Australia

Australia-NZ win bid to host FIFA World Cup

Their joint proposal beat a rival bid from Colombia to host the tournament which is being expanded to 32 teams.

Japan, who had also put forward a bid to stage the event, pulled out on Monday after they were ranked below the joint bid by world governing body FIFA's evaluation report.

The report highlighted the infrastructure and organisational advantages of the Australia/New Zealand bid which FIFA believed would make for a commercially successful tournament.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand was honoured to have been selected as co-hosts.

New Covid-19 cases deflating Australia, Pacific bubble ideas

With 10 active cases and quarantine botch-ups, it could be months yet before Australian and Pacific visitors are allowed in.

Meanwhile, Australian Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has warned its border will mostly likely be locked down until 2021.

That has businesses feeling nervous.

For Skyline - an adventure tourism business in Queenstown and Rotorua - the weekdays are the hardest.

Locals are visiting in the weekends and school holidays, but in between the luges and gondolas are quiet.

Australia-NZ set to win rights to host World Cup

The Japanese Football Association has announced that Japan is withdrawing its bid, just days before football's world governing body holds a vote to determine the successful candidate.

Following an executive board meeting on Monday, the JFA withdrew its candidacy and decided to support the Australia/New Zealand bid which will go up against a bid from Colombia.

Earlier this month, FIFA rated the joint Australia/New Zealand bid as the best to host the tournament, with Japan in second place.

Victoria extends state of emergency as coronavirus cases spike

The move came a day after the state announced it would reimpose restrictions capping visitors to households to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10, starting Monday. The limits had been relaxed on 1 June to allow up to 20 people in households and public gatherings.

Victoria reported 19 new infections on Sunday, the fifth day of double digit-rises. The state has now had 1836 total confirmed cases, or a quarter of the cases in Australia, since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted.

'Bula Bubble' touted by Fiji PM

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fiji was working on a "Bula Bubble", between his country, New Zealand and Australia.

Upon arrival, travellers would have to spend 14 days in Fiji government quarantine facilities and then be required to pass a Covid-19 test to enter the general public.

This would be at their own cost or that of their respective government.

Great white shark kills surfer off Australia's New South Wales

The shark bit the leg of the surfer, aged between 50 and 60, off Kingscliff, 800km (500 miles) north of Sydney.

Several "heroic" boarders tried to help the man by fighting off the shark but although he was brought to the beach, he died there of his wounds.

This is the third fatal shark attack in Australian waters this year.

The Sydney Morning Herald said that although police gunmen were deployed to find the shark, they were unable to kill it and it left the area after several hours.

Australia works with PIF to combat COVID-19 in the Pacific

This vital Forum initiative ensures the passage of humanitarian and medical supplies within the Pacific as we work together to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simon Kofe, Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers, welcomed the initiative and said: “Australia’s support will ensure that the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway will be able to deliver much needed humanitarian and medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its actions, Australia is working to achieve values of familial ties and care for neighbour’s key throughout the Pacific.”

NZ health chief says Pacific bubble risks could be managed

There are calls across the region for travel to be reinstated, possibly before a trans-Tasman bubble with Australia.

Ashley Bloomfield said the Ministry of Health hadn't yet been asked for advice about an arrangement.

"My own view is that the risks can be managed well, especially if we've got countries that have got good testing in place and we know that they haven't got any cases and the arrangements can be put in place for travel to and fro," Dr Bloomfield said.

Australia bushfires: Hundreds of deaths linked to smoke, inquiry hears

More than 4,000 people were admitted to hospital due to the smoke, Associate Prof Fay Johnston from the University of Tasmania told the Royal Commission.

The fires burned for weeks, killed more than 30 people and caused air pollution which can be harmful to health.

The inquiry is due to suggest ways to improve the natural disasters response.

Australia redirects $US65m to Pacific

The halt in tourism caused by border closures, cuts to remittances and seasonal worker programmes and other effects of Covid-19 have been devastating for many Pacific economies.

The funding will be redirected from the existing aid programme, and the government says it will provide respite for Pacific governments.

A fifth of the money will go to Papua New Guinea, with the rest to be shared among nine other countries.