Australia

UN warns of 'fear, censorship and retaliation' in Australia

In a damning report Tuesday, United Nations special rapporteur Michel Forst said several human rights defenders had refused to meet him because of the fear of persecution.

"Many activists spoke of an atmosphere of fear, censorship and retaliation," Forst said.

Forst has just finished a two-week tour of Australia on behalf of the UN's Human Rights Council to assess how well human rights defenders were being treated in the country.

Australia rejects Amnesty's torture claim on Nauru

Australia transports asylum seekers who arrive by boat to off-shore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

An Amnesty International report said this was a "deliberate policy to inflict harm on refugees" and imposes conditions that "amount to torture".

Nauru has previously denied claims of abuse at the refugee centre.

Australia has been repeatedly criticised for its tough policy on refugees and asylum seekers.

Inglis brace helps Aussies see off Kiwis

Australia left new Kiwis coach David Kidwell with plenty of work to do ahead of the Four Nations in a fortnight's time, with Inglis securing his 30th try for Australia in front of a 20,000-strong crowd. 

Apple fires staff amid claims intimate photos shared in Australia store

Brisbane's Courier-Mail, said dozens of photos were taken without knowledge or consent and that other images were stolen from customer phones.

Apple confirmed an inquiry and said "several" jobs had been terminated.

But it said its inquiry had so far not shown that any photos had been stolen.

Kiwis side named for Kangaroos Test

The starting line-up includes two players making their debuts for New Zealand, Solomone Kata and Jordan Rapana.

Seventeen-test veteran Jared Waerea-Hargreaves makes his return to the international arena, last wearing the black-and-white jersey at the 2013 World Cup.

Re-joining him in the front row is the most-capped player in the side, Issac Luke, playing his 37th test match.

Jesse Bromwich captains the team, supported by two other Melbourne Storm players who featured in the NRL Grand Final, Kevin Proctor and Tohu Harris.

UN slams Australian and Nauru detention centres

It slammed the Nauru's "limited capacity" to investigate allegations of sexual assault of children and its failure to follow up complaints while also severely criticising the harsh living conditions inside Australian's regional processing centres.

Recurring back injury forces Day out of Australia events

Day, 28, was hampered by the problem late in the PGA Tour season and pulled out of his final two events of the campaign – the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship.

The Australian will miss the two tournaments in his native Australia in November as he continues his recovery, he announced on Friday.

"I regret that I will be unable to come home to Australia this year," Day said in a statement.

Deni ute muster: Australia's wackiest country festival

Their answer: a festival that showcased two of the key themes of country life. Country music and utes.

The ute, a passenger car with a cargo tray (or pick-up truck), was first manufactured in Australia in 1932 after a farmer wrote a letter to the head of Ford asking him to build a two-in-one vehicle so "I can go in to church on Sunday and carry pigs to market on Monday".

Held over the October Labour Day Long Weekend, the Deni Ute Muster now attracts 20,000 people annually to a paddock outside Deniliquin.

Pacific Met and Land services to map out future development

This comes as Australian funding for the existing Climate and Ocean Support Program is scheduled to end in June 2017 and many of its activities are transferring to SPC, (South Pacific Community), and SPREP, (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme).

Australia shelves backpacker tax plan

Working holidaymakers will instead be liable for 19% tax on every dollar that they earn.

The compromise deal follows an outcry from farmers and the tourist industry.

Farmers complained the tax rate could affect their labour supply at harvest time, while tourism operators maintained it would put backpackers and tourists off visiting Australia.

About 600,000 backpackers travel to Australia every year and many of them find work picking fruit.