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Australia leads the way for world's largest marine park

The world's largest network of marine parks to protect ocean life, with limits placed on fishing and oil and gas exploration off the coast are being planned by Australia.

Samsung wins right to sell Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia

Samsung wins a battle in the patent wars against Apple!

Qatar to host 2022 World Cup

Zurich, Switzerland -- Qatar beat out Australia, South Korea, Japan and the United States to host the 2022 World Cup, FIFA announced Thursday.

It will be the first time a World Cup will be hosted by a Middle Eastern nation. The United States, South Korea and Japan all previously have hosted the tournament.

"The World Cup is going to new lands and I am a happy president as we speak of the development of football," FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said in congratulating Qatar.

"Thank you for believing in change and believing in expanding the game and thank you for giving Qatar a chance," said Sheik Mohammed bin Hamad al-Thani, who chaired Qatar's bid. "We will not let you down. We will make you proud."

China's restriction on export of rare-earth metals to continue

The export restrictions imposed by China on rare elements used in high tech devices including wind turbines and batteries are likely to continue despite pressure from the United States and Japan to allow free export.

Coral die-off may be the worst ever

Canberra, Australia -- Huge swathes of coral in Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean reefs have died in what scientists say may be "the worst such event known to science."

Scientists from the Australian Research Center and James Cook University say coral cover in the region could drop from an average of 50 percent to about 10 percent and will take years to recover, striking at local fishing and regional tourism industries, reported Thursday.

"It is certainly the worst coral die-off we have seen since 1998. It may prove to be the worst such event known to science," Andrew Baird of the ARC said. "So far around 80 percent of Acropora colonies and 50 percent of colonies from other species have died since the outbreak began in May this year."

Three accused in 'black magic' sex trial

Sydney -- Three people are on trial in Australia for allegedly telling people they'd been cursed then luring them to "prayer sessions" that involved sex, officials say.

Tony Golossian, 62, Arthur Psichogios, 40, and his wife, Frances Psichogios, 39 have pleaded not guilty to charges, The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Huggett said victims were told curses had been put on them and that to remove the curses they had to attend "prayer sessions" where they were blindfolded and sex took place.

The women also received phone calls from "demonic voices," Huggett alleged.

The fiance of one of the victims also received similar calls telling him not to marry the woman, calls Hugget said were designed to isolate her.

'Runaway' evolution spreading toads

Townsville, Australia -- A runaway evolutionary effect is accelerating the spread in Australia of the invasive cane toad species, scientists say.

Researchers say toads living at the very edge of their range have evolved into "super-invaders" able to move beyond the boundaries of their existing habitat, the BBC reported Wednesday.

And when toads at those frontiers breed, researchers say, their offspring are inheriting this capability of moving into new territory.
Scientists have observed that toads at the edge of the range had bigger front legs and stronger back legs, equipping them to more effectively jump into and invade new areas.

Oprah’s big surprise: free Australia trip for her audience

Oprah Winfrey is big on surprises. The talk show queen left her audience astounded when she declared she’d be taking all of them “ultimate viewers” to Australia.

'Oprah' fans get free trips Down Under

Chicago -- Oprah Winfrey kicked off the 25th and final season opener of her U.S. chat show by gifting gifting 300 members of her studio audience with trips to Australia.

gifting 300 members of her studio audience with trips to Australia.

The New York Times reported fans were offered eight-day trips in December during Monday's edition of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

At least two installments of the show, including one at the Sydney Opera House, are expected to be taped while Winfrey's group is in Australia, the Times said.

The beloved media mogul has a reputation for generosity toward her fans. During one episode in 2004, every member of her studio audience was given a car.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Miley Cyrus-Liam Hemsworth dating again

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are both off the market again. Less than a month after their widely-reported split, the Disney star is back with her Aussie boyfriend. They were spotted together in Los Angeles on Saturday.