Rain and cooler conditions in the nation's south east have seen bushfire conditions ease, but local communities do remain on high alert with a forecast return to hot and dry conditions later in the week. Authorities have warned the small amount of rain is nowhere near enough to extinguish the huge fires that have already claimed lives and burned hundreds of homes.
Two fires remain at emergency level in Victoria's far east this morning, while for the first time in days there are no blazes posing an immediate threat to life and property in New South Wales. Thousands of defence force personnel have also been making preparations to deploy across the fire grounds this week to help with recovery efforts.
Suffocating smoke in Canberra has forced government departments, universities and national institutions to close today. The department of Home Affairs has shut down all of its Canberra offices for 48 hours because of the hazardous air quality. Yesterday landmarks disappeared while businesses and institutions like the National Gallery of Australia closed their doors.
Iraq's parliament has called for all foreign troops to leave the country. The move follows last week's US drone strike that killed Iran's top military commander, Qasim Soleimani who was on a visit to Baghdad. Tens of thousands of Iranians have taken to streets in protest. Tehran has also said it will further wind back its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement with the West, and remove all limits on uranium enrichment.