Weekly News Round Up

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Making news this week: Changes to Queensland adoption laws allow same-sex couples to become parents, the oldest known evidence of Aboriginal settlement in Australia has been discovered, over 200 asylum seekers have drowned off the Libyan coast and the United Nations warn the world is not on track to achieve temperature goals.

Adoption laws in Queensland changed to allow same-sex couples to become parents

Same-sex couples, single people and couples undergoing fertility treatment will now be able to adopt a child in Queensland.

The Palaszczuk Government passed the Adoption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 last night with the help of the three independent MPs.

The LNP and Katter’s Australian Party opposed expanding the adoption criteria to include same-sex couples and single people.

The changes put Queensland in line with most other states and territories – except South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Oldest known evidence of Aboriginal settlement in arid Australia found in Flinders Ranges rock shelter

The chance discovery of a rock shelter in the Flinders Ranges has unearthed one of the most important prehistoric sites in Australia.

The site, known as Warratyi, shows Aboriginal Australians settled the arid interior of the country around 49,000 years ago — some 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The shelter, about 550 kilometres north of Adelaide, also contains the first reliably dated evidence of human interaction with megafauna.

Artefacts excavated at the site also push back the earliest-known dates on the development of key bone and stone axe technologies and the use of ochre in Australia.

Europe migrant crisis: United Nations says 240 asylum seekers drown off Libyan coast

More than 200 asylum seekers have drowned off the coast of Libya within 48 hours, the United Nation’s refugee agency said.

Five rescue ships, coordinated by the Italian coastguard, were within sight of the asylum seekers but, despite attempts to rescue them, most died, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) chief spokesman, Leonard Doyle said.

“Two rubber dinghies, which is what they are, rubber dinghies, packed with migrants, totalling over 300 we think in all … have succumbed to the the waves off Libya in very bad weather,” he said.

The latest incident takes the death toll in the Mediterranean to 4,220 migrants so far this year, compared with 3,777 for the entirety of 2015.

Pacific islands kick off global climate deal, Australia yet to ratify in Parliament

The United Nations has warned the world is not on track to achieve temperature goals set in the landmark Paris climate change agreement.

The agreement came into effect at midnight, with small island nations in the Pacific — many of them in danger of rising seas from global warming — kicking off the rolling start.

Australia has signed the Paris Agreement, but will not be legally bound by it until it is ratified — that is, passed — by Parliament.

But as the agreement came into effect, the United Nations was warning that greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 would exceed by 12 billion to 14 billion tonnes what is needed to keep global warming to an internationally agreed target.

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