This is what’s making news in Australia and around the world today…
1. Reports of 44 deaths as Cyclone Pam hits Vanuatu.
More than 200,000 people are reported to be at risk from Cyclone Pam, as the category 5 tropical storm batters Vanuatu.
Bringing with it winds of up to 250 kilometres per hour and triggering flooding across the island nation, there are unconfirmed reports that as many as 44 people have died as a result of the storm so far.
The centre of the cyclone has already passed the nation’s capital of Port Vila, which is home to one sixth of Vanuatu’s population, and continues to move at about 27 kilometres per hour.
On Friday the government issued red alerts for the entire country, with aid and emergency services warning of the likely impact of the storm being torrential rainfalls, flash flooding, landslides and storm surge.
The Vanuatu Meteorological Services warned of “very destructive winds and very rough to phenomenal seas with heavy swells.”
2. Bali Nine: Legal appeals could delay Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran’s executions for months.
By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts for ABC News.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran‘s execution could be months away with Indonesia’s attorney-general saying he will wait for all condemned inmates to have their appeals heard before they face a firing squad.
Two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia could have their executions delayed for months, while other inmates pursue lengthy court appeals.
Indonesian attorney-general Muhammad Prasetyo has told Indonesia’s respected journalism group Tempo the next round of executions will be carried out once all of the condemned inmates have finished their appeals. That is a process that could take months to resolve.
Earlier this week Mr Prasetyo left open the option of dividing up the group of 11 as individual appeals are completed. However, his latest comments mean that the Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, could be spared from the firing squad for months, while other foreigners on death row beside them pursue judicial reviews of their cases.
Chan and Sukumaran’s lawyers will return to a Jakarta court on Thursday to challenge their death sentences.
A version of this story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission.