The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Thursday November 5.

Joe Biden wins key battlegrounds Wisconsin and Michigan as voting continues and Trump demands recount. 

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has already said it will “immediately” call for a recount in Wisconsin, with confirmation this morning Biden has successfully 'flipped' the state in the United States presidential election.

CNN is now also predicting Biden has reclaimed another "blue wall" state President Trump won on 2016, in Michigan.

In a speech at 8am AEST, Biden declared, "After a long night of counting, it is clear that we are winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to to win the presidency."

"I am not here to declare that we have won, but I am here to report that when the count is finished we believe we will be the winners."

But Trump's camp has made it clear they won't be taking the votes at face value, and will be taking the results to court. Donald Trump’s campaign has this morning filed a lawsuit to halt the counting of ballots in the swing state of Michigan where Biden is narrowly ahead claiming they hadn't been provided "meaningful access to observe the opening of ballots".


Trump appears to have changed his tune from an early morning press conference in which he prematurely declared victory, he's since started furiously tweeting, with claims the Democrats are "finding Biden votes all over the place".

"They are working hard to make up 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear — ASAP. Likewise, Michigan and others," Trump wrote.

Many of his tweets today have been flagged as misinformation. 

In an profound statement from the White House on election night, the president said he wanted all vote counting to stop calling the election a "fraud on the American public."

Donald Trump has started furiously tweeting. 

At about 4am AEST time, Joe Biden's campaign manager said that Biden only needs "three or four more" states to get him to the required 270 electoral college votes, and that the team is currently regarding it as a "foregone conclusion".

The Democratic candidate is reportedly feeling "very confident."

Even if Biden wins the White House however, it's likely Republicans will maintain a grip on the US senate. 

In senate news, Sarah McBride has become first openly transgender state senator.

"I think tonight's results demonstrate what I've known my entire life, which is that the residents of this district are fair-minded, and they're looking at candidates' ideas and not their identity," she said.


Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has expressed racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories, has won a US House seat representing north-west Georgia.

A Republican candidate for the House in North Dakota who died last month from coronavirus appears to have also been elected to the state legislature.

David Andahl, 55, died on October 5 but remained on the ballot. He won one of the two seats up for grabs with 35.53% of the vote.

Scattered protests have popped up in Washington DC, Seattle and New York City, but across the US there were no signs of serious violence or widespread unrest immediately after the polls closed, as was feared. 

However, more than 100 events and marches have been planned for today to 'protect the results' of Tuesday's vote, with tensions starting to climb.


Maroons rookies shock NSW in Origin opener.

Queensland's unlikely bunch of rookies have pulled off a State of Origin miracle, coming from behind to claim a 18-14 win over NSW.

Fielding eight debutants and the biggest outsiders for an Origin match in more than 20 years, Queensland looked gone at 10-0 down at halftime on Wednesday night at Adelaide Oval.

The Maroons then scored three tries in the space of 14 minutes, with Kurt Capewell superb on debut with man-of-the-match Daly Cherry-Evans and Cameron Munster just as influential.

"I'm not sure what category you put it in (as far as big wins go)," coach Wayne Bennett said.

"They were reasonable questions (about our ability). It's not luck it happens the way it happens. The way they came to together at the camp. There has been a lot of restrictions on them. They overcome everything to come here tonight and play as a team, play as a Queensland team."

UK MPs approve month-long England lockdown.

British MPs have approved a month-long lockdown in England, voting in favour of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to try to prevent COVID-19 running out of control and overwhelming health services.


People will be ordered to stay at home from Thursday morning to combat a surge in new infections that could, if unchecked, cause more deaths than a first wave which forced a three-month lockdown earlier this year.

The 516-38 vote had been in little doubt after the opposition Labour Party said they would support the move, even though they criticised Johnson for acting too slowly.

He was also criticised by some in his own party who said a general lockdown was too severe.

"None of us came into politics to tell people once again to shutter their shops, to furlough their staff or stay away from their friends and family," Johnson told parliament in an attempt to calm rebels within his Conservative Party.

The United Kingdom, which has the highest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the "worst case" scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.

Ben Cousins convicted of stalking ex.

Fallen AFL star Ben Cousins will remain behind bars for at least another fortnight after being convicted of stalking his ex-partner but acquitted by a Perth court of restraining order breaches.

Cousins had pleaded not guilty to the charges, including 20 counts of breaching a family violence restraining order relating to his ex-partner, Maylea Tinecheff, in April this year.

The former West Coast Eagles captain spent more than six months behind bars before facing a two-day trial in Armadale Magistrates Court.


On Wednesday, magistrate Brian Mahon delivered his reserved decision, sentencing Cousins to seven months in prison but backdating it to his April 22 arrest.

Ms Tinecheff said during last week's trial that Cousins had relentlessly tried to contact her and their two young children despite being prohibited from doing so.

She and the children moved house in April because Cousins' behaviour was "out of control", she said.

Mr Mahon said regardless of his intent, Cousins had bombarded Ms Tinecheff with text messages and phone calls, including as many as 29 in one day.

"I accept that his motivation, although unwise ... was intending to establish contact or re-establish contact with his children," he said.

NSW-Vic border opening a 'calculated risk'.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says while opening the border with Victoria is a "calculated risk", the decision is based on advice from the state's health department.

The border between NSW and Victoria will open on November 23, Ms Berejiklian announced on Wednesday, as Victoria recorded its fifth consecutive day of zero coronavirus cases.


"With that there comes a level of risk. We accept that," she told reporters.

"We believe it is a cautious risk, a calculated risk and we're confident our health system and the processes we have in place in NSW will allow that to happen.

"Very proudly I say NSW will be the only jurisdiction in Australia that will be welcoming residents of all states, of all jurisdictions."

Ms Berejiklian also announced QR codes will become mandatory for hospitality venues from November 23, as NSW Health is still identifying non-compliance seven months after the pandemic began.

NSW on Wednesday reported three locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and six in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

This morning Victoria has confirmed its sixth day in a row of zero new coronavirus cases. 


Australia secures two more COVID vaccines.

Australia will have access to 134 million doses of coronavirus vaccines after the federal government secured two more agreements.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday will announce a deal with Novavax to supply 40 million vaccine doses and Pfizer-BioNTech for 10 million doses.

This brings the government's COVID-19 vaccine investment to more than $3.2 billion, adding to deals with University of Queensland-CSL and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

"The goal and the expectation is that Australians who sought vaccination will be vaccinated within 2021," Health Minister Greg Hunt says.

Health and aged care workers, and the elderly and vulnerable will be the first to gain access to a vaccine.

Around the world.

- Kanye West has accrued over 60,000 votes in the US election, and has vowed to run again in 2024.

- Germany is scouting trade fair halls and airport terminals to use as potential mass vaccination centres as it draws up plans to to inoculate people as soon as the first coronavirus shots are approved. 

- 12 people have been killed in a powerful blast at a warehouse storing chemicals in India.

- With AAP

Feature image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty/Spencer Platt/Getty/Win McNamee/Getty/Mark Kolbe/Getty.