The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Friday May 21.

Israel and Hamas agree on Gaza truce.

Israel and Hamas will cease fire across the Gaza Strip border as of 9am AEST on Friday, an official with the Palestinian Islamist faction says, bringing a potentially tenuous halt to the fiercest fighting in decades.

Israel's security cabinet said it had voted unanimously in favour of a "mutual and unconditional" Gaza truce proposed by mediator Egypt but added that the hour of implementation had yet to be agreed.

The development came a day after US President Joe Biden urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek de-escalation and amid mediation bids by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations.

A Hamas official told Reuters the ceasefire would be "mutual and simultaneous".

Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet approved the truce on the basis of what one official reportedly called "quiet in exchange for quiet".

Rocket attacks by Hamas and allied Islamic Jihad had resumed after an eight-hour pause on Thursday as Israel continued shelling that it said aimed to destroy the factions' military capabilities and deter them from future confrontation after the current conflict.

Since the fighting began on May 10, health officials in Gaza say 232 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, have been killed and more than 1900 wounded in aerial bombardments.

Authorities put the death toll in Israel at 12, with hundreds of people treated for injuries in rocket attacks that have caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters.

BBC Diana interview reporter 'used deceit'.

A BBC journalist used deceit to win a sensational 1995 interview with Princess Diana in which she disclosed intimate details of her failed marriage to Prince Charles and the broadcaster covered up the deception, an inquiry says.


The BBC set up the investigation, headed by former senior judge John Dyson, in November following allegations from Diana's brother Charles Spencer that he had been tricked into introducing her to journalist Martin Bashir.

Dyson's report concluded that Bashir, then a little-known reporter, had shown Spencer fake bank statements suggesting that Diana was being bugged by the security services and that two senior aides were being paid to provide information about her.

"Mr Bashir deceived and induced him to arrange a meeting with Princess Diana," the report said.

"Mr Bashir acted inappropriately and in serious breach of the 1993 edition of the Producers' Guidelines on straight dealing."

Spencer said he drew a line between the events and Diana's death.

"She didn't know who to trust and in the end when she died, two years later, she was without any form of real protection," Spencer said.

The BBC has written to Diana's son Prince William to apologise.

During the Panorama interview, watched by more than 20 million viewers in the UK, Diana shocked the nation by admitting to an affair and sharing details of her marriage to the heir to the throne Prince Charles. It was the first time Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997, had commented publicly about her doomed marriage.

After it was aired, Bashir repeatedly lied to his bosses about how the interview was obtained, the report said. As questions continued, BBC managers failed to scrutinise his version of events properly and covered up facts about how Bashir had secured the interview.


"Without justification, the BBC fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark," the report said.

Prince William has released a searing statement telling the media, the interview "contributed significantly" to Princess Diana's "fear, paranoia and isolation" in her final years and had a "major contribution to making my parents' relationship worse".

Prince Harry released a separate statement moments after that of his brother's, saying "our mother lost her life because of this and nothing has changed".

Folau set to announce rugby league future after teaming up with Clive Palmer.

Controversial code-hopping footballer Israel Folau is set to announce he wants to resurrect his sporting career at a Gold Coast rugby league club.

The former rugby union and rugby league international has called a press conference alongside outspoken businessman Clive Palmer in Brisbane on Friday morning to announce his football future.

It's understood Palmer will be providing his support for Folau to join the Southport Tigers in the Gold Coast A-Grade competition.

The mining magnate and former politician is associated with the Tigers.


Folau is believed to have made an application with the Queensland Rugby League to play in the Gold Coast competition.

The 32-year-old returned to rugby league last year with French club Catalans after stints in AFL and rugby union.

St George Illawarra made a bid to bring the former Wallabies star back to the NRL earlier this year before abandoning the move after an intense backlash.

Folau hasn't played professional sport in Australia since 2019 when his contract with Rugby Australia was terminated after he said "hell awaits" gay people in a social media post.

Warrant issued for conman Peter Foster.

Serial conman Peter Foster is the subject of an arrest warrant in Queensland after prosecutors in Sydney dropped more than a dozen charges over an alleged multi-million-dollar Bitcoin scam.

The 58-year-old was facing 15 fraud charges after allegedly posing as a man called Bill Dawson and extricating 120 Bitcoin from a Hong Kong man in 2019 and 2020.

Those charges were dropped on Thursday, leading Queensland police to issue an arrest warrant "in relation to a number of alleged fraud offences".


Foster was on bail but didn't show in Downing Centre Local Court, with his lawyer telling the court he wasn't sure where Foster had gone after going to the lawyer's office in the morning.

"Queensland Police and NSW Police are currently making enquiries into his whereabouts," a Queensland Police spokesperson told AAP in a statement.

Foster was arrested on a beach in far north Queensland in August 2020 before being extradited to Sydney. He spent seven months in custody until a magistrate granted him strict bail on March 26.

Among his conditions, he was ordered not to leave his Dover Heights home except for a medical emergency, police reporting or to see his legal advisers. He also had to surrender his passport, wear an electronic tracking anklet and was banned from using a mobile phone.

Six new clot cases linked to AstraZeneca.

Australian regulators have uncovered six more cases of rare blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, but say they are not unexpected as the rollout expands.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration said four cases were confirmed and the other two were deemed probable.

The new cases include a 57-year-old woman from Victoria, a 53-year-old South Australian man and an 18-year-old woman in Queensland.


The teenager received the vaccine before health advice was changed to say Australians under-50 should get the Pfizer option.

An earlier case of a 79-year-old Victorian man has also been confirmed, while authorities are seeking more information on probable cases in two women aged 71 and 87.

The latest cases take the Australian total to 24 out of the 2.1 million doses of AstraZeneca administered in Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday stood by the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying all those over the age of 50 should get the jab, which was authorised and approved by the TGA.

"My mum's had AstraZeneca, (wife) Jenny's had AstraZeneca, my mother-in-law's had AstraZeneca, (health minister) Greg Hunt's had AstraZeneca, and so have so many across the country," he said.

Qantas boss calls for reopening of borders this year.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce says Australia's vaccine rollout feels like it's moving slower than it should and higher rates of take up may allow borders to open by the end of the year.

Mr Joyce called for extra effort to encourage COVID-19 jabs while discussing Thursday's news of voluntary redundancy for Qantas international cabin crew and a two-year wage freeze for employees.

The airline boss said authorities had done a great job keeping Australians safe during the pandemic.

"Imagine if we put the same focus on the vaccine rollout," Mr Joyce told a media conference.

"Opening by the end of the year seems very achievable under those circumstances."

The Morrison government has been reluctant to give a timeframe for vaccinations. Budget papers use a mid-2022 re-opening timeframe, but there are no guarantees.


"We need to make sure we encourage as many people as possible to take the vaccine and make sure we don't get to a stage of dosage wastage," said Joyce.

More than 3.2 million Australians have now received a COVID-19 vaccination, with the daily pace of the rollout increasing as the program expands.

Navalny "more or less" recovered, says Russia.

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has "more or less" recovered his health following a hunger strike and has the possibility of communicating with his family, the head of Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service says.

Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent domestic critic, is serving a two-and-a-half year jail sentence for parole violations he says were trumped up.

"I can say he has more or less recovered his health," the TASS news agency quoted Alexander Kalashnikov, head of the Federal Penitentiary Service, as saying.

"He already weighs 82kg. He is eating normally and has the possibility of communicating with his family."

The 44-year-old opposition politician had declared a hunger strike in late March to demand better medical care in prison after experiencing acute leg and back pain.

His deteriorating health prompted allies to call on his supporters to take to the streets to demand he receive adequate care, but the turnout at those rallies was more modest than expected.

Navalny, who last year survived what German doctors said was a nerve agent poisoning, halted his hunger strike last month after receiving better medical care.


Cyclone Tauktae toll tops 100 in India.

The Indian navy says it has so far recovered the bodies of 37 people from a barge that sank off Mumbai during a powerful storm that claimed 81 more lives on the country's western coasts.

The barge, owned by state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), was carrying 261 people when it sank near an offshore oilfield on Monday evening as Cyclone Tauktae blew ashore.

The navy, battling extreme weather, managed to rescue 186 people and found 15 more bodies in operations overnight, raising the toll in the tragedy to 37, navy spokesman Vivek Madhwal told dpa.

Cyclone Tauktae, the strongest cyclone to strike the region in over two decades, packed winds reaching 200km/h when it made landfall in Gujarat state late Monday.

Around the world.

- A Paris appeals court has ruled that 2700 of victims of defective breast implants made in France should receive compensation.

- Prince William, who contracted COVID-19 last year, has received his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine writing on Twitter "to all those working on the vaccine rollout - thankyou for everything you've done and continue to do."

- A British auction house is putting up for sale a handwritten letter by children's author Roald Dahl which reveals his secrets to good storytelling. The item has a price guide of between $915 and $1460.

 With AAP

Feature Image: Momen Faiz/NurPhoto/Getty/BBC Panaroma/Alex Livesey/Getty.