Australia

Australian man trafficked wife and baby to India, police say

Police say the man, 27, used threats, coercion and deception to force his wife and two-month-old girl to leave against the woman's will in March.

He then allegedly tried to cancel his India-born wife's Australian visa.

The man faced a Sydney court on Tuesday on three charges, including human trafficking and forgery of documents.

"It is a disturbing case where we see a victim and their young child transported from Australia to a foreign jurisdiction without any means for them to return home," said Australian Federal Police Supt Dan Evans.

Australia's frog count: App calls on citizen scientists

These are some of the sounds that Australian frogs make, and local biologists are hoping members of the public will help record them on a new app called FrogID.

It is part of a conservation effort to better track 240 frog species around Australia.

Scientists also believe the crowd-sourced mapping could lead to the detection of new species.

Australians are encouraged to record and upload the sounds of frogs they hear anywhere, from their suburban backyard to the outback.

Lakhan hopes Aust & NZ will soon become full members of PGC

“I hope that this is the last time Australia and New Zealand will participate in our games as our guests.

“Within the next 12 to 18 months we hope to make the necessary changes to our Constitution which will allow them membership to the Council,” said PGC president Vidya Lakhan.

Australia and New Zealand were first invited as guest and competed in four sports at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Here at the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu the Trans-Tasman neighbours were invited for two sports, rugby 7s and weightlifting.

Aus, NZ will make Pacific Games stronger - PGC

The Trans-Tasman neighbours were invited to take part in four sports at the 2015 Games in Port Moresby, increasing to eight for the 2019 edition in Samoa.

Australia and New Zealand make their Mini Games debut in Port Vila this week in weightlifting, having declined to enter teams in rugby sevens.

The President of the Pacific Games Council, Vidhya Lakhan, said the participation of Australia and New Zealand would ensure the event is recognised around the world.

"Most of the continents have their own Continental Games," Lakhan said.

Evacuation alert in Victoria as downpours continue

Heavy rain continued to fall across much of the Australian state and authorities prepared for possible evacuations in the north-east.

The state is enduring what the weather bureau says is an "unprecedented" deluge that could bring three months' of rain in three days, with another 150mm forecast to fall in some areas.

While the threat has eased somewhat in Melbourne, emergency workers are paying particular attention to the north-east ranges, where significant flooding is expected and warnings have been issued for the Ovens and King rivers.

Australia wins men's rugby league World Cup

Both sides smashed each other into exhaustion with punishing defence and a fast-paced game with Australia centre Josh Dugan saving two probable tries with his positional sense and a desperate ankle tap on his opposite number Kallum Watkins.

The only thing that separated the sides was Cordner's 15th-minute try as they both controlled the ball well, but England rued stupid errors or poor decisions early in the tackle count inside the Kangaroos' 20-metre area.

Australia makes pitch for Prince Harry's stag party

Australian Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo confirmed he had written to Clarence House following the prince's engagement to actress Meghan Markle.

He said tourism officials were prepared to design the "ultimate Australian experience" for the pair.

According to an itinerary drawn up by Tourism Australia, recommended activities for the "pre-wedding celebrations" - or buck's party, as it is known locally - include a "James Bond-style" jetpack adventure, dune-buggying and barramundi fishing.

Australia to hold major inquiry into nation's banks

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the commission - Australia's highest form of public inquiry - would help restore confidence in the sector.

Australian banks have been embroiled in scandals in recent times.

The announcement came soon after the four biggest banks called for an inquiry in a joint letter, reversing their previous opposition.

"The only way we can give all Australians a greater degree of assurance is a royal commission into misconduct into the financial services industry," Mr Turnbull said.

Serena uncertain for Australia

Williams was around two months pregnant when she captured her 23rd grand slam singles title in Melbourne earlier this year and was hoping to defend her crown next January following the birth of her daughter in September.

"Serena is getting ready for 2018," the 36-year-old American's coach Patrick Mouratoglou told CNN. "She is practising and getting back in shape. I will be joining her soon in Florida.

"We will see how her body is reacting and how her tennis level is and we will take a decision regarding Australia."

Australia same-sex marriage bill passes Senate hurdle

The upper house bill will now be debated in the House of Representatives, where if approved it will become law.

It follows a historic national vote that showed a majority of Australians support changing the Marriage Act.

Senators passed the bill 43-12 on Wednesday, after rejecting proposed amendments by conservative lawmakers.

Attorney-General George Brandis, the government's Senate leader, said the legislation would "demolish the last significant bastion of legal discrimination" concerning sexuality.