder.

Earlier this month, a rare hoodwinker sunfish washed up on a beach in California, It baffled scientists who questioned how the southern hemisphere species had travelled so far from its home waters.

Ramis Jonuzi was killed because he could not afford to pay for his room in an Airbnb property

Airbnb host jailed for killing guest over unpaid bill

An Airbnb host in Australia has been jailed for 11 years for killing a guest who could not afford to pay.

A jury convicted Jason Colton, 42, of 2017 killing of Ramis Jonuzi. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but denied murder.

A court heard two housemates had held the 36-year-old down, while Colton beat and strangled him for not paying the A$210 (£113, $149) he owed.

A judge described the attack as “cowardly, vicious and unprovoked”.

Mr Januzi, a 36-year-old bricklayer, had packed his bags and was about to leave the home when he was attacked.

Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said Colton instigated the violence.

“You lunged at him, grabbed him by the collar, spun him around, and threw him against the wall,” said the judge according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Colton was initially charged with murder, but prosecutors dropped the charge after he admitted to manslaughter.

He will be eligible for parole in eight years.

‘Brutal’ attack

During the trial in March, the Supreme Court of Victoria heard that Mr Januzi had rented the room in Brighton East, a suburb in Melbourne, to have a cheap and stable place to stay while he dealt with “personal issues”.

The bricklayer first rented the room for three nights from the three men – Colton, landlord Craig Levy and housemate Ryan Smart – before asking to extend his stay by a week for A$210.

Airbnb host jailed for killing guest over unpaid bill
The killing happened at a house in a suburb of Melbourne in October 2017

However when check-out day arrived, he had less than A$10 in his account and was unable to pay the bill.

Justice Hollingworth said Colton instigated the “brutal and one-sided” attack, and later downplayed his actions amid other lies he told police.

“Even after you were aware that he had died, you called Mr Jonuzi a scumbag, a piece of trash, a junkie, someone who deserved everything he got,” she said.

Prosecutors told the court that Colton beat his guest until he lost consciousness. The housemates then dragged him out in the garden where they continued the attack.

Colton had said he only wanted to cause Mr Jonuzi to pass out, not kill or seriously injure him.

Both Levy and Smart pleaded guilty to manslaughter in September last year. Smart received a nine-year jail sentence, while Levy was sentenced to seven and a half years.

Airbnb has previously said it was “deeply saddened and outraged” by the case, and that it had removed the listing from its site.

A policeman stands guard outside Al Noor mosque after the attacks

Christchurch shootings: Australian homes raided over NZ mosque attacks

Police have raided two homes in Australia as part of the investigation into the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Fifty people died and dozens were injured in the twin shootings on Friday.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder. He is believed to have acted alone in carrying out the attacks.

The suspect came from Grafton, 600km (370 miles) north of Sydney.

Authorities in New South Wales searched unidentified properties in the nearby suburbs of Sandy Beach and Lawrence on Monday morning.

“The primary aim of the activity is to formally obtain material that may assist New Zealand Police in their ongoing investigation,” said New South Wales police.

Australian media reported that one of the homes belongs to Brenton Tarrant’s sister. Police said his family in Australia were assisting with enquiries.

Christchurch shootings: Flowers and Haka in tribute

On Sunday, two members of the Tarrant family in Grafton told media they were “gobsmacked” by the shootings.

“We are so sorry for the families over there, for the dead and injured,” uncle Terry Fitzgerald told Nine News.

Suspect may represent himself in court

Brenton Tarrant appeared in a New Zealand court on Saturday on a single murder charge.

Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, makes his first appearance in the Christchurch District Court
Brenton Tarrant appeared in court on Saturday charged with murder

He has since fired his lawyer and plans to represent himself at court at his next hearing in April, according to the New Zealand Herald.

“What did seem apparent to me is he seemed quite clear and lucid, whereas this may seem like very irrational behaviour,” his former lawyer, Richard Peters, told the newspaper.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pledged to change gun laws following the nation’s worst mass shooting.

Mr Tarrant legally owned five guns and had a firearms licence. He did not have a criminal record and had not been on the radar of security services in New Zealand or Australia.

Cardinal George Pell arrives at a Melbourne court on Wednesday

George Pell: Cardinal’s bail revoked after sexual abuse conviction.

Cardinal George Pell has been remanded in custody after being found guilty of sexual offences against children in Australia.

The ex-Vatican treasurer abused two boys in 1996, a jury found in December.

Pell’s bail was revoked on Wednesday, placing him in custody for the first time. He will be sentenced on 13 March.

The cardinal is the most senior Catholic figure ever convicted of sexual abuse. He maintains he is innocent and has lodged an appeal.

A jury unanimously convicted Pell of one charge of sexually penetrating a child under 16, and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16.

The verdict and details of the case had been kept secret until Tuesday due to legal reasons.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, a court heard on Wednesday.

The conviction has rocked the Catholic Church. Pell was considered one of the Pope’s closest advisers and spent five years overseeing the Vatican’s finances.

The Vatican has confirmed that Pell is now prohibited from public ministry, and banned from having contact with minors. He has to abide by these rules until any appeal is over.

What has he been convicted of?

Pell was archbishop of Melbourne when he abused two 13-year-old boys in a cathedral following a mass, the County Court of Victoria heard last year.

After telling them they were in trouble for drinking communion wine, Pell forced each boy into indecent acts, prosecutors said. He abused one of the boys again in 1997.

The court heard testimony from one of the victims. The other died of a drug overdose in 2014.

What happened on Wednesday?

In a preliminary sentencing hearing, Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter QC, described it as “no more than a plain, vanilla sexual penetration case”.

George Pell is escorted by police through a crowd of media and onlookers outside a Melbourne court at the start of his sentence hearing.
Pell has been swarmed by media and onlookers before his court appearances

He submitted 10 character references for the cardinal, including from former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

However, prosecutors argued that Pell’s “serious offending” warranted significant jail time.

Judge Peter Kidd told the defence team that the abuse was “callous” and “brazen”.

“It did involve a breach of trust and a degree of impunity. How else did he think he was going to get away with it?” the judge said.

He revoked Pell’s bail following a lengthy hearing.

Who is Pell?

The Australian cleric rose in prominence as a strong supporter of traditional Catholic values, often taking conservative views and advocating for priestly celibacy.

He was summoned to Rome in 2014 to clean up the Vatican’s finances, and was often described as the Church’s third-ranked official.

George Pell (right) at an Easter vigil mass in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in April 2017
Pell (r) was one of the Pope’s closest advisers at the Vatican

But his career has been dogged first by claims that he covered up child sexual abuse by priests, and then later that he was himself an abuser.

Pell was demoted from the Pope’s inner circle in December. His term as Vatican treasurer expired on Sunday.

What is the wider picture?

The sexual abuse of children was rarely discussed in public before the 1970s, and it was not until the 1980s that the first cases of molestation by priests came to light, in the US and Canada.

In the decades since, evidence of widespread abuse has emerged globally. In Australia, an inquiry heard that 7% of the nation’s Catholic priests had abused children.

Pope Francis has established a committee to tackle sexual abuses. In recent days, he has promised concrete action, calling clergy guilty of abuse “tools of Satan”.

But critics say he could do more to combat paedophiles and those who conceal abuse.

George Pell is the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of such crimes

George Pell: Cardinal found guilty of sexual offences in Australia

Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty in Australia of sexual offences against children, making him the highest-ranking Catholic figure to receive such a conviction.

Pell abused two choir boys in Melbourne’s cathedral in 1996, a jury found. He had pleaded not guilty.

As Vatican treasurer, the 77-year-old Australian was widely seen as the Church’s third most powerful official.

Pell, due to face sentencing hearings from Wednesday, has lodged an appeal.

His trial was heard twice last year because a first jury failed to reach a verdict. A second jury unanimously convicted him of one charge of sexually penetrating a child under 16, and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16.

The verdict was handed down in December, but it could not be reported until now for legal reasons.

Pell was swarmed by media and heckled by onlookers as he left a court on Tuesday.

The Vatican later confirmed that Pell was prohibited from public ministry, and had been banned from having contact with minors. He has to abide by these rules until any appeal is over.

They added that while the ruling was “painful”, and the Church has the “utmost respect” for the Australian authorities, Pell has the right to “defend himself to the last degree”.

The Catholic Church worldwide has in recent years faced a damaging series of allegations relating to sex abuse by priests, and claims that these cases were covered up.

Pope Francis has just held an unprecedented summit on paedophilia in the Church.

What did the court hear?

Pell was archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 when he found the two 13-year-old boys in cathedral rooms following a mass, the County Court of Victoria was told.

After telling them they were in trouble for drinking communion wine, Pell forced each boy into indecent acts, prosecutors said. He abused one of the boys again in 1997.

Pell is surrounded by media as he left court on Tuesday after a reporting ban on his conviction was lifted
Pell was swarmed by media as he left court on Tuesday

The court heard testimony from one of the victims. The other died of a drug overdose in 2014.

A jury rejected an argument by Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter QC, that the allegations were fantasies contrived by the victims.

What has been the reaction?

In a statement on Tuesday, Pell’s surviving victim – who cannot be named – called the case stressful and “not over yet”.

The man said he had experienced “shame, loneliness, depression and struggle” because of the abuse.

“Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life,” he said.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said the conviction had “shocked many across Australia and around the world”, reiterating its vow to make the Church “a safe place for all”.

Abuse survivor groups welcomed the verdict.

The Vatican said the ruling was “painful”, but added that Pell had the right to “defend himself to the last degree”.

“We reiterate the utmost respect for Australian judicial authorities,” spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said in a statement, which he read out in a press conference.

“In the name of this respect, we now await the outcome of the appeal process.”

He added that “Cardinal Pell has reaffirmed his innocence and has the right to defend himself to the last degree”.

“It is painful news that, we are well aware, has shocked many people, not just in Australia,” he added. “As we await the definitive verdict, we join the Australian bishops in praying for all victims of abuse, reaffirming our commitment to do everything possible so that the Church is a safe home for everyone, especially for children.”

What has Pell said?

“Cardinal George Pell has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so,” read a statement issued on his behalf on Tuesday.

Cardinal George Pell (l) listens to a mass, while sitting among other cardinals at St Peter's Basilica on February 10, 2016 in Vatican City
Pell (l) was considered one of the Pope’s closest advisers

Pell would await the outcome of his appeal, the brief note read.

Why was the case kept secret?

Last May, a judge handed down a legal order which prevented any reporting of Pell’s trial and conviction.

It was designed to prevent a separate trial – which will no longer go ahead – from being influenced by the first trial.

The abandoned trial was to hear unrelated allegations – strongly denied by Pell – that he had indecently assaulted boys in the 1970s. Prosecutors withdrew their case on Tuesday, citing insufficient evidence.

The collapse of the second trial led to the lifting of the publication ban.

Cardinal ‘didn’t flinch’ in court

Hywel Griffith, BBC News Australia correspondent

George Pell would sit in the dock with his notebook, listening, writing, but never really betraying any emotion.

As the court heard vivid descriptions of how in 1996 he had forced himself upon two victims, pushing his archbishop’s robes to one side in order to expose himself, he didn’t flinch.

After two trials, one hung jury and many months of waiting, the results of this long process are now public.

The pace of justice has felt slow at times, but it has resulted in one of the Church’s most prominent figures being held to account.

Who is Pell?

The Australian cleric rose in prominence as a strong supporter of traditional Catholic values, often taking conservative views and advocating for priestly celibacy.

He was summoned to Rome in 2014 to clean up the Vatican’s finances, and was often described as the Church’s third-ranked official.

Pell’s early court hearings drew enormous interest

But his career has been dogged first by claims that he covered up child sexual abuse by priests, and then later that he was himself an abuser.

Pell was demoted from the Pope’s inner circle in December. His term as Vatican treasurer expired on Sunday.

What is the wider picture?

The sexual abuse of children was rarely discussed in public before the 1970s, and it was not until the 1980s that the first cases of molestation by priests came to light, in the US and Canada.

In the decades since, evidence of widespread abuse has emerged globally. In Australia, an inquiry heard that 7% of the nation’s Catholic priests had abused children.

Pope Francis has established a committee to tackle sexual abuses. In recent days, he has promised concrete action calling clergy guilty of abuse “tools of Satan”.

But critics say he could do more to combat paedophiles and those who conceal abuse.

George Pell is the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of such crimes

Cardinal Pell found guilty of sexual offences in Australia

Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty of sexual offences in Australia, making him the highest-ranking Catholic figure to receive such a conviction.

Pell abused two choir boys in the rooms of a Melbourne cathedral in 1996, a jury found. He had pleaded not guilty.

The verdict was handed down in December, but it could not be reported until now due to legal reasons.

Pell is due to be sentenced on Wednesday. His lawyers say they will appeal against the conviction.

As Vatican treasurer, the 77-year-old cardinal is one of the Church’s most powerful officials.

His trial was heard twice last year because a first jury failed to reach a verdict.

A second jury unanimously convicted him of one charge of sexually penetrating a child under 16, and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16.

The Catholic Church worldwide has in recent years faced a damaging series of allegations relating to sex abuse by priests, and claims that these cases were covered up.

Pell’s case has drawn huge interest at a time when the Pope is attempting to address the scandals, including by holding a four-day summit in the past week.

What did the court hear?

Pell was in his first year as archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 when he found the boys in the rooms of a cathedral following a mass, the jury was told.

After telling them they were in trouble for drinking communion wine, Pell forced each boy into indecent acts, the court heard.

The court heard testimony from one of the victims. The other victim is no longer alive.

A jury rejected an argument by Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter QC, that the allegations were fantasies contrived by the victims.

The cartoon was published after Serena Williams's US Open loss last year

Serena Williams: Cartoon accused of racism cleared by press watchdog

A controversial cartoon of Serena Williams published in an Australian newspaper last year did not breach media standards, a press watchdog says.

The cartoon depicted Williams jumping above a broken racquet next to a baby’s dummy in the US Open final.

Critics complained that the caricature used racist and sexist stereotypes of African-American people.

The Australian Press Council noted that some had found the image “offensive”, but accepted the publisher’s defence.

Williams sparked controversy during her loss to Naomi Osaka in September for her on-court behaviour where she accused the umpire of sexism and being a “thief”.

The Herald Sun newspaper and cartoonist Mark Knight have consistently called their depiction a comment on Williams’s behaviour, denying it was racist or sexist.

The press watchdog said the newspaper had “sufficient public interest in commenting on behaviour and sportsmanship”.

‘Repugnant’ depiction

The cartoon went viral in September, drawing criticism globally. The National Association of Black Journalists in the US denounced it as “repugnant on many levels”.

Public complaints centred around the portrayal of Williams with “large lips, a broad flat nose… and [being] positioned in an ape-like pose”, said the watchdog.

This contrasted with the depiction of Osaka, whose father is Haitian and mother Japanese, “as white with blonde hair”.

However, the watchdog ruled that the cartoon did “not depict Ms Williams as an ape, rather showing her as ‘spitting the dummy’, a non-racist caricature familiar to most Australian readers”.

Spitting the dummy is an Australian colloquialism for someone who reacts to a situation in a bad-tempered or petulant manner.

Knight told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he was “very happy” about the watchdog’s ruling.

The Australian Press Council is the chief watchdog for complaints about Australian media, but does not have the power to issue or enforce penalties.

Australia seeks clarification on China coal import 'block

Australia seeks clarification on China coal import ‘block’

One of China’s biggest ports is reported to have halted Australian coal imports

The Australian government says it is seeking an “urgent” clarification from Beijing over reports that a major Chinese port has halted imports of Australian coal.

Australia is a top supplier of coal to China, its biggest export market.

Beijing has not confirmed the reported halt in the port of Dalian, but called changes in such arrangements “normal”.

Canberra sought to play down speculation on Friday that the matter may be linked to bilateral tensions.

Australian officials said there was “confusion” over the situation, and they were consulting their Chinese counterparts.

“I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. The Australia-China trading relationship is exceptionally strong,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Fears about the issue have prompted a fall in the Australian dollar.

What has happened?

On Thursday, Reuters reported that China’s Dalian port region would not allow Australian coal to pass through customs.

The news agency quoted officials as saying that only Australian coal had been affected, with no limits placed on Indonesian and Russian shipments.

It said other Chinese ports had delayed Australian coal shipments in recent months.

A machine places coal in stockpiles at a coal port in Newcastle, Australia

Coal is Australia’s biggest export commodity

Australian trade officials said they had been notified of recent industry concerns about market access.

When asked about the reported halt, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang offered general comments that authorities sought “to safeguard the rights and interests of Chinese importers and protect the environment”.

What else is being debated?

Some security analysts in Australia have suggested it could be a tit-for-tat move by China, after Australia blocked tech giant Huawei from providing 5G technology.

“The banning of those coal shipments is a form of coercion against Australia. It’s punishment against states that resist China’s pressure,” said Dr Malcolm Davis, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Other recent tensions have emerged over allegations – denied by Beijing – of Chinese interference in Australian politics and society.

However others, including the head of the Reserve Bank of Australia, have suggested that China’s concerns about its own coal industry may be behind any such halts.

Blocking “a couple of months of coal exports” would not hurt the Australian economy, said Philip Lowe.

“If it were to be the sign of a deterioration in the underlying political relationship between Australia and China then that would be more concerning,” he said.

Mr Frydenberg said: “We can see these occasional interruptions to the smooth flow but that doesn’t necessarily translate to some of the consequences that aspects of the media might seek to leap to.”

Melbourne car rampage: James Gargasoulas jailed for six murders

Melbourne car rampage: James Gargasoulas jailed for six murders:

James Gargasoulas drove his car into pedestrians in Melbourne in 2017

An Australian man has been sentenced to life in jail for murdering six people and injuring 27 more in a vehicle attack in Melbourne.

James Gargasoulas, 29, deliberately ploughed a stolen car into pedestrians in the city centre in January 2017.

He later told a court in a confusing speech that he had carried out the attack after receiving a premonition.

On Friday, a judge described it as one of the worst mass murders in Australian history.

“You made no attempt to avoid people or to slow down. You simply ploughed through them, quite deliberately,” Justice Mark Weinberg said, according to a report by Seven News.

The attack killed three-month-old Zachary Bryant, Thalia Hakin, 10, Jess Mudie, 22, Yosuke Kanno, 25, Bhavita Patel, 33, and Matthew Si, 33.

Gargasoulas will be eligible for parole after 46 years.

Footage showed Gargasoulas driving erratically before the attack

He had pleaded not guilty to the attack on busy Bourke St, but later admitted to carrying it out.

During his trial last year, a jury was shown graphic footage of Gargasoulas, also known by the name Dimitrious, targeting pedestrians at speeds of more than 60km/h (37mph).

His youngest victim, Zachary Bryant, was struck alongside his sister in a double pram. Miraculously, two-year-old Zara somehow survived being thrown 150m (500ft) through the air.

Other footage showed Gargasoulas driving erratically beforehand, as dozens of bystanders watched on.

‘Full’ culpability

Gargasoulas testified that he had received a premonition from God directing him to drive into pedestrians. When asked whether he knew he would kill people, he said: “In a sense, yes.”

He also read a two-page statement – cut down from 25 pages – in which he apologised for his actions, but also rambled about subjects such as the “Illuminati” and government “oppression”.

A jury took less than an hour to convict him last year after what prosecutors called “the clearest case of criminal liability that you will ever come across”.

Can vehicle attacks be prevented?

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Weinberg said Gargasoulas’s actions were not caused by mental illness, noting the killer had been in a drug-induced psychosis at the time.

“You knew full well what you were doing,” Justice Weinberg said.

Relatives’ pain

Several relatives of the victims had spoken of their devastation in court.

Zachary’s father, Matthew Bryant, said: “I listened to his heartbeat and held him for the last time trying desperately to hold onto the moment. He had a lifetime of firsts taken from him and all the joys that come with it.”

Masayuki and Minako Kanno said they were living in “deep pain and sorrow” after the death of their son, Yosuke, a Japanese student who had been studying in Melbourne.

A makeshift memorial in 2017 featuring flowers, a soft toy, and photos of victims Matthew Si and Jess Mudie

A makeshift memorial in 2017 featuring photos of victims Matthew Si and Jess Mudie,

The city later installed concrete bollards and added more security measures, however it was rocked by another vehicle attack in December 2017.

Three months ago, Bourke St was the scene of an unrelated terror incident that left one victim dead and two others injured.