The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Wednesday October 20.

A train has derailed in NSW, leaving four people injured.

A train has been derailed and tipped onto its side in Wollongong, south of Sydney, injuring at least four people.

The front carriage derailed at Kembla Grange at 4am this morning, with the driver trapped for a short time as emergency crews raced to the scene.

The driver and three passengers have been taken to hospital.

Vic opens to fully vaccinated from Sydney as unvaccinated told their freedom won't come until 2022. 

Premier Daniel Andrews has warned unvaccinated Victorians will have to wait until 2022 to enjoy the same freedoms as vaccinated residents. 

When asked on Tuesday if the state would consider having greater freedoms for the unvaccinated, in a similar way to NSW, the Victorian premier said this would not be likely.


“That doesn’t make any sense to me in any event and we won’t be doing that here,” he said.

“Why would you get the system going, have the thing up and running and then essentially pull down all of the architecture that you’ve built, the culture that you’ve changed – why would you change that four or five weeks later?

“For example, the Grand Prix is in April, I don’t think there will be crowds at the Grand Prix made up of people who have not been double dosed."

Meanwhile, Victoria has opened its borders to fully vaccinated people arriving from Sydney, who will no longer have to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test when they arrive.

An update released by Victoria's chief health officer says there will be no more red zones in NSW from midnight Tuesday, with greater Sydney to become an orange zone.

Fully vaccinated travellers from the greater Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong, will still need an orange zone permit to enter Victoria. However Sydney is yet to lift its 14 day quarantine for Melbourne travellers.

Victoria reported a further 1749 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths on Tuesday.

The state continues to inch closer to its 70 per cent vaccination reopening target, with 68 per cent of people over 16 now having both doses.

Family desperate to find missing WA girl.

The family of missing four-year-old Cleo Smith has made a desperate appeal to the West Australian public for information as a police search enters its fifth day.

Cleo was last seen by her parents about 1.30am on Saturday in the family's tent at the Blowholes campsite on WA's northwest coast.

The girl was wearing a pink one-piece sleepsuit with a blue and yellow pattern. Her red and black sleeping bag is also missing.

Homicide detectives are assisting local police amid fears Cleo may have been abducted.


In an emotional interview, Cleo's mother Ellie Smith said the little girl would never wander off on her own and someone must know where she was.

"She would never leave us, she would never leave the tent," she said.

"We hold hope that she's here (near the campsite) because if I think about her being taken ... a million other things cross our mind.

"We sit and watch the sand dunes and we just think she's going to run down it and back into our arms but we're still waiting."

Ms Smith said she and her partner Jake Gliddon had woken at about 6am on Saturday to Cleo's baby sister Isla wanting a bottle.

When she went into the other room, Cleo was gone and the tent was "completely open".

Authorities were on Tuesday forced to temporarily suspend the land search due to damaging gusts and heavy rain in the Carnarvon area.

Read more about this story, here.

NSW man charged over body in the bush

A man has been charged with murdering a woman in north western NSW last year.

The body of 39-year-old Christine Neilan was found in bushland at Lightning Ridge on January 9, 2020.

A post-mortem examination revealed she died from serious head injuries.


Homicide Squad detectives on October 14-17 conducted an extensive search of a property and surrounding bushland at Lightning Ridge.

A 73-year-old man was arrested at the property on Monday and charged with murder.

The man has been refused bail and will appear at Walgett Local Court on Tuesday. 

Holidays booked, NSW aims for 95 per cent vaxxed.

Residents in NSW are booking interstate holidays again as the state's full vaccination rate reaches 81.6 per cent. 

Virgin Australia said bookings for flights soared in the 24 hours after Victoria and Queensland signalled they would open their borders before Christmas, once vaccination thresholds were met.

"We recorded a 134 per cent increase in bookings yesterday ... which is a fantastic result and snapshot of the pent-up demand to come once borders reopen," a spokesperson said on Tuesday. 

Nearly half of all bookings were made for travel during December and January.

NSW has 92.3 per cent of eligible people 16 and older with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 81.6 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.

The state's chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant has said passing 92 per cent was a "great achievement" but she wants to see the rates increase.

"I want to get 95 per cent or even above," Dr Chant said on Tuesday.

She was pleased high testing rates were being maintained, with 90,597 tests in 24 hours.


The fall in the number of people in hospital and in intensive care was also a relief for staff who have been working in a system under stress for months.

"But it will not mean they have much of a breather - we also have business as usual," Dr Chant said.

NSW recorded 273 locally acquired virus cases and four more deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.

The number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 has dropped, with 589 in hospital including 128 in intensive care and 69 on ventilators.

NSW began the second stage of its roadmap out of lockdown on Monday after passing the 80 per cent fully vaccinated milestone.

Deadline looms for the unvaccinated in Qld.

Unvaccinated Queenslanders have been warned to act quickly if they want to be fully protected from COVID-19 when Queensland reopens its borders.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says it's unavoidable the virus will be everywhere once travel rules normalise.

She has implored Queenslanders to get their first jab in the next 12 days. That will give them enough time to have their second shot and develop full protection before they are surrounded by the virus.

"Every single Queenslander is going to get exposed to the COVID-19 virus, and we'll get infected, but if you're vaccinated, that's not a problem," she has warned. 

"You're very unlikely to get unwell, very unlikely you're going to end up in hospital." 

The government will open up the state in two stages, something that has cash-starved tourism operators thrilled.


From November 19, fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed in by air, but must home quarantine for two weeks and test negative before arriving.

That changes significantly from December 17, when fully vaccinated travellers can come by air and road without having to quarantine, although they must still test negative before arrival.

Young people tangled with terrorism grows.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased young people's exposure to extremist propaganda, creating an unprecedented online audience.

The growing number of young people caught up in terrorism is worrying Australia's primary national security agency.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation identified people under the age of 18 involved in violent extremism and warned that minors had not only conducted terrorist attacks, but held leadership positions in terrorist groups. 

"Violent extremist narratives ... particularly appeal to teenagers, and may resonate with some minors' feelings of alienation, unease about the future and mistrust of adults," it says in its annual report released on Tuesday.

Australia's terrorism threat remains at probable, meaning there is intelligence to suggest people in the country have the motivation and ability to carry out an attack. 

Future terrorist attacks in Australia are likely to be undertaken by lone wolves using simple weapons to target public spaces, making them harder for security agencies to detect.

There were two terrorist attacks by lone actors who used simple weapons in 2020/21 and three major attacks were prevented in the past year. 

ASIO says this kind of attack is difficult to detect as it can arise with little forewarning. But espionage and foreign interference are expected to leapfrog terrorism as Australia's primary security concern over the next five years. 


Former premier Mike Baird appears at ICAC.

Former NSW Premier Mike Baird will front the state's corruption watchdog after two public servants testified his office had concerns about a grant at the centre of a probe into his successor Gladys Berejiklian. 

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian "exercised public functions" in a position of conflict given her secret five-year personal relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.

ICAC is exploring whether she broke the law by not disclosing her relationship and whether she "was liable to allow or encourage" Mr Maguire's conduct in securing millions of dollars worth of grant funding awarded to two projects in his electorate.

Mr Baird will appear on Wednesday at the inquiry into the potential breaches, which prompted Ms Berejiklian's resignation earlier this month.

Two senior public servants who worked at the Office of Sport have testified this week that there was concern or questions raised in 2016 by Mr Baird's office about one of the grants in question - a shooting facility in Wagga Wagga.

On Tuesday, the commission heard that a funding proposal which public servants dismissed as "low priority" was rushed to a cabinet committee meeting with the help of Ms Berejiklian. 

Former bureaucrat Paul Doorn testified if he'd known the then treasurer was in a close personal relationship with the MP pushing for the project, it would have been a "red flag".


Taliban reward suicide bombers' families.

The Taliban have promised plots of land to relatives of suicide bombers who attacked US and Afghan soldiers, in a provocative gesture that seems to run counter to their efforts to court international support.

The Taliban's acting interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, offered the reward to dozens of family members of bombers gathered at a Kabul hotel, Interior Ministry spokesman Saeed Khosty tweeted on Tuesday.

Addressing the gathering Monday evening, Haqqani praised the sacrifices of "martyrs and fedayeen," referring to fighters killed in suicide attacks, Khosty tweeted. 

Haqqani called them "heroes of Islam and the country," according to the spokesman. At the end of the meeting, he distributed 10,000 afghanis $A149 per family and promised each a plot of land.

Khosty posted photos of Haqqani, his face blurred, embracing the relatives in a packed auditorium.

The event comes as the Taliban attempt to open diplomatic channels with an international community largely reluctant to formally recognise their rule in Afghanistan. 

Queen declines 'Oldie of the Year' award.

The Queen may be 95 but she has turned down the Oldie of the Year trophy because she feels she does not meet the criteria, believing "you are only as old as you feel".

The monarch "politely but firmly" declined the award, but sent a message with her "warmest best wishes".

Author and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, chairman of the awards, wrote to the Queen's private secretary, Sir Edward Young, to ask if she would accept the main Oldie of the Year accolade.

But in a letter published in the November issue of the magazine, her assistant private secretary, Tom Laing-Baker, wrote: "Her Majesty believes you are as old as you feel, as such The Queen does not believe she meets the relevant criteria to be able to accept, and hopes you will find a more worthy recipient."


The Queen, who is just five years away from her 100th birthday, is the nation's longest reigning monarch and is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee - 70 years on the throne - next year.

She still keeps a busy diary of events and audiences and deals with her daily red boxes of official papers.

For the past 29 years, the Oldie of The Year Awards have celebrated the achievements of those of the older generation who have made a special contribution to public life.

Previous winners have included everyone from Oscar winners to Nobel laureates, from community care nurses to veteran athletes, from Sir John Major to Dame Olivia de Havilland and David Hockney.

Around the world.

- Aussie NBA star Ben Simmons has been suspended for one game and thrown out of the Philadelphia 76ers practice for detrimental conduct. 

- COVID-19 rates are at their worst since Spring in the UK, with Monday recording almost 50,000 new cases, but the government is still reluctant to re-impose social restrictions. On Tuesday 223 people died, the highest number since early March. 

- Nearly 100 women have been sworn in as judges in Egypt's State Council, the first female judges to ever join the judicial body. 

- With AAP

Feature image: Getty/Quinn Rooney/WA Police/The Oldie.

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