Australia promised on Tuesday not to return a boatload of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka without providing 72 hours notice, a move hailed by human rights lawyers as a minor victory in a case that has raise concerns about the country`s tough immigration policy.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared Tuesday his determination to pursue peace in Asia, as he signalled closer defence ties with Australia and prepared to rubber-stamp an ambitious free-trade agreement.
Abe used an historic address to a joint sitting of Australia`s parliament to say that Japan "is now determined to do more to enhance peace in the region and peace in the world".
A boatload of asylum seekers intercepted by the Australian navy and returned to Sri Lanka are to be handed over to the police, a Sri Lankan naval spokesman said on Monday, a move bound to fuel concerns about Australia`s hard-line policy and rights abuses in Sri Lanka.
Australia said on Monday 41 asylum seekers had been handed back to Sri Lankan authorities at sea, a move that has galvanised opposition to its hardline policy against illegal arrivals and revived fears of rights abuses in Sri Lanka.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was "gutted and dismayed" Tuesday after entertainer Rolf Harris was convicted on 12 counts of indecently assaulting girls, as his home town moved to purge his memory.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and other spy agencies will be given more powers under a new proposal as fears grow over threats to national security from Australians fighting with terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria.
A mini-sub searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 recommenced its operations on Thursday after technical problems, as it enters its final week of scouring the Indian Ocean seabed for signs of the aircraft.