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Australia claims ‘substantial’ progress on reef protection

Australia said it had made "substantial" progress on UNESCO benchmarks for protection of the Great Barrier Reef Sunday in a report aimed at staving off a world heritage downgrade. Environment Minister Greg Hunt said a progress report delivered to the……

Firefighters battle blazes in scorching Australia

Lightning strikes ignited more than 250 fires across southeast Australia overnight, officials said Wednesday, as firefighters battled to put out the flames and the country sweltered under a heatwave. In Victoria state, where catastrophic firestorms……

Scientists: Vast freshwater reserves trapped beneath ocean floor could sustain future generations

Australian researchers said Thursday they had established the existence of vast freshwater reserves trapped beneath the ocean floor which could sustain future generations as current sources dwindle. Lead author Vincent Post, from Australia’s Flinders University, said that an estimated 120,000 cubic miles of low-salinity water had been found buried beneath…

Australia police, central bank websites hacked

The websites of the Australian Federal Police and the Reserve Bank of Australia have been the victims of an apparent cyber attack, with reports Thursday blaming Indonesian hackers. The AFP called the attack “irresponsible”, and said whoever was to blame could face prosecution. “These attacks are irresponsible, and will not…

Snake on plane grounds flight from Australia to Japan

A tiny snake as slender as a pen forced the grounding of a Japan-bound Qantas flight in the Australian city of Sydney overnight, stranding hundreds of passengers. The non-venomous reptile, about 8 inches long, was found near the doorway of a Boeing 747-400 bound for Tokyo on Sunday night, a…

Australian lawmaker knocked for remark on party mate’s ‘sex appeal’

Australia’s opposition leader, accused last year of misogyny in a blistering speech by then-prime minister Julia Gillard, was under fire Tuesday after touting the “sex appeal” of an election candidate. Tony Abbott, currently the frontrunner to become next prime minister in September 7 polls, made the remark while campaigning with…

John Oliver: You do not pair a penis with red wine

Monday night on The Daily Show, host John Oliver proved that Australia’s presidential elections were just as much of a gaffe-filled fun-fest as America’s presidential elections. Why venture into Australian politics? Oliver hoped the demonstration would make Americans cut down the current election season from four years to one month.…

Australian far-right candidate is even dumber than a tea partier

While the United States may have some truly awe-inspiringly stupid elected officials and wanna-be elected officials — from Rep. Louis “Don’t Cast Aspersions on my Asparagus” Gohmert (R-TX) to Christine “I’m Not a Witch” O’Donnell to Congressional Republicans who have voted three times to de-fund ACORN, an aid organization that…

Australia opens ‘world’s smartest’ aquarium

A major research aquarium able to simulate ocean warming and carry out key studies on the deadly crown-of-thorns starfish devastating the Great Barrier Reef opened in Australia on Thursday. The Aus$35 million (US$31.4 million) National Sea Simulator, or SeaSim, was unveiled in the northern city of Townsville by Industry Minister…

Boat carrying 150 asylum-seekers capsizes off coast of Australia

A boat carrying some 150 asylum-seekers capsized off Christmas Island Tuesday but the Australian navy saved most of them, rescuers said. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said two navy ships were at the scene 70 nautical miles off the island, which is northwest of the Australian mainland. “There were around…

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