The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday September 13.

Dylan Alcott achieves the 'golden slam'.

Wheelchair tennis star Dylan Alcott has made history by becoming the first man ever to achieve the 'golden slam' of all four major singles titles as well as Paralympic gold in the same season with his emphatic win in the quad final at the US Open.

The irrepressible 30-year-old Melburnian top seed was a brilliant winner in his showdown with teenage Dutchman Niels Vink at Flushing Meadows on Sunday, outplaying the youngster 7-5 6-2 in an hour and a quarter to lift his 15th grand slam singles crown. 

"I can't believe I just won the Golden Slam," Alcott said following his win.

"I used to hate myself so much, I hated my disability, I didn't even want to be here any more.

"I found tennis and it changed and saved my life.

"Now I've become the only male ever in any form of tennis to win the Golden Slam which is pretty cool."

Earlier, Dutchwoman Diede de Groot, the top seed, had achieved the same 'golden slam' in the women's wheelchair singles, beating Japan's Yui Kamiji 6-3 6-2 in a repeat of the gold medal match at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Children aged 12 can now get Moderna jab.

Parents can start making bookings for their children aged 12 to 15 to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is recommending the mRNA-type Moderna vaccine for everyone 12 years and older.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration had previously given provisional approval for Moderna jabs for 12 to 15 year olds.

Assisting this additional demand, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the federal government had secured an additional one million Moderna doses from member countries of the European Union.


These will arrive next weekend and will start to be rolled out to the 3600-strong community pharmacy network, kicking off with up to 1800 in the first stage.

National COVID task force coordinator-general John Frewen said that means more than 11 million doses of mRNA will be available in September.

"This will be followed by 12 million doses in October and then 12 million doses in November," he told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

He said Moderna and Pfizer are essentially the same type of vaccine.

Bookings for 12 to 15 year olds will be open from Monday and the booking system has been translated into 30 languages.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said 67.4 per cent of Australians aged 16 and above have now had one COVID-19 jab and 42.3 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses.

Freedoms, challenging months ahead for NSW.

NSW has been warned of a "challenging" two months with an incoming peak in COVID-19 cases as much of the state wakes to new freedoms. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there had been some stabilisation of infection numbers in the local government areas of concern but the virus was "picking up pace" in certain suburbs.

"We can't afford to let our guard down," Ms Berejiklian told reporters at the last press conference of its kind on Sunday.


The daily 11am updates will from Monday be replaced by a video from NSW Health to communicate the new case numbers and concerns of the day.

Read: Why Gladys Berejiklian is stepping back from the 11am press conferences.

There were 1262 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and seven deaths, including a man in his 20s, recorded in NSW on Sunday.

From 12.01am on Monday up to five fully vaccinated adults who live outside the councils of concern can gather outdoors within five kilometres of their home.

Vaccinated households that live in the 12 local government areas of concern will be able to gather outdoors for recreation for one hour outside curfew hours and within five kilometres of home.

The seven deaths reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday include a man in his 20s from western Sydney and six people from south-western Sydney in their 40s, 50s, 70s and 80s.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the man in his 20s was unvaccinated and had significant underlying health conditions.

"However, I just want to make the point, that while you are likely to have more severe COVID if you are older and have underlying health conditions, even previously healthy people of all ages can get severe disease and die," Dr Chant said.

When asked to respond to images of people flocking to beaches in Sydney's east over the weekend, Dr Chant said it caused her "some concern" but said the reality was outdoor environments were "probably the safest" if people were social distancing.


Meanwhile state and federal opposition leaders have criticised the plan to scrap the daily live-streamed briefings weeks before the COVID-19 crisis is expected to peak in NSW.

But Ms Berejiklian defended the government's decision and said she would still front the media when necessary whether it was seven or three days a week.

"While there would be ample information provided on a daily basis, I will not necessarily be the one providing the information on a daily basis, and that is because, as I have said, I need a clear head," she said on Sunday.

Elsewhere, thousands of NSW residents across the state's northeast and southwest enjoyed their second day of freedom in weeks as stay-at-home restrictions lifted on Saturday for regional centres such as Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga and Albury.

Vic set for COVID roadmap in 'week's time'.

Victorians can expect to soon get a more detailed roadmap out of COVID-19 lockdown, as much-anticipated modelling inches closer to completion.

Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged the state government will receive detailed modelling from the Burnett Institute in coming days, before the "caveated" blueprint is laid out "in about a week's time".

The modelling will allow health authorities and ministers to formulate plans about what businesses can open and when, on the path to fully vaccinating 80 per cent of Victoria's eligible population.

The state government has previously announced a minor easing of restrictions when the state hits 70 per cent first dose coverage, including an extra hour of outdoor activity and the expansion of the five-kilometre travel radius to 10km.


"We're aiming to deliver on all of the commitments that we had foreshadowed, I don't have a crystal ball. I can't guarantee that, but that's what we're working towards," Mr Andrews said.

"If we can go further in any areas, we will. That'll be based on advice but the first thing to do is get to the 70 per cent first dose." 

A plan to return students to classrooms including upgrading ventilation in schools and staggered entry times will form part of the more comprehensive roadmap.

Of the new 392 cases reported on Sunday, 255 were from Melbourne's north and another 89 came from the western suburbs. Another five infections were also detected in regional Victoria, including one in Greater Geelong, one in Mildura, two in Gippsland and one in the Macedon Ranges that is linked to a V/Line cluster.

Canberrans soon to learn COVID-19 strategy.

Canberrans are edging closer to learning if the ACT's COVID-19 restrictions will be eased as scheduled.

Stay-at-home orders have been in place across the national capital since August 12 and a major announcement is due on Tuesday, ahead of the expected Friday midnight end of lockdown. 

Asked about trends in the ACT's case numbers, Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman described them as "stable", adding more information is on the way.


"What I've committed to do is talking to that on Tuesday when we provide a pretty comprehensive update of where we are in the ACT and also some of the details about what's happening with the lockdown moving forward," Dr Coleman told reporters on Sunday.

The territory reported 15 new cases on both Saturday and Sunday. In the latest reporting period, nine patients were in the community when infectious and eight of the cases were linked to a known source.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT's plan needed to consider modelling from NSW because Canberra Hospital remains a "tertiary" facility, taking critically ill patients from over the border.

SA on board with national reopening plan.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has thrown his full support behind the national COVID-19 recovery plan, indicating state lockdowns and lockouts will become a thing of the past before Christmas.

The plan that sees restrictions start to ease at vaccination rates of 70 and 80 per cent has caused consternation in some states, but not SA.

"Once we get to double dose 80 per cent vaccination across South Australia we will certainly move away from state lockdowns," Mr Marshall told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.


"We will get to the double dose vaccination well before Christmas here in South Australia."

Double dose vaccinations for people aged over 16 in SA are currently running at a fraction above 40 per cent. 

He also expects to move away from whole-state lockouts, and more towards exclusions of local government areas and exposure sites.

The premier expects businesses may insist on people being vaccinated, but that's not something governments will endorse unless it is agreed at the national cabinet level.

'Sigh of relief': Qld reports no new cases.

Queenslanders are breathing a sigh of relief, with the sunshine state recording no new COVID-19 cases and again dodging a lockdown.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles confirmed Queensland reported no new infections on Sunday, after detecting five new cases on Saturday.

The state government opted not to go into lockdown but flagged "very quick, fast action" may be needed if it saw seeding outside an infected family.

"I know the last 24 hours Queenslanders have had their fingers and toes crossed, and it's fantastic to bring news that we can breathe a sigh of relief," he told reporters on Sunday.


"There's no new cases in Queensland in the last 24 hours. This is the best result we could have hoped for.

"We're not out of the woods yet. We do need to continue to monitor the situation, particularly south of the river down through Logan and into the Gold Coast."

The outbreak has infected five members of the same family who live across two households, including a 13-year-old schoolgirl from Sunnybank.

Meeting on concern of renewed terror risk.

Fears the fall of Afghanistan will reinvigorate religious extremist terrorism in Australia have prompted a high-level meeting of police and counterterrorism officials from across the country.

The likelihood of a terror attack in Australia remains "probable", Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews will tell a policy think tank when announcing the meeting on Monday.

Twenty years after the 9/11 terror attacks, extremism still poses a significant threat, Ms Andrews will tell the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in a virtual address to mark the anniversary.

"The changing situation in Afghanistan presents a serious concern – with the Taliban in control, Afghanistan may once again become an international safe haven for terrorist networks and cells," she will say.

"And the very anniversary we are discussing today – perversely – serves as inspiration for some.

"Fuelled by the dark web, religiously motivated and ideologically motivated individuals and groups here in Australia do mean us harm and are planning acts of violence."

Australia's police and law enforcement ministers will be invited to a joint meeting to discuss the continued threat, she will announce.

Also on the agenda is reform to allow greater supervision of convicted terrorists upon their release.

Some 51 offenders are currently serving prison terms for terrorist offences in Australia, and another 32 are before the courts.

'Game-changer' melanoma scanners being rolled out in Australia.

New technology that could save lives through the early detection and treatment of melanoma is set to be fired up across Australia. 

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and there is currently no standardised diagnosis for it. 

More than 28,000 Australians are diagnosed with a melanoma each year, leading to an average 1700 deaths - one of the highest rates in the world. 

But the first of 15,000 Australians will on Monday step into 3D body scanners rolled out through the Australian Cancer Research Foundation in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.


This technology undertakes full body mapping, allowing researchers to investigate and track potentially problematic moles and skin spots over time.

Researchers are aiming to devise an algorithm that can project who will suffer melanoma and other skin cancers - a potential game changer for early skin cancer diagnosis.

The new technology will be used at six sites in Queensland, including Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital, Townsville and Mount Isa. 

In NSW it will be used at five sites including Westmead Hospital, Melanoma Institute Australia, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Dubbo and Port Macquarie/Coffs Harbour. 

In Victoria it will be used at the Alfred Hospital, the Skin Health Institute, Bendigo Health, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and at Bass Coast.

Al-Qaeda chief releases video marking 9/11.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri appeared in a video marking the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, months after rumours spread that he was dead.

The Site Intelligence Group that monitors jihadist websites said the video was released on Saturday.

In it, al-Zawahri said that "Jerusalem will never be judaised", and praised al Qaida attacks including one that targeted Russian troops in Syria in January.


Site said al-Zawahri also noted the US military's withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.

It added that his comments do not necessarily indicate a recent recording, as the withdrawal agreement with the Taliban was signed in February 2020.

Taliban to segregate uni classes for women.

Women in Afghanistan can continue to study in universities, including at post-graduate levels, but classrooms will be gender-segregated and Islamic dress is compulsory, the higher education minister in the new Taliban government has said.

The minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, laid out the new policies at a news conference on Sunday, several days after Afghanistan's new rulers formed an all-male government.


On Saturday, the Taliban had raised their flag over the presidential palace, signalling the start of the work of the new government.

The world has been watching closely to see to what extent the Taliban might act differently from their first time in power, in the late 1990s. During that era, girls and women were denied an education, and were excluded from public life.

The Taliban have suggested they have changed, including in their attitudes toward women. However, women have been banned from sports and the Taliban have used violence in recent days against women protesters demanding equal rights.

Haqqani said the subjects being taught would also be reviewed. While he did not elaborate, he said he wanted graduates of Afghanistan's universities to be competitive with university graduates in the region and the rest of the world.

Activists have called on the Australian federal government to lift its intake from Afghanistan, and take on an extra 20,000 people.

Prince Andrew's lawyers query legal docs.

A US court will hold a pre-trial conference in the civil suit filed by a woman who claims Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her as the two sides argue over whether the prince was properly served with documents in the case.

Lawyers for the woman, Virginia Giuffre, say the documents were handed over to a Metropolitan Police officer on duty at the main gates of Andrew's home in Windsor Great Park on August 27.

But Blackfords, a law firm that said they represent Andrew "in certain UK matters," have questioned whether the papers were properly served and raised the possibility of challenging the court's jurisdiction in the case, according to a September 6 letter referenced in court documents filed by Giuffre's lawyers.


"We reiterate that our client reserves all his rights, including to contest the jurisdiction of the US courts (including on the basis of potentially defective service)," they wrote.

A US judge will ultimately determine whether the papers were properly delivered.

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York will hold the first pre-trial conference in the case via teleconference on Monday.

Read: Prince Andrew has been served with a lawsuit for sexual assault. Here's what we know. 

Around the world.

- A Florida judge has cancelled the trial for rock icon Rod Stewart and his adult son and scheduled a hearing next month to discuss a plea deal to resolve charges stemming from a New Year's Eve altercation with a hotel security guard nearly two years ago.

- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out plans to manage the COVID-19 pandemic over winter, with the introduction of vaccine passports to be scrapped. 

- NZ is buying 500,000 doses of Pfizer from Denmark, amid 20 new COVID cases on Sunday.

- With AAP

Feature image: Elsa/James D. Morgan/Ximena Rubio/Long Visual Press/Universal Images Group/Getty.

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