The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Thursday November 4.

"Much more work to be done." WA police seek answers after Cleo's rescue.

West Australian police say there is still much more work to be done after the dramatic rescue of four-year-old Cleo Smith.

Cleo was found alive and well early on Wednesday at a property in Carnarvon, just minutes from her family home.

The discovery came more than two weeks after she disappeared from her family's tent at the remote Blowholes campsite 75km north of Carnarvon.

Detectives found Cleo alone in a bed at the house, with the remarkable moment captured by an officer's body-worn camera.

"My name is Cleo," the little girl said when asked for her name.

A 36-year-old Carnarvon man was taken into custody and questioned over the suspected abduction but was yet to be charged on Wednesday night.

Police say he has no connection to Cleo's family and was not at the house when Cleo was found. The man was not on a list of known sex offenders in Carnarvon, a tourist gateway on WA's northwest coast known for its banana plantations.

There are no other suspects linked to the case.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the 140-strong task force investigating Cleo's disappearance would continue its work.

"We will be working through this for the next week or two at least," he told reporters in Carnarvon.


"There's much more work yet to be done. But I'm just the proudest police commissioner in the world at the moment."

Cleo was examined in hospital and found to be in good physical health. Police shared a photograph of her smiling and waving from her hospital bed after reuniting with her mother Ellie Smith and Ms Smith's partner, Jake Gliddon.

"Our family is whole again," Ms Smith posted on Instagram.

Authorities have been tight-lipped on the exact intelligence that led officers to Cleo's location.

Police Minister Paul Papalia said the breakthrough had not been sparked by a chance sighting but rather "hard police grind".

Read more on Cleo's story here.

NSW cases to rise as freedoms come early.

NSW has kept COVID-19 new daily case numbers under 300 for a week but the premier warns this won't be sustained as the state opens up, with extensive new freedoms to kick in next week.

"The reality is case numbers will increase, hospitalisations will increase - we need to learn to live alongside this pandemic," Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Wednesday. 

NSW has so far defied predictions that COVID cases and hospitalisations would soar as restrictions ease, keeping case numbers below 300 for the week to Wednesday.

There were 190 new infections recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday.


There were more four deaths reported on Wednesday, bringing the state's COVID-19 death toll to 582 for the entire pandemic.

Mr Perrottet declined to reveal what the latest modelling says, maintaining the state's post-lockdown opening up would go ahead, on the back of "world leading" vaccination rates.

Some 93.7 per cent of people aged 16 and older have had one vaccine dose and 88.7 per cent are fully jabbed.

On Tuesday the premier announced most restrictions that were due to ease in December would lift on Monday - while unvaccinated people will have to wait until December 15 - or until the state achieves its 95 per cent double-dose vaccination target. 

Vic aims for falling cases for third day.

Victoria is aiming to post a third consecutive day of falling COVID-19 cases, as it lowers the age in its daily vaccine uptake reporting.

The state recorded 941 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the second day in a row of numbers below 1000.

There has not been three straight days of daily cases below 1000 in Victoria since late September, and Thursdays have been "spike" days in recent weeks.

Cases have been falling despite restrictions further easing late last week, ahead of the state hitting 80 per cent full vaccination of its 16-plus population.


Under the Victoria's roadmap, almost all restrictions will end for fully vaccinated people when 90 per cent of those 12 and over are double dosed - a milestone forecast on or around November 24.

The change in emphasis has prompted the Department of Health to start reporting the daily vaccination uptake of Victorians aged 12 and over, instead of those 16 and up, from Thursday.

The state's 12 and over vaccination rate is currently at 92.2 per cent first dose and 80.9 per cent fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, another 10,000-strong crowd is expected through the gates of Flemington Racecourse on Thursday for Oaks Day after major events returned over the long weekend.

"French should have read newspapers," says Barnaby Joyce.

Media reports in February should have been enough to tip off France that Australia was looking to scrap a $90 billion submarine contract, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says.

France's ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault told the National Press Club on Wednesday the Australian government had not been frank or open with his country about its intentions to axe the deal in favour of British and American nuclear-powered boats.

He questioned whether any of Australia's global partners could now trust "Australia's signature and commitment".


His speech followed French President Emmanuel Macron accusing Prime Minister Scott Morrison of lying and misleading his government over how the submarine deal was proceeding in the lead-up to the contract's cancellation.

Mr Morrison has denied misleading the French government and insists concerns about the submarine project had been raised for some time, with text messages from Mr Macron which appeared in media reports this week backing up his claim.

Asked whether his office had leaked the text messages, Mr Morrison said: "Claims had been made and those claims were refuted."

"We had made very clear that there were very significant issues about us moving forward with this contract," he told reporters.

Mr Joyce said news reports were circulating nine months ago and questions were asked in Senate estimates hearings a short time later.


"This feigning of a great surprise (by France)... it's just not the truth," Mr Joyce told the ABC.

He said all business contracts had terms for extensions, cessation and improvement.

"One of the terms of the contract (for the French submarines) was we had the right to get out of it if it wasn't working out," he said.

Insecure work fuelling teacher shortage.

Insecure work for teachers is causing "incalculable harm" to student learning, a Senate inquiry has heard.

Teachers are being left on temporary employment contracts for up to two decades, leading to a torrent of people leaving the profession for better pay and employment conditions. 

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos told a committee examining insecure work that teaching had become less attractive to young people and high achievers. 

"It hardly makes for a good recruitment strategy (when you say) 'Come on over, get a pay cut and be engaged in a temporary capacity'. 

"(It's) fanciful"

The nation's most populous state would run out of teachers in five years time if the profession continues on its current trajectory, according to NSW education department briefing notes read to the committee by Mr Gavrielatos.


Three out of 10 teachers in the state are employed on a temporary or casual basis, and more than two-thirds of these people are early career teachers.

Young teachers are unable to "get a start on their life" because they cannot get loans and find it hard to establish themselves in the communities where they are temporarily placed, Mr Gavrielatos said.

Prince Andrew may face 2022 US civil trial.

A US judge says Prince Andrew should be prepared for a civil trial late next year on accusations that he sexually abused a woman when she was under 18 and also being abused by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan said he anticipated a trial on Virginia Giuffre's civil claims would begin between September and December 2022, provided that a jury could be accommodated safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I will look at the possibility of September, but in any case October through December as being the target here," Kaplan said in phone conference with Andrew's and Giuffre's lawyers.

Giuffre, 38, sued Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son, for unspecified damages in August.

She said Andrew forced her to have sex at the London home of longtime Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell and abused her at Epstein's mansion in Manhattan and on one of Epstein's private islands in the US Virgin Islands.

Andrew, the Duke of York, has not been charged with crimes.


The conference came five days after Andrew, 61, said he "unequivocally denies Giuffre's false accusations against him" and urged Kaplan to dismiss the lawsuit.

Andrew said Giuffre had been seeking "another payday" in a more than decade-long effort to profit from her accusations against Epstein and people associated with him.

Baldwin shares post disputing film 'chaos'.

Actor Alec Baldwin has shared a message on social media disputing reports of chaos and a lax attitude toward safety on the set of Western movie Rust before he accidentally shot and killed a cinematographer.

Writing "Read this," Baldwin on Tuesday reposted lengthy remarks from Terese Magpale Davis, who worked in the wardrobe department on Rust.

"I'm so sick of this narrative," Davis wrote. 

"The story of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bulls**t."

On October 21, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by a bullet discharged from a gun Baldwin was using to rehearse a scene on the Rust set in New Mexico. 

The 30 Rock actor had been told the weapon was "cold," or safe to use, according to court filings by the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department, which is investigating the incident.


Camera operators had walked off the Rust set before the incident to protest working conditions, authorities have said. Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza last week said he believed there was complacency on the production regarding safety.

Lawyers for the armourer in charge of the weapons used in the filming said the production was unsafe due to various factors, including a lack of safety meetings.

Davis, however, said the crew had several safety meetings, "sometimes multiple per day".

Baldwin, who also served as one of the movie's producers, has said he is heartbroken and will support limits on the use of real guns on film and TV sets.

COP26 vows to cut methane and save forests as protesters rally outside summit.

Leaders at the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow have pledged to stop deforestation by the end of the decade and slash emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane to help slow climate change.

The inability of major powers so far to agree more broadly on rapid reductions in the use of fossil fuels - the main cause of manmade global warming - has upset the poorer, smaller countries likely to suffer its worst effects.

Surangel Whipps Jr, president of Palau, a Pacific country of 500 low-lying islands under threat from rising sea levels, told the leaders of the G20 industrial powers in a speech: "We are drowning and our only hope is the life-ring you are holding."


Nearly 90 countries have joined a US- and EU-led effort to slash emissions of methane 30 per cent by 2030 from 2020 levels, a senior US official said ahead of a formal announcement on Tuesday.

Among the signatories to be announced on Tuesday is Brazil - one of the five biggest emitters of methane, which is generated in cows' digestive systems, in landfill waste and in oil and gas production.

Three others - China, Russia and India - have not signed up while Australia has said it will not back the pledge.

Protesters have been gathering outside the summit representing a number of organisations, including Glasgow-based climate activists, global networks like Oxfam and Extinction Rebellion, and youth activists from Fridays for Future. 

Around the world.

- Christmas may be difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, England's deputy chief medical officer has warned, urging people to behave with caution and come forward for booster shots. There has been an average of about 40000 new cases each day in recent weeks.

- At least 22 people, including women and children, have been killed after a passenger bus plunged 500 metre into a ravine in Pakistan.

- With AAP

Feature image: WA Police/@alecbaldwininsta/Getty/Peter Summers.

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