Australian shreds record for longest surf session

At the end, Blake Johnston was carried on the shoulders of friends up Cronulla beach in south Sydney, describing himself as "pretty cooked".

Johnston began surfing early on Thursday morning in aid of mental health awareness.

His effort has raised some A$335,000 (£185,000; $225,000) for charity.

With spotlights to illuminate a section of Cronulla's surf known as "The Alley", Johnston kept going overnight and had ridden over 700 waves by the end.

The previous record of 30 hours and 11 minutes was held by South African Josh Enslin.

AUKUS details unveiled: Australian nuclear submarine programme to cost up to $394.5 billion

The Australian government will take three, potentially second-hand Virginia-class submarines early next decade, pending the approval of the US Congress.

The nuclear submarine programme will cost up to A$368 billion (NZ$394.5b) over the next three decades.

There will also be an option to purchase another two under the landmark AUKUS defence and security pact, announced in San Diego on Tuesday morning.

Nauru detention move criticized

The Migration Amendment [Evacuation to Safety] Bill was introduced by Greens Senator Nick McKim but tossed out by Labor and the Liberal opposition.

The Law Centre's Scott Cosgriff said the law change, for the remaining approximately 150 people trapped on Nauru, is an opportunity to move to Australia after they have endured ten years of inhuman treatment.

Cosgriff said there was a lack of courage and political will.


Nauru signs 99-year land lease for chancery in Canberra

Solomon signed the contract together with Gillian Sally Barnes, delegate of the Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The signing of the 99-year lease is the first key milestone of the project formalising ownership of Block 17 Section 67 in Deakin, Canberra.

A statement said the construction of the chancery must commence within 18 months from the lease commencement date and completed within three years.

Dozens of bushfires spread as heat grips Australia's east

After two years of rains and floods, a return to warmer conditions has sparked the country's worst fires since the 2019/2020 'Black Summer' season.

BBC reports a blaze 250km north-west of Sydney triggered the region's first emergency fire warning in two years.

Firefighters reported battling 10-15m high flames.

Residents in affected areas across New South Wales state - Australia's most populous - have been urged to evacuate, and there are reports of damage to some properties.

Australia police ambush deemed religious terror attack

Authorities say it is the first time Christian extremist ideology has been linked to a terror attack in Australia.

Two police officers and a neighbour were killed when Nathaniel, Stacey and Gareth Train opened fire on a rural property in Queensland last December.

The trio were shot dead after a lengthy stand-off with police.

Police have been investigating whether the group - brothers Nathaniel and Gareth, and Stacey, who had at different times been married to each man - were linked to conspiracy theories.

Cocaine haul sparks hunt for Australian trio rescued at sea

The 36-year-old man was apprehended in Darwin and was due to appear in court on Thursday, police said.

The trio was found clinging to an esky cool box off Western Australia (WA) on 1 February.

Police say they claimed they were out fishing when their boat capsized.

But authorities later discovered 365kg of cocaine in at least two locations, sparking a hunt for the men. They are suspected of involvement in an international drug shipment.

Canberra helping Solomons host PacGames athletes

The Solomon Islands 2023 Steering Committee has met for the second time to discuss preparations for the Games since Australia signed a formal agreement to provide funding last December.

Inside the Games reports the main portion of Australia's $US11 million commitment is to assist with the refurbishment of school dormitories which will serve as athletes' accommodation.

Solomon Islands 2023 has also received financial support from China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Japan and South Korea to aid preparations for the Games, which are set to begin in November.


Australia shark attack victim identified as schoolgirl Stella Berry

The schoolgirl was pronounced dead after being pulled from the Swan River in Perth on Saturday.

Stella was riding jet skis with friends when she jumped into the water to swim with dolphins and was attacked, police say.

In a statement, her parents said they were "devastated and deeply shocked".

Matt and Sophie Berry said their daughter was a "vibrant and happy girl" who loved the water and art.

"She was a caring person and was a dear friend to many... a beautiful and loving big sister and the best daughter we could have hoped for."

Australia partners with Digicel to boost agricultural productivity in Fiji

Traditionally, farmers have relied heavily on inherited farming knowledge and practices to establish and manage their farms. A major challenge for the industry remains timely access to the latest farming advice.

This innovative project hopes to connect farmers to the latest information and advisory services to help boost their productivity. The project will first undertake market research to determine the information needs of farmers across several regions in the country.