Australia

Almost 400 die in Australia's worst stranding

Since Monday, hundreds of long-finned pilot whales have been found beached on Tasmania's west coast.

Rescuers had managed to save 50 by late on Wednesday, and they were trying to help the remaining estimated 30 whales.

Tasmanian government officials said the rescue effort would continue "as long as there are live animals".

"While they're still alive and in water, there's still hope for them - but as time goes on they do become more fatigued," said Nic Deka, regional manager for Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service.

Australia whales: 90 dead in mass stranding off Tasmania

The mass stranding on the west coast of the island was discovered on Monday.

Marine biologists are scrambling to save the remaining pilot whales in a tricky operation likely to take days.

It's unknown what drew the whales to the shore. Whale beachings are common in the region, but one of this size has not been seen since 2009.

Scientists from the Tasmanian Maritime Conservation Program said the whales were found in three groups across Macquarie Heads - a remote tip of the island with limited vessel and road access.

Humpback whale finds escape from Australian crocodile river

The whale was first seen in the Northern Territory (NT) river over a week ago, prompting fears it may get stuck in shallow waters or hit a boat.

Two others also swam into the East Alligator River for a short time before returning to their sea migration.

The remaining whale managed to find its way out over the weekend during high tides, Parks Australia said on Monday.

It is the first known instance of humpback whales in the river in the Kakadu National Park, on the country's northern coast.

Covid-19: Victoria records lowest case increase in three months

Six of the eight deaths were linked to aged care settings, and the state's coronavirus death toll now stands at 745.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day daily case average has fallen from 49.6 yesterday to 44.4 today.

Regional Victoria, which entered step three of its recovery roadmap today, now has a rolling 14-day average of 2.9.

Today is the first time since 24 June Victoria has recorded fewer than 30 new cases.

Australia win ODI opener

Australia recovered from a shaky start to score 294 for nine in their 50 overs and while Sam Billings (118) struck an impressive century, the hosts were always behind the game.

England put the visitors in and had them reeling on 123 for five but Marsh (73) Maxwell (77) helped Australia rebuild on their way to a formidable total.

After slumping to 57-4 in reply and falling way behind the required run rate it looked bleak for England but Jonny Bairstow and Billings shared a century stand for the fifth wicket to edge Eoin Morgan's side back into contention.

Australia to host Rugby Championship as NZ loses out

All four teams will take part.

New Zealand will host Australia in two Bledisloe Cup tests before the Rugby Championship.

The tournament was moved from its traditional August-September window due to the ongoing effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The tournament will comprise a six-week, 12-match, "home and away" tournament involving Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Australia hopes to roll out almost 85 million vaccine doses

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country had struck two deals that would allow free doses to be rolled out in 2021 if they were approved for use.

Mr Morrison estimated the cost to be A$1.7bn (£0.9bn; $1.24bn).

Australia's 25 million people could begin receiving doses from January but there were "no guarantees", he said.

"However the agreement puts Australia at the top of the queue, if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light," the prime minister said.

Snakes crash through roof of house in Australia

David Tate found one snake in his bedroom and another in the living room on Monday. They weighed 22kg (3.4 stone) between them.

Snake catcher Steven Brown said they were of "exceptional size".

It's thought the two male snakes could have been fighting over a female snake which has not yet been located.

The carpet pythons measured 2.8m (9.1 feet) and 2.5m long.

Mr Tate said he had previously seen snakes basking in the sun on his roof.

"When I came back...there was a large slab [of ceiling] on the kitchen table," he told The Courier-Mail.

Solomon Airlines plans repatriation charter flights to Vanuatu, Tonga and Australia

A statement said the airline has sought the approval of the Solomon Islands Government and the relevant foreign governments.

The airline’s Airbus A320 aircraft, currently based in Brisbane, will first operate Flight IE614 from Honiara to Port Vila and Tongatapu departing at 8.00am from Henderson International Airport and arriving in Port Vila at 10.00am local time. Flight IE614 will then re-depart at 11.00am landing in Tongatapu at 3.25pm local time.

Australia's national Covid-19 death toll hits 600

Victoria has reported another 18 deaths in the past 24 hours, while New South Wales and Queensland are dealing with new cases.

Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan said while it was heartening to see daily cases in Victoria drop to below 100 for the first time in nearly two months, it was too early to celebrate.

"Many of us across the eastern seaboard particularly are seeing much nicer weather, we're seeing perhaps the first signs of spring," she said.

"So I need to ask everyone to remember that now is not the time to be complacent as we see the sun come out.