news

The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Tuesday October 27.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains names and descriptions of people who have died.

Melbournians allowed one home visit per day, Daniel Andrews says.

Daniel Andrews says Melburnians can have one home visit per day. Image: Getty. 

Home visits in Melbourne will be restricted to one per day as the city emerges from its coronavirus lockdown after a devastating second wave.

On Tuesday, Premier Daniel Andrews outlined the tight rules on how Melbourne residents can start visiting each other from Wednesday. Two adults with dependents can only visit another home once per day. Anyone who has a visitor cannot visit another home on that day.

Andrews said there would be "some complexities" around the rules, with visits also restricted to the 25km travel limit.

"I know it's not a nice thing to say or a nice thing for anyone to acknowledge but the place where you feel safest, your home, is actually the most dangerous environment for the spread of this virus," he said.

"That's why there has to be rules and if we all follow those rules then we keep each other safe, we be able to see the people we missed the most and loved the most but do it in a COVID-safe way."

Andrews added the home rules will remain beyond November 8, when the 25km limit and the "ring of steel" separating Melbourne from regional Victoria are set to end.

Trump's US Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett, has been confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed to the Supreme Court. Image: Getty. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Enough Republican US senators have voted to confirm President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, with the White House planning a celebratory event afterward.

While Democrats have fiercely opposed the conservative jurist's nomination, Trump's fellow Republicans hold a 53-47 Senate advantage and had reached enough votes on Monday to confirm as voting continued.

The ceremony planned at the White House comes a month after a similar event was linked to a COVID-19 outbreak that preceded Trump's own infection.

At the ceremony, conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will administer one of the two oaths of office that justices have to take, according to a White House official.

Trump pressed the Senate to confirm Barrett before the November 3 election, which would create a 6-3 conservative majority on the top US judicial body.

Victoria records another 'donut day'.

Victoria has recorded a second consecutive 'zero day', recording no additional COVID-19 cases or deaths overnight.

This brings metropolitan Melbourne's 14 day rolling average to 2.8, while regional Victoria's is 0.2.

ADVERTISEMENT

The number of mystery cases is down to six.

Melbourne to learn home visits rule ahead of a midnight ease to lockdown.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will reveal the final piece of his latest reopening puzzle as Melbourne prepares to emerge from months of lockdown.

There was a notable absence from Melbourne's long list of easing lockdown rules on Monday, with authorities still pondering home visits for family and friends.

Mr Andrews assured Melburnians they would be able to visit homes with more freedom in line with other rule changes from 11.59pm on Tuesday, but wanted to mull over the final decision overnight.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We do not want to do a bubble because we think that can be a particularly confusing set of arrangements for families, but we have not quite settled on it," he told reporters on Monday.

Melbourne has spent the night preparing to get back in business, prompted by Victoria's first clean slate of cases and deaths since June 9 and the results of a testing blitz on an outbreak in the city's north.

The "proud" premier's voice croaked with emotion as he announced the dramatic lockdown changes, headlined by the reopening of Melbourne retail and hospitality venues.

More changes are slated from midnight on November 8, including the end of the so-called "ring of steel" separating the capital from regional Victoria, as well as the 25km travel limit.

READ: "Now is the time to open up." What we just learnt from Dan Andrews' press conference.

NT officer to stand trial for Indigenous death.

A Northern Territory police officer will stand trial for murder over the killing of an Indigenous man shot three times in a remote township last year.

Judge John Birch ordered NT constable Zachary Rolfe to stand trial following a three-day preliminary hearing in the Alice Springs Local Court.

READ: 400 deaths, zero convictions: Australia's national shame.

Rolfe, 29, is living at his parents' home in Canberra while free on bail and attended the hearing via a video link from the ACT Magistrates Court.

ADVERTISEMENT

He was suspended from the police force with pay after he was charged with murder following Kumanjayi Walker's death at the Yuendumu Indigenous settlement in central Australia on November 9.

The 19-year-old's death was protested at rallies around the country, which followed the death in police custody of George Floyd in the United States in May.

Rolfe was part of a four-member elite Immediate Response Team that drove 290 kilometres from Alice Springs into the Tanami Desert to arrest Walker.

Mr Walker wounded Rolfe and his partner Adam Eberl with a pair of scissors in a darkened room, and then allegedly shot Mr Walker with a Glock pistol three times. Prosecutors alleged the second and third shots were not justified.

Passenger describes Qatar strip search as "deeply shocking" and "unfathomable."

A fellow Qatar Airways passenger who saw 13 Australian women rounded up and subjected to invasive physical examinations on the tarmac, has described the situation as "unfathomable."

On October 2, flight 908 was delayed for hours after a premature baby was found alive in a terminal bathroom. 

The search for the baby's mother saw women on the flight ordered to undergo gynaecological examinations without explanation.

"From what I understand, which is very frightening, many, if not all of them were not told prior to their inspection what the reason for it was, so it only came out at the end when they re-boarded… it must have been a terrifying ordeal, not even knowing what the purpose of this is," Dr Wolfgang Babeck told The Project.

ADVERTISEMENT

“[They were] shell-shocked. Certainly the beginning. They were in disbelief, you know? You would have imagined this would have happened 100 years ago, but not now… One lady cried, others were certainly upset, but I think becoming angry in a mood to protest or to take action? That occurred much later,” he said.

One of the women searched has told the ABC she and the other women involved are considering legal action, describing a lady with a mask telling her "to pull my pants down and that I needed to examine my vagina. I said 'I'm not doing that' and she did not explain anything to me. She just kept saying, 'we need to see it we need to see it'."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is investigating with Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne describing the incident as "grossly disturbing and offensive."

Australia Post culture under investigation.

Australia Post will face a one-month investigation examining the organisation's gift and expense culture after watches worth almost $20,000 were handed to senior executives.

The federal government on Monday released the terms of reference for the communications department inquiry which will be assisted by a private law firm.

Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate and former chair John Stanhope's involvement in four Cartier watches being gifted to senior staff will be scrutinised.

ADVERTISEMENT

The management culture at the government-owned enterprise, in relation to gifts, rewards and expenses, will form part of the investigation. That will include personal expenses of executives.

Luxury watches with a combined price tag of $19,950 were dished out to four senior executives for helping clinch a deal to facilitate banking in post offices.

Bonus payments worth more than $97 million were made, with the majority going to staff in senior roles.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young criticised the terms of reference for not mentioning executive bonuses.

Virus wave swells across US and Europe.

The United States, Russia and France have set new daily records for coronavirus infections as a second wave swells across parts of the northern hemisphere, forcing some countries to impose new curbs.

More than 42.9 million people are reported to have been infected by the coronavirus globally and 1,151,929 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

The United States has the highest number of deaths and infections.

ADVERTISEMENT

Word that a vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca produced immune responses in both elderly and young people offered some positive news as autumn turns to winter in northern countries and people socialise indoors.

But UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock cautioned that the vaccine would not be widely available until next year and said "we're not there yet".

The seven-day average of new daily cases in the United States has reached a record high of 69,494, according to a Reuters tally, while deaths - hovering around 800 per day - are on an upward trend.

In Europe the picture was unrelentingly grim as a string of countries reported record increases led by France, which posted more than 50,000 daily cases for the first time on Sunday, while the continent passed the threshold of 250,000 deaths.

Belgium says they could run out of intensive care beds within two weeks if the number of people in hospitals continues to increase at its current rate.

Senate to confirm Trump Supreme Court pick.

The Republican-controlled US Senate is expected to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, as the next justice to the Supreme Court, a move that will tilt the country's highest court further to the right for years to come.

No nominee to the Supreme Court has ever been confirmed by the Senate this close to a presidential election, with more than 58 million ballots already cast ahead of Election Day on November 3.

ADVERTISEMENT

The rush to confirm Barrett, 48, has bitterly divided Democrats and Republicans, who are expected to split along party lines on the final vote on Monday.

Trump has said repeatedly he wants her in place to vote on any election-related cases that go to the court.

With Republicans controlling the chamber 53-47 and no indication of an internal revolt against the conservative appeals court judge succeeding liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barrett looks almost certain to take up a lifetime appointment on the bench over universal Democratic opposition.

With Barrett confirmed, the Supreme Court will have a solid 6-3 conservative majority.

Prince Harry talks about his own 'unconscious bias.'

Prince Harry says it took him many years and the experience of living with his wife Meghan to understand how his privileged upbringing shielded him from the reality of unconscious bias.

Harry talked about racial inequality and social justice in a video discussion with the Black Lives Matter activist Patrick Hutchinson as part of the GQ Heroes Conference, which is being broadcast this week.

"Unconscious bias, from my understanding, having had the upbringing and the education that I have, I had no idea what it was," Harry said.

"I had no idea it existed and then, sad as it is to say, it took me many, many years to realise it, especially then living a day or a week in my wife's shoes."

Harry, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, was raised in the royal family and educated at the exclusive prep school Eton before serving in the British Army.

"But once you realise or you feel a little bit uncomfortable, then the onus is on you to go out and educate yourself because ignorance is no longer an excuse," he said.

Around the world.

- Japan will achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050 and be a carbon neutral society according to the country's prime minister.

- Astronomers have detected water molecules in sunlit areas of the Moon for the first time, with the findings a boost to plans to return humans to the Moon and mine water for rocket fuel.

- With AAP

Feature image: Facebook/Twitter @DanielAndrewsMP/Greg Nash-Pool/Getty

00:00 / ???