The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Wednesday October 13.

Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku dies in Sydney aged 101.

Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku, who last year published his best-selling memoir, The Happiest Man on Earth, has died in Sydney aged 101, a Jewish community leader says.

"Eddie Jaku was a beacon of light and hope for not only our community, but the world," NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive officer Darren Bark said in a statement.

"He will always be remembered for the joy that followed him, and his constant resilience in the face of adversity," Mr Bark added.

Mr Jaku died on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to Mr Jaku's decision to "make his life a testimony of how hope and love can triumph over despair and hate."

"He will be sadly missed, especially by our Jewish community. He was an inspiration and a joy," Mr Morrison added.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, whose Jewish-Hungarian mother also survived the Holocaust and arrived in Australia in 1950 as a stateless child, said "Australia has lost a giant."

Mr Jaku was tossed out of school in 1933 at the age of 13 because he was Jewish, but managed to finish his high school education in another city under an alias in 1938 with a qualification in precision engineering.


Mr Jaku said his qualification spared him the gas chambers in the years that followed because he worked as a slave labourer.

He was sent to and escaped from concentration camps including Buchenwald and Auschwitz, where his parents were gassed on arrival.

He escaped from what he suspected was a death march as an Auschwitz prisoner as Allies approached. He spent months in hiding before US troops found him near starved and sick with cholera and typhoid.

In 1946, he married in Belgium his Jewish wife Flore, who had spent a comparatively uneventful war in Paris pretending to be Christian, and they migrated to Australia in 1950.

Forever marked with an Auschwitz prisoner number tattooed on his left arm, he also became a volunteer at the Sydney Jewish Museum, sharing his experiences and philosophies of life with visitors.

He is survived by his wife of 75 years, his sons Andre and Michael, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Vic hospitals brace for COVID-19 influx.

Elective surgery across Victoria is on hold as the public health system braces itself for an influx of COVID-19 hospitalisations.

Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed public hospitals will from Thursday only be performing urgent category one and two surgeries.

It comes as the state recruits up to 1000 healthcare workers from outside Australia. 

"As COVID cases increase ... we will be progressively seeking to switch off elements of non-urgent care," he told reporters.


The numbers of Victorians in hospital with COVID-19 keeps rising, with 675 patients on Monday, of whom 144 are in ICU including 100 on ventilators.

The government will inject $255 million into creating a new hospital surge support allowance for healthcare workers treating COVID-positive patients. 

The allowance would provide up to $60 per shift for the next four months, and would kick in from this week.

On top of that spending, there will also be another $2.5 million to recruit up to 1000 international healthcare workers, with 60 per cent of the recruits Australians overseas.

Since recording 1965 cases on Saturday, the state's daily numbers have trended down, with another 1466 infections on Tuesday.

Pfizer makes progress on child vaccines.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has taken the first steps to have its COVID-19 vaccine approved in Australia for children aged five to 12.

But Health Minister Greg Hunt says there is still some work to be done for Pfizer to get the "double green light".

A Pfizer spokeswoman told AAP trial results had shown a favourable safety profile and robust antibody response for two doses of its vaccine.

The data has gone to United States regulators for initial review. A formal submission for emergency use authorisation, along with submissions to other regulatory authorities, are planned in the coming weeks.

Pfizer has applied to Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration for a provisional determination, which will allow formal application for inclusion of the five to 11-year-old age group.

As well, a study covering children aged six months to five years old is expected to report back before the end of the year.

Mr Hunt said Australia had secured enough doses to vaccinate five to 12-year-olds if approval is granted.

But he noted it would need the approval of both the TGA, in terms of safety and efficacy, as well as the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation about use.

Perrottet says COVID is his "sole focus" as Auslan fallout continues.

As Dominic Perrottet embarks on his second week as NSW premier, it's "pandemic one, two and three" on his priority list for the state's future.

"That is the sole focus of the government," Mr Perrottet told AAP. 

The COVID-19 pandemic was an economic challenge and there were more health challenges to come, he warned.

"We need to get through this as well as we can. We're going to lead the nation out of this pandemic here in NSW, and there's so many things to do in that space," Mr Perrottet said.


The state is rapidly approaching the next vaccination milestone, just three days into the reopening triggered once 70 per cent of eligible residents were fully vaccinated.

Some 75.23 per cent of residents over 16 were fully vaccinated by Monday and 90.77 per cent had at least one shot.

That means NSW could reach the 80 per cent mark by Sunday.

The premier on Tuesday confirmed the next phase of reopening would begin next Monday if that is the case.

"The success of our vaccination rate has been absolutely superb ... when we hit 80 per cent, we've always said it will be the Monday following," he told ABC radio. 

However, the reopening roadmap could be tweaked if the next phase came so soon, he said.

Deaf and hard of hearing advocates have criticised Perrottet for failing to provide Auslan interpreters at his recent press conferences.


A spokesperson for Mr Perrettot said the reason Auslan interpreters were not present at some press conferences is because they were not led by NSW Health.

"NSW Health will continue to book Auslan interpreters at press conferences... and at any press conference where the Chief Health Officer or Deputy is providing a public health update," it read.

ACT to outline contact tracing overhaul.

Changes to how ACT health authorities will handle positive COVID-19 cases are set to be revealed, as Canberra nears the end of lockdown.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr will provide an update on Wednesday on how testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine measures will be undertaken, with there expected to be less of an emphasis on case numbers.

The changes are expected to be phased in over several weeks, following the ending of Canberra's lockdown on Friday.

The territory's chief health officer Kerryn Coleman said the changes would coincide with a shift away from a sole emphasis on virus case figures.

"The daily numbers are becoming less important with our higher vaccination rate and more movement in the community," Dr Coleman said.


"We are moving towards a COVID normal where we expect to see an ongoing transmission of cases."

The ACT is on track to reach 99 per cent of its eligible population being fully vaccinated.

Friday will bring eased restrictions, including gatherings of up to five people in one household or 25 outdoors.

Restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms and hairdressers will also be able to reopen, subject to density limits.

SA premier moves to end border doubts.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall says health and government officials are all "on the same page" as he moved to clear up confusion over a future easing of COVID-19 border restrictions.

Mr Marshall met with SA Health boss Chris McGowan and Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier on Tuesday after some mixed messaging on the state's plans for Christmas.

The premier last week raised the prospect of people from Victoria and NSW entering SA for the festive season without the need to quarantine provided they are double vaccinated.

But Dr McGowan cast doubts on that at a parliamentary hearing on Monday, telling a committee that he was "not aware of any health advice" that there would be no need for fully-vaccinated visitors to quarantine by Christmas.

Professor Spurrier appeared to tread a middle ground in a later media conference, saying there would be arrangements for double-vaccinated people to travel to SA, but some could face testing and some could still be required to isolate.

On Tuesday, Mr Marshall said he had a close working relationship with Prof Spurrier and Dr McGowan and "we are 100 per cent on the same page".


The premier said while there would still be situations where people would be required to quarantine, for the vast majority it would be a normal Christmas. The double-vaccinated would be able to come into the state provided vaccination targets were met.

"We've got to get to that 80 per cent double-vaccinated in the 16 and over first," he said.

"As soon as we are doing that we can end the punishing state lockdowns and also end those punishing state lock-outs."

QLD introducing vaccines at Bunnings.

The Queensland government will roll out COVID-19 vaccines at Bunnings stores in a bid to boost uptake as the state prepares to eventually reopen the borders.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her government is finding new ways to bring protection to the state's population and vaccine clinics will begin at Bunnings retailers this weekend. 

"So families can get their Bunnings sausage and a dose of vaccine," the premier told parliament on Tuesday.

More than two dozen Bunnings have been identified across the state, stretching from the Gold Coast, inland to Dalby and as far north as Cairns to boost the state's jab rate. 

The move comes as the state recorded zero new locally-acquired cases on Tuesday, with one detected in hotel quarantine and three on a marine vessel. 

A total of 16,628 vaccines were administered across the state on Monday, and 8929 tests undertaken.


Queensland reached a significant milestone in its vaccination push as the state hit 70 per cent with one dose on Monday and 52.7 per cent fully inoculated. 

A home quarantine trial for 1000 stranded residents has also begun as the government begins to address plans for re-opening. 

Victorian premier denies branch stacking.

Premier Daniel Andrews' faction in the Victorian Labor Party has been accused of branch stacking but he denies any wrongdoing on his part.

Federal MP Anthony Byrne told an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission inquiry on Tuesday the socialist left faction was engaged in branch stacking, particularly in the southeast of Melbourne. 

Mr Byrne a day earlier told the inquiry he, state government minister Luke Donnellan and then-Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek were paying for other people's party memberships to boost their moderate faction's influence in Melbourne's southeast, and to ensure their preferred candidates were preselected.

The practice is not illegal but is against Labor party rules.

IBAC is investigating whether public funds were used for such work.

Mr Donnellan resigned from his cabinet post on Monday afternoon, admitting he breached party rules but "never misused public funds or resources in any way".

Mr Andrews is part of the socialist left but told reporters outside parliament on Tuesday he had not attended factional meetings since he became Victorian Labor leader in 2010.

"I follow the party's rules and I behave appropriately," he told reporters.


"If you go and ask (wife) Cath and the kids, they'll tell you I've had no time to do much else other than my parliamentary and my ministerial duties."

Mr Andrews conceded there was a "cultural problem" within the party but he had taken "unprecedented action" to remedy it, including by ordering an audit of Victorian Labor members.

Morrison to attend G20 talks on Afghanistan.

Scott Morrison will discuss Afghanistan's humanitarian needs and the plight of stranded foreign citizens and visa holders during a virtual meeting with G20 leaders.

The extraordinary leaders' meeting to be convened by Italy on Tuesday night local time will canvas a range of issues following the Taliban takeover in August. 

The prime minister stressed it was crucial for the world's major economies to work together to support the Afghan people.

"We must be coordinated in our approach to Afghanistan's immediate humanitarian needs, to demand the Taliban regime ensure safe passage from Afghanistan for foreign citizens and visa holders, and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorism," Mr Morrison said in a statement.

More than 26,000 visa applications have been received by Australia while at least 286 citizens and permanent residents remain in Afghanistan.

The federal government got out about 4100 people during the evacuation of Afghanistan.

New domestic airline set to fly in 2022.

The founder of a new domestic airline says most of its planned routes are not available elsewhere and customers will benefit from lower fares. 

The new airline called Bonza is aiming to start flying early next year and is targeted at people travelling to regional destinations.


Former Virgin Blue executive Tim Jordan is leading the venture and has gained substantial financial backing from US investment firm 777 Partners.

The firm has stakes in Canadian airline Flair and the Asian group of budget carriers Value Alliance. 

"Our mission is to bring more low fares to more destinations," Mr Jordan said.

"We expect more than half of our routes not to be flown by other operators."

Routes are yet to be confirmed. However Bonza will not contest popular capital city ones dominated by current airlines, such as between Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Instead, Mr Jordan claimed Bonza could serve and generate more demand for regional flights.

The most notable difference for customers on board will be the planes - new Boeing 737-8s.

"You're likely to be flying on a larger aircraft than is flown by the incumbents," Mr Jordan said. 

Customers will also have to pay for food service and any checked baggage. These measures will help Bonza compete on cost.

Locations being considered include Ballina, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, the Gold Coast, Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast and Tweed Heads.

The airline is likely to hire former Qantas and Virgin staff let go during the pandemic.

Coroner confirms Gabby Petito's cause of death.

A US coroner has confirmed Gabby Petito's death as a homocide, listing the cause of death as strangulation. 


The 22-year-old's remains were found on September 19 in a Wyoming national park, after she failed to return home to Florida with her fiance and the van they'd been travelling across America in. 

Teton County coroner Dr Brent Blue said no other information about the autopsy will be released, however they are estimating Ms Petito died three to four weeks before the body was found in an outdoor environment.

Her fiance Brian Laundrie remains on the run. He returned to his parent's home on September 1, but has since disappeared. 

On September 23, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Mr Laundrie, accusing him of bank card fraud. He is considered a person of interest in Gabby's murder investigation. 

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Black paraplegic man pulled from car in US traffic stop.

Video footage of Clifford Owensby being pulled out of his car by his hair and arms after refusing officers' orders during a traffic stop in Ohio is making headlines worldwide.

Owensby, who is paraplegic, has filed a complaint with the NAACP, telling a news conference "They dragged me to their vehicle like a dog, like trash."

On Friday the Dayton Police Department released a 12-minute video of the body camera footage taken during the September 30 incident. 


Owensby accused the Dayton Police Department (DPD) of profiling, unlawful arrest, illegal search and seizure, and failure to read him his rights before being taken to jail.

The 39-year-old's three-year-old son was also in the car at the time of the arrest.

His lawyer James Willis said he plans to file a civil lawsuit, telling the press conference, "I think it was illegal and was unnecessarily brutal, given the fact they were aware fully that he can't get out of the car on his own."

Around the world.

- NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has unveiled a retro-style televised "vaxathon" as the centrepiece of her Super Saturday COVID-19 vaccination drive this weekend.

80 per cent of the country's 12+ population is at leasty partially vaccinated.

- World Rugby's governing body has amended its laws to allow players at all levels to wear tights or leggings during games.

Law 4 of the sport, which covers players' clothing, previously only permitted women to wear "cotton blend tights or leggings, with single inside seam under their shorts and socks", but has now been extended to all participants with immediate effect, World Rugby said on Tuesday.

The amendment has been implemented on "welfare and accessibility grounds" amid the increasing use of artificial surfaces.

- With AAP

Feature image: Sydney Jewish Museum/Dayton Police Department/AAP/Southern Lightscapes-Australia/ 

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