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.”
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.
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.
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”.
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”.
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.
“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”.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.