Amnesty International slams Australia’s immigration policies - And more 11am Zedlines

Australia has been accused by Amnesty International of violating international law through its "hardline" immigration policies.

Farm lobby groups call for postponement on grazing leases

Farm lobby groups are calling on the Queensland State Government to postpone its proposed changes to phase out grazing leases on national parks.

The Palaszczuk Government’s amendments to the Nature Conservation Act would make it much more difficult for graziers to get an extension once their lease expires.

Environmental groups have welcomed the changes, however the Government still requires support from crossbenchers Billy Gordon or the two Katter’s Australian Party MPs to pass the amendments.

Asylum seeker advocates release letter in Baby Asha case

Asylum seeker advocates have released a letter they say shows Brisbane doctors found no evidence Baby Asha was harmed deliberately while in detention on Nauru.

The letter was released in response to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton suggestion earlier this week that asylum seekers may self-harm in order to be transferred to Australia for treatment.

A clinician at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital burns centre states there is no clinical evidence that the burn injury was non-accidental.

Baby Asha has been at the centre of a dispute between the Federal Government and medical staff at the Brisbane hospital regarding the conditions on Nauru

Bat immune systems can carry multiple viruses: scientists

Australian scientists have discovered why bats are able to carry multiple deadly viruses without becoming sick.

A study by CSIRO scientists at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in shows bats keep their immune systems working constantly as a preventative barrier, whereas human immune systems only respond when needed.

Bats have been known to carry strains of Ebola, Hendra and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome without presenting any symptoms.

Dr Michelle Baker is a bat immunologist and says scientists will now be able to look at how they can redirect other species’ immune responses to behave in a similar manner to bats.

Amnesty International slams Australia’s immigration policies

Australia has been accused by Amnesty International of violating international law through its "hard-line" immigration policies.

In its annual report released today, the international human rights organisation named Australia as one of the countries in the Asia-Pacific violating international law by "forcibly returning people to countries where they would face a real risk of serious violations".

The report also highlights the allegation of rape and sexual assault in Nauru's offshore processing centre, as well as citing concerns over "prolonged and arbitrary detention" on Manus Island.

Fiji cyclone death toll rises to 36

The death toll in cyclone-ravaged Fiji has risen to 36.

The fatalities were confirmed on Wednesday by Fiji's National Disaster Management Minister Inia Seruiratu.

Aid agencies, including the United Nations, are working to provide desperately needed aid to Fijians left homeless by Cyclone Winston.

Libyan forces seize key Benghazi area

Libyan forces have seized a key neighbourhood of Benghazi from armed militias.

After days of fighting, special forces retook the Benghazi area of Lithi, which had been a stronghold for hardline fighters including Islamic State.

Residents celebrated alongside loyalist fighters in streets retaken from the militias, with some locals able to return home for the first time in nearly two years.