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The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Tuesday September 15.

Warning: The following deals with domestic violence and suicide, which may be triggering for some readers.

Victoria records zero new COVID-19 deaths.

For the first time since July 13, Victoria has recorded no new deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The news comes as Melbourne remains in stage four lockdown, with their 14-day daily case average now at 52.9. On Tuesday, the state also reported 43 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. 

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) says there are now 82 'mystery cases' of COVID-19 in Melbourne, where there is no known source of the infection. 

Melbourne's stage four lockdown will end on September 28. 

Regional Vic on cusp of next COVID-19 step.

Regional Victorians could be in store for some welcome COVID-19 news after recording zero cases.

Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged regional Victoria may move to the "third step" of its roadmap plan as early as this week.

That step, which allows people to leave their homes without restrictions and hospitality businesses to reopen, is triggered if the 14-day case average remains below five and no "mystery" cases are recorded.

Victoria reported seven deaths and 35 new cases on Monday, with none of the infections coming from regional areas.

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It dropped regional Victoria's rolling 14-day infection average to 3.9, while its fortnightly "mystery" case number stands at three.

Barring an uptick in new cases in the 24 hours to Tuesday, Mr Andrews said people could still expect an announcement.

The Victorian government has unveiled a multi-million dollar package to transform footpaths and streets into open-air dining areas after lockdown.

The $290 million package includes $100 million for sole traders who will remain closed or heavily restricted as the state begins to reopen.

Another $100 million will go towards a Melbourne City Recovery Fund to help small to medium businesses set up outdoors, fund COVID-safe events and cultural activities and make physical improvements to the city streetscape.

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Low testing rates in NSW cause for concern.

Low COVID-19 testing rates are concerning NSW health authorities as school holidays approach, with only four new cases detected across the state on Sunday.

The new cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm include three returned travellers in hotel quarantine and just one locally acquired case, which is linked to a known cluster.

But health authorities fear the news may not be as good as it seems, with a recent reduction in testing numbers prompting them to warn there's no room for complacency.

More than 9300 people were tested in the latest reporting period, down from 14,426 the previous day.

Meanwhile, the premier is urging other states to accept their fair share of returned overseas travellers into hotel quarantine.

"NSW welcomes back around 2500 people every week, and we know the hotel quarantine system in NSW is managed well, but we're doing so much more than all the other states combined," she told reporters on Monday.

More than 25,000 Australians stuck overseas might not make it home for Christmas unless the cap — currently 4000 per week — on international arrivals is increased.

SA to move on NSW, ACT border restrictions.

South Australia could "very soon" drop its COVID-19 border restrictions with NSW and the ACT, with a decision expected as soon as this week.

The state government's transition committee is meeting today to consider the 14-day quarantine requirement that currently applies.

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On Monday Premier Steven Marshall said if the committee agreed to relax the border requirements he would act quickly, if it's safe to do so.

SA Premier Steven Marshall is considering opening borders to ACT and NSW as soon as this week. Image: Mark Brake/Getty

"We want to give as much of a leg up to those people who want to travel as soon as possible," he said.

"The numbers are looking really good. Just four new cases in NSW (on Monday)."

Mr Marshall told The Adelaide Advertiser that Canberra in the ACT was likely to be the first jurisdiction to benefit from any change, followed by NSW.

SA reported no new virus cases on Monday, leaving the state's total since the start of the pandemic at 466.

The state has no active infections.

33yo daughter of sporting greats Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny has passed away.

Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny's daughter, Jaimi Kenny, has died at 33 years old after a battle with a long-term illness. 

The former Olympic athletes confirmed the sad news in a statement on Monday. 






View this post on Instagram









Our hearts are completely broken. 💔 Our beautiful daughter Jaimi has lost her battle with a long-term illness and passed away peacefully in hospital yesterday morning with her loving family by her side. 🌸 🌸 So loved. So beautiful. So kind to everyone.... So painful. I can barely breathe. 🌸 🌸 Jaimi will forever be remembered as a caring, bright and loving soul who always put others before herself. Her love of flowers, cooking, art, decorating, photography, babies, the beach, and helping others will always be remembered. 🌸 🌸 Our hearts are broken and the pain is unbearable but we cherish every wonderful moment we got to share with our treasured and so loved first child. 🌸 🌸 We thank all the paramedics, support staff and the incredible team at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for their tireless commitment to give us the extra time we were able to spend with Jaimi. 🌸 🌸 It goes without saying that this is a very difficult time for our family and all who knew and loved Jaimi so very much. 🌸 🌸 Rest in peace my beautiful baby. I will miss you every sunrise, I will miss you when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. I will miss you when the clouds are dark and stormy and when the rainbow appears. I will miss you when I close my eyes. I will miss you when I open my eyes. I will miss our long hugs and long chats. I will miss watching, feeling and knowing your love for your sister and brother, your little nephew, Cleo, your Ma and dad😞 I just can’t believe you’re not here anymore. I sit and just shake my head. It doesn’t seem real or right. You will forever be with me in my heart Jaimi. I love you so much. 🌸🥰 👼💕

A post shared by  Lisa Curry AO (@lisacurry) on

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"It is with a very heavy heart that Lisa and I confirm that our beautiful daughter, Jaimi, has lost her battle with a long-term illness and passed away peacefully in hospital this morning in the company of loving family," Grant wrote in a statement on behalf of the family. 

"Jaimi will forever be remembered as a caring, bright and loving soul who always put others before herself."

Gun registry staff to face Edwards inquest. 

NSW Firearms Registry staff will be quizzed on the level of their investigation before granting John Edwards a permit for the gun he used to murder his children.

The 67-year-old had a propensity for domestic violence, a string of estranged children and a ban from a gun club, but was still able to get a rifle and pistol licence, the NSW Coroners Court has heard.

Armed with one of two pistols he bought legally, Edwards stalked his daughter Jennifer on her way home from school in July 2018, followed or chased the 13-year-old inside and then shot both her and her brother Jack in the head.

 Jack and Jennifer were murdered by their father John Edwards in July 2018. Image: Facebook.

He later took his own life at his home four kilometres away. The children's distraught mother, Olga, 37, killed herself in December 2018.

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A major focus of the inquest before State Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan is how Edwards managed to legally obtain a firearms licence in mid-2017 and then acquire the weapons used to kill the kids and himself.

Up to five registry staff are expected to give evidence when the inquest resumes on Tuesday.

LISTEN: To the harrowing story here. Post continues after podcast.


Push for voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania.

A renewed push to legalise voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania doesn't have the backing of a senior Liberal government minister, who says the legislation will encourage suicide.

The bill is expected to be debated in the state's Legislative Council on Tuesday after being introduced by independent upper house member Mike Gaffney.

It is the fourth attempt to pass such laws after similar bills were defeated in 2009, 2013 and 2017.

An e-petition in support of the bill with some 13,000 signatures — the largest in Tasmania's history — was tabled in parliament last month.

If the bill gets passed by the upper house, it will still need to be given the green light by the lower house.

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Premier Peter Gutwein, who voted against the most recent incarnation of the legislation, says Liberal House of Assembly members will be given a conscience vote.

'Signs of life' detected in Venus clouds.

Scientists say they have detected a gas called phosphine in the harshly acidic clouds of Venus, which indicates microbes may inhabit the inhospitable planet.

The researchers did not discover actual life forms but noted that, on earth, phosphine is produced by bacteria thriving in oxygen-starved environments.

The international scientific team first spotted the phosphine using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii and confirmed it using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in Chile.

"I was very surprised — stunned, in fact," said astronomer Jane Greaves of Cardiff University in Wales, lead author of the research published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The existence of extraterrestrial life has long been one of the paramount questions of science.

UK parliament to vote on Brexit break plan.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to defy international law with legislation that breaches parts of the Brexit divorce treaty with the European Union faces a vote in parliament amid growing opposition within his party.

The House of Commons will today debate the Internal Market Bill, which the EU has demanded Johnson scrap by the end of September in the latest brinkmanship of a four-year saga since Britain voted narrowly to leave the bloc.

After the debate, lawmakers will vote to decide if the bill should go to the next stage.

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Johnson's plan to explicitly break international law has plunged Brexit back into crisis less than four months before Britain is finally due to leave the EU's orbit at the end of a transition period.

The EU has ramped up preparations for a no-deal Brexit, which would be chaotic for business, markets and nearly $AU1.4 trillion in annual trade.

The government has dismissed an ultimatum from Brussels to scrap the main parts of the bill by the end of this month.

Johnson, who has a majority of 80 in the lower house of parliament, faces a growing revolt from some of his own lawmakers. All of Britain's living former prime ministers have expressed concern about his plan.

Biden: "Hellish" bushfires will only become more frequent under Trump.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says that the “hellish” wildfires ravaging western states will become more frequent and more deadly if President Trump wins a second term.

Trump has met with firefighters and emergency officials in California, after facing criticism for having largely remained silent about the situation. 

During a briefing with authorities, Trump pushed back against a top official’s assertion that climate change is the primary reason for the wildfires, declaring that, "It’ll start getting cooler."

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He also made the claim that vegetation management not climate change was the primary driver, to which Biden retorted, "Trump has no interest in meeting this moment on climate change."

Thirty-three people have died in the blazes so far, with nearly 100 wildfires currently raging. It's one of the most dangerous and overwhelming fire seasons in the region's history.

Around the world.

- World stocks have nudged higher on hopes for a coronavirus vaccine after Astrazeneca resumed its trial.

- A University of Sydney analysis of US presidential election opinion polls has found Joe Biden is on track to defeat Donald Trump but the gap is narrowing.

- A big chunk of Greenland's ice cap, estimated to be 110 square kilometres, has broken off which scientists say is evidence of rapid climate change.

- Reindeer herders in a Russian Arctic archipelago have found the immaculately persevered carcass of an Ice Age cave bear, an extinct species that lived between 22,000 and 39,500 years ago.

- With AAP

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 for immediate support.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

Feature image: David Gray/Getty/@LisaCurry Instagram/AP Photo/Andrew Harnik/AAP.

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