The Loop: Biden pledges to enshrine abortion rights after midterms, former Italian PM's reported 'sweet letters' from Putin – ABC News

The Loop: Biden pledges to enshrine abortion rights after midterms, former Italian PM's reported 'sweet letters' from Putin
For the latest flood and weather warnings, search on ABC Emergency
This is The Loop, your quick catch-up for this morning's news as it happens.
By Kelsie Iorio
 Thanks for reading this morning's live wrap of key news headlines.
You can stay up to date on the ABC News website and by subscribing to our mobile alerts.
If you're just joining us, here's what you need to know:
Catch you again soon.
By Kelsie Iorio
As if there's not enough going on in Victoria at the moment, Geoscience Australia has registered a magnitude 3.4 quake at Mansfield in the state's north-east.
It was at a depth of five kilometres and was detected around 9am this morning.
A number of listeners called into ABC Radio and reported feeling the tremor.
By Kelsie Iorio
It can be hard to find a snippet of good news when we're hit by disasters like the ones we're seeing in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania at the moment. But here's one for you:
By Kelsie Iorio
The Nine Network says it will no longer print The Age and The Financial Review in Tasmania from next month because of rising costs.

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The newspapers also won't be flown into the state on the same day as printing, meaning the publications will only be available online.
The newspapers are currently printed by Australian Community Media in Launceston.
Chief executive of the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association Ben Kearney told ABC Radio Hobart he's concerned about reducing media diversity in the state.
"We think it's really important that those products are available so we've asked Nine to have a look at some alternatives," he said.

Managing director of publishing at Nine, James Chessell, says it's not a decision that was taken lightly but the rising cost of paper means it's not economical to print in Tasmania.
By Kelsie Iorio
Tonga has won a 24-18 thriller against Papua New Guinea thanks to a last-gasp try earlier this morning in the Rugby League World Cup.
It's the second-last match of the first week of competition, with Wales facing the Cook Islands early tomorrow morning to round out week one.
Australia will next play Scotland on Saturday morning after beating Fiji 42-8 last week.
By Kelsie Iorio
The WA Country Health Service says one person is in a stable condition and another has been discharged from hospital after an incident with a crocodile in the Kimberley.
Two off-duty crew members of a well-known tour operator suffered minor injuries in the attack near popular tourist spot Horizontal Falls on Monday evening.
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions says it had received reports of a crocodile launching itself at vessels in the area before the incident.
Parks and Wildlife staff have travelled to the location of the attack and may choose to remove the crocodile if it continues to pose a risk to public safety.

By Kelsie Iorio
Business-class passengers on a United Airlines flight from Florida to New Jersey have had a real-life movie moment after a live snake was found in the cabin.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says the stowaway, identified as a harmless garter snake, turned up on United Airlines Flight 2038 from Tampa shortly after landing at Newark Liberty International Airport.

One passenger told regional cable outlet News 12 New Jersey business-class passengers began shrieking and pulling their feet up off the floor as the plane taxied from the runway to the gate.

Airport animal-control officers and Port Authority police officers were at the gate when the plane arrived and removed the snake, which was later released into the wild, Port Authority spokesperson Cheryl Ann Albiez confirmed.
It's not clear how the snake got on-board without showing a valid ticket.
By Kelsie Iorio
We started the week with this iconic moment from the T20 World Cup.
There's been no shortage of thrills and spills since.
Now the poor Sydney Thunder have been forced to share the field with a particularly grumpy plover.
It wasn't the Thunder's day — they lost to the Hobart Hurricanes by 49 runs.
Hoping everyone's okay but also I absolutely cannot stop laughing.
By Kelsie Iorio
Today's live blog covering the floods across Australia's southeast has just launched.
Follow along here:
By Kelsie Iorio
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will visit flood-affected areas in Tasmania's north and north-west this morning.
He'll also travel to Hobart to join Premier Jeremy Rockliff in announcing a funding agreement for Marinus Link.
By Kelsie Iorio
Tech media network The Information is reporting that Apple is cutting production of its iPhone 14 Plus while it re-evaluates demand for the mid-range model.
The report says the California-based company has told at least one manufacturer in China to immediately halt production of iPhone 14 Plus components.

The iPhone 14 Plus, which was part of a new lineup announced last month, is positioned as a cheaper alternative to its more expensive iPhone Pro models.
It only started being shipped to customers on October 7.

Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
By Kelsie Iorio
Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi says he's been back in touch with Russian President Vladimir Putin and had recently exchanged "sweet letters" with him, according to an audio released by an Italian news agency.

The 86-year-old often boasted about his friendship with Putin until Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"I have got back in touch a bit with Putin, quite a lot, in the sense that for my birthday he sent me 20 bottles of vodka and a very sweet letter," Berlusconi said, according to the audio issued by news agency LaPresse.
"I answered him with some bottles of Lambrusco (wine) and an equally sweet letter."
Berlusconi also said he was worried about the situation in Ukraine but could not give his true opinion because "if it gets in the press there'll be a disaster."
A spokesperson said Berlusconi had been telling parliamentarians "an old story referring to an episode many years ago" and denied the pair had been back in touch recently.
Reporting by Reuters
By Kelsie Iorio
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia has destroyed almost a third of the country's power stations in less than a fortnight.
Zelenskyy called the targeting of power stations "another kind of Russian terrorist attacks", and says the destruction has caused widespread blackouts.
Deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office Kyrylo Tymoshenko says the power supply situation is "critical".

"The whole country needs to prepare for electricity, water and heating outages," he said on Ukrainian television.
By Kelsie Iorio
By Kelsie Iorio
In other royal family news, Daniel Craig has been presented with the Order of St Michael and St George by Princess Anne at a ceremony at Windsor Castle.
This particular order is usually reserved for senior diplomats and spies, but was awarded to the 54-year-old actor for his services to film and theatre.
By Kelsie Iorio
The New South Wales government has confirmed that the British royal family will soon visit Australia.
Governor of New South Wales Margaret Beazley announced the program of events commemorating the Bicentenary of the state Legislative Council — and included in that is a royal visit in 2024.
We're still waiting to hear some more details about the visit — including who's coming.
By Kelsie Iorio
US President Joe Biden says he will sign a law enshrining the right to abortion in January if the Democrats elect more senators and keep control of the House of Representatives at the upcoming midterm elections.
The Democrats currently have a slim majority in the House and control the 50-50 Senate through Vice President Kamala Harris' ability to cast tie-breaking votes.

"Here's the promise I make to you and the American people: the first bill I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v Wade," Biden said overnight at the historic Howard Theatre in Washington.

"I want you to remember that the final say does not rest in the Court now. It does not rest with extremist Republicans in Congress. The final say about your right to choose.. rests with you. And if you do your part and vote, Democratic leaders in Congress, I promise you, will do our part. I'll do my part."

By Kelsie Iorio
The Albanese government plans to introduce its new workplace relations bill into parliament next week, hoping to pass it this year.

It says is intended to help low-paid employees, particularly women, negotiate better pay and conditions.
The government plans to release the full details of what is included in the bill over the next week and a half, after finishing some final consultation sessions.
Ending wages stagnation was a key commitment from Labor ahead of the election, but its task has been made harder by rapid rises in the cost of living, which have seen real pay packets continue to go backwards.
Some business groups claim proposals to include multi-employer bargaining in the bill are "at best, half-cooked".

More from national affairs editor James Glenday here:
By Kelsie Iorio
 Good morning. You're reading The Loop, a quick wrap of the headlines this Wednesday, October 19. Thanks for joining us.
Making news so far today:
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.
This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.
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