Australia floods kill seven as severe weather pummels Queensland

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk compared the weather to a cyclone event, as Brisbane, the Queensland capital, was bracing for flooding on Sunday, before the rainfalls ease by Monday.

Tongan seasonal worker injured in freak BBQ accident out of coma

Sione Lavalu was expected to receive more medical treatments after he woke up at the Royal Hospital in Brisbane this week.

“He has woken up and it is clear he’s conscious again”, his brother Manase Lavalu told Kaniva News in Tongan.

Pictures provided by the family show Sione being spoon fed by a relative while lying consciously in a bed in hospital. He was surrounded by family members.

Manase previously said Sione was picked up at a home after reports he was allegedly injured in a BBQ accident.

Tongans in Brisbane lead search for rare blood type donors

Jk-Null is an extremely rare antigen, it predominately found in Tongan, Samoan, and Niuean blood donors.

Paseifika TV and radio broadcaster Sulieni Layt is fronting a campaign to drum up blood donors.

"Our target is to have at least 30 donors based in Brisbane... at the moment we are short two," he said.

Despite the campaign being focused in Brisbane Mr Layt said that people from across the country have reached out wanting to donate.

"Tongans in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales... and we've been referring them to their nearest clinics," he said.

Brisbane announced as 2032 Olympic Games host city

The decision was confirmed after a meeting of International Olympic Committee delegates in Tokyo.

Queensland's delegation — including Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck — had to restrain themselves to standing and clapping with COVID-19 restrictions ruling out any close-contact celebrations.

Brisbane's CBD riverside erupted in fireworks as the announcement was made. 

Brisbane proposed as host by International Olympic Committee

Brisbane was named the preferred bidder in February and has now been proposed as host by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board.

Several cities and countries had expressed an interest in hosting the Games, including Indonesia, Budapest, China, Doha and Germany's Ruhr Valley.

Members will vote to name the 2032 host on 21 July at the next IOC session.

IOC president Thomas Bach said the Brisbane bid had "strong support across the political spectrum".

"It was a vision for a sustainable and feasible Olympic Games," Bach said.

Tonga confirms repatriation flights

The flight from Auckland is scheduled to arrive on 2 June while the flight from Brisbane, will arrive the day after.

Chief Executive of Tonga's Government Communications, Paula Ma'u, told local media the Brisbane flight is the first under Australia's Pacific Flight Programme and is not chartered by the employers of seasonal workers, as was the case for previous flights.

Meanwhile, the repatriation flight from Fiji that was planned for the first week of June was not confirmed, due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.


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Brisbane lockdown ends ahead of Easter weekend

The outbreak in Queensland's capital - home to two million residents - has grown to 16 infections in total.

State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the low number of new infections meant the lockdown could be lifted in time for the Easter holiday weekend.

Some restrictions will still apply including mask-wearing in indoor areas.

Gathering numbers are also limited to 30 people in a household, while church services will be able to operate at full capacity if people remain seated and have tickets.

Emirates to resume flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

From Monday, flights will resume to Sydney, while services will return to Melbourne from Tuesday and to Brisbane from Thursday.

Passenger flights between Dubai and Perth, as well as cargo operations to all Australian points, continue as scheduled.

Hundreds of Australians were last week left stranded after the major airline announced the cancellation on Friday night.

"We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers in the period where we had to temporarily suspend our services," a statement distributed by the airline read.

Brisbane lockdown to be lifted at 6:00pm but some restrictions to remain

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it had been a "great effort" by Queenslanders over the past three days.

"This is the best news we could have hoped for, absolutely the best news," Ms Palaszczuk.

ABC News reports no cases were reported since 6:00pm on Friday, when Queensland authorities imposed a snap lockdown to slow the potential spread of a UK coronavirus variant.

The highly contagious strain was detected in a cleaner who spent five days in the community in early January after contracting the virus at Brisbane quarantine hotel.

Greater Brisbane declared hotspot on a 'Commonwealth level',

"I know they will be some in Brisbane today asking 'why is this necessary? There is only one case. '" said Prime Minster Scott Morrison.

"Well, this isn't any ordinary case.

"This is a very special case and one that requires us to treat things quite differently until we know more and we will learn much in the next few days.

"What Queenslanders will be doing over the next few days, they will be doing not just for themselves and their own communities, but for the rest of the country.