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Agence France-Presse in Sydney

Australia is set to approve measures giving polluters financial incentives to reduce emissions blamed for climate change, in a move critics described as ineffective.

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A volcano erupted today in eastern Papua New Guinea, spewing rocks and ash into the air, forcing the evacuation of local communities and flights to be re-routed.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Thursday Australia’s closer ties with Tokyo would not hurt relations with China after a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Major free-trade and security deals were sealed during the trip, including sharing of defence technology.

Defence department sends 'small detachment' of Australian Defence Force troops to bolster security arrangements at its Baghdad embassy as ISIL militants close in on the Iraqi capital. Move mirrors action taken earlier by US, which deployed 275 soldiers earlier this month.

Residents of northeastern Australia have reported seeing a flaming object plummeting to Earth, police said on Friday, adding that the incident remains a mystery as no evidence of a crash has been found.

Embattled Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned on Thursday he was nowhere near being “dead and buried” after a debate in which election rival Tony Abbott asked: “Does this guy ever shut up."

The former head of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency Michael Hayden said on Friday it “goes without saying” that Chinese telecoms giant Huawei spies for Beijing.

Australia's Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said aerial surveillance of a debris field of wood and life-jackets had spotted 13 bodies and a full-scale hunt was under way for survivors.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans warned on Wednesday of a brutal Test series against the British & Irish Lions, which he called “the ultimate rugby experience”.

Two children, aged seven and eight, were shot dead on Thursday as they tended cattle in southern Uruzgan province, in an incident which could inflame tensions over the conduct of foreign soldiers in Afghanistan.

A tropical cyclone hit Australia’s resource-rich northwest coast on Wednesday, bringing winds of up to 165km an hour as it crossed the shore near the tiny community of Pardoo.

Outspoken independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who was detained and barred from entering Malaysia upon landing in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, said he was whisked away to an interrogation area and told he was a security risk.