NEWS ABOUT: Australia

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Power Company Pays $470M Over Fire That Killed 119

Black Saturday payout is biggest in Aussie history

(Newser) - Australian power company SP AusNet hasn't officially accepted responsibility for a wildfire that killed 119 people near Melbourne in early 2009—but it has agreed to pay $470 million to survivors in the biggest class-action settlement in the country's history. Some 10,000 plaintiffs accused the firm of... More »

Object 40077 'Belly Flops' Over Australia

Fireball was the third stage of Russia's Soyuz rocket

(Newser) - A few Australians might have assumed the worst last night as a truck-sized fireball raced across the sky. But it wasn't a meteorite spelling out Earth's doom—or the plane crash some feared on Twitter—but "object 40077," an ejected piece of Russia's Soyuz rocket,... More »

Planet's Heaviest Ecstasy Users: Australians

It takes top spot in UN report, with 3% of population having used it

(Newser) - They're not just drinking Foster's oil cans Down Under. According to the 2014 "World Drug Report" released by the United Nations and cited on Mashable , Australia claims the world’s highest proportion of ecstasy users, with a 3% prevalence rate. It ranks fairly high in other categories,... More »

Same-Sex Parents Have ... Healthier Kids?

Australian study finds fewer gender stereotypes in gay families

(Newser) - A new Australian study finds that kids with same-sex parents have greater "general health and family cohesion" than most people because they're less influenced by gender stereotypes—but one critic is questioning the study's objectivity. Researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia surveyed 315 same-sex parents,... More »

Woman Killed by ... Phone Charger

Sheryl Aldeguer electrocuted by faulty charger in April

(Newser) - A mother of two has died in Australia thanks to a $4.95 phone charger. Authorities say Sheryl Anne Aldeguer, 28, was talking on the phone, plugged into a cheap charger that failed to meet Australian safety rules, when she was electrocuted with 240 volts and died instantly. The Filipino... More »

Rare White Whale Spotted Off Australia

Migaloo is migrating to warmer waters for breeding: researchers

(Newser) - A celebrity albino humpback whale has been spotted for the first time this year off the coast of Australia. The famous Migaloo—who, until 2011, was the only documented all-white whale in the world—has been seen making his way north past Sydney on the country's east coast over... More »

Man Charged With DUI on Beer Cooler

Australian had an 'esky' rigged to motor along

(Newser) - When an Australian man got arrested on DUI charges, we're guessing it didn't help his case that he was driving a stocked beer cooler at the time. The 22-year-old got pulled over Friday night for riding the motorized cooler down the middle of a street, reports Perth Now ... More »

Man Snatched From Boat by 16-Foot Crocodile

Australian's remains may have been found

(Newser) - When a man went to the side of his boat to empty a bucket at Australia's Kakadu National Park on Saturday, he was attacked by what police say was a 15.5-foot-long crocodile and vanished, his wife, son, and daughter-in-law unable to save him. Now, the 62-year-old's remains... More »

Australia Captures 172 Sharks, 0 Great Whites

50 of biggest are killed

(Newser) - Australia killed 50 big sharks in the first test of its controversial shark cull program , though none were great whites—the type blamed for the attacks on swimmers that sparked the cull in the first place, reports ABC News of Australia . The government set baited hooks near seven beaches in... More »

Flight 370 Search Turns to Mapping Ocean Floor

They hope single firm will take on task

(Newser) - The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is growing, officials say, as searchers prepare to map a wide swath of the ocean floor in a new phase of the effort. "We know very clearly the area of the follow-up search will be even broader , with more difficulties and tougher... More »

Killer Left Step-by-Step Murder Plans on Computer

Australian man followed 13 of 18 steps in slaying, is convicted

(Newser) - An Australian man laid out detailed plans on how to kill somebody and get away with it, but he overlooked one key step after the murder—deleting said plans from his computer. Gareth Giles, 26, has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for breaking into his victim's home,... More »

'Object of Interest' Washes Ashore in Flight Search

But officials don't have their hopes up

(Newser) - As the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues, an "object of interest" has turned up in southwestern Australia—but officials are cautioning that it may not offer much of a breakthrough. "It's sufficiently interesting for us to take a look at the photographs," says an... More »

Big News in World's Longest Experiment

Drop of pitch falls after 13 years of waiting

(Newser) - In what is surely one of the most gripping experiments currently underway, scientists in Australia have been watching a beaker containing pitch, a tar derivative, since 1927. The researchers' goal in the planet's longest-running experiment—which holds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records—is to show... More »

Ships Race Toward 'Pings' ... as Batteries Fade

(Newser) - Searchers hunting for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet raced toward a patch of the southern Indian Ocean today to determine whether a few brief sounds picked up by underwater equipment came from the plane's black boxes, whose battery-powered pingers are on the verge of dying out. Ships scouring a... More »

Widower: Woman Eaten by Shark Didn't Feel a Thing

She was consumed 'basically completely,' he says

(Newser) - The widower of a woman killed by a shark during a swim in Australia this week says he's taking comfort in the fact that his wife died doing what she loved and likely didn't suffer much, reports Sky News . "Her friends need to know I am absolutely... More »

Aussie Woman 'Taken by a Shark'

'Community in shock' after experienced swimmer killed at popular beach

(Newser) - An Australian woman taking a morning swim with friends at the popular east coast beach she'd frequented for 14 years died today in a rare shark attack. Christine Armstrong, 63, had become somewhat separated from five fellow swimmers, including her husband, when a witness onshore at Tathra Beach said... More »

3 Men Charged With Driving Drunk in Same Car

One after the other, in Australia

(Newser) - Police in New South Wales, Australia, stopped a car at a DUI checkpoint, gave the driver a breathalyzer, and promptly hauled him off to jail on drunk-driving charges, reports the Herald . Routine stuff, but this makes it a little more interesting: After the arrest, one of the two passengers slid... More »

Jet Searchers Finding ... Fishing Gear, Jellyfish

Nonetheless, 'if this mystery is solvable, we will solve it,' says Australian PM

(Newser) - The last week has seen a cascade of "possible objects" in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but the debris keeps failing to live up to expectations. Four orange objects pulled from the Indian Ocean this weekend—Flight Lt. Russell Adams called them the "most promising... More »

UN Court Puts Kibosh on Japan's Whale Hunt

Finds JARPA II is 'not scientific'

(Newser) - Australia 1, Japan 0: The UN's International Court of Justice today ruled that Japan's whaling program, which it has long claimed is for scientific purposes, is just a cloak for commercial whaling, the BBC reports, in a case that Australia brought about back in 2010. The 16-judge panel... More »

Tale of Convicts' Famed 1791 Escape Revealed

First-hand account of Australian penal colony escape released in full

(Newser) - Exactly 223 years ago, some of the first British convicts sent to Australia made a daring escape from Britain's penal colony in New South Wales. It has become the stuff of legend, but the tale of what happened on a two-month journey of more than 3,000 miles—in... More »

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