France cancels defense meeting with UK over submarine row, sources say

PARIS (Reuters) – France has cancelled a meeting between Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart planned for this week after Australia scrapped a submarine order with Paris in favour of a deal with Washington and London, two sources familiar with the matter said. Parly personally took the decision to drop the bilateral […]

Australia made ‘huge mistake’ in cancelling submarine deal, says French envoy

By Lidia Kelly and Gus Trompiz MELBOURNE/PARIS (Reuters) -Australia has made a “huge” diplomatic error by ditching a multi-billion-dollar order for French submarines in favour of an alternative deal with the United States and Britain, France’s envoy to Canberra said on Saturday. Canberra announced on Thursday it would scrap its 2016 deal with France’s Naval […]

Australians squirm as Biden appears to forget the name of their prime minister

Australians squirmed Thursday as US President Joe Biden thanked their prime minister for joining a major new defence alliance — but appeared to forget his name. Instead of being feted by name for his role in the US-Britain-Australia agreement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was initially relegated to being “that fellow Down Under”. At a televised […]

Australian nuclear subs will be banned from New Zealand waters: Ardern

New Zealand will not lift a decades-long ban on nuclear-powered vessels entering its waters in the wake of key ally Australia’s decision to develop a nuclear submarine fleet, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Thursday. Ardern said her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison had briefed her on Canberra’s plan to develop nuclear-powered submarines with the help of […]

Athletics begins at Tokyo Paralympics

Brazilian athletes snagged the first track-and-field golds of the Tokyo Paralympics on Friday, as elsewhere defending champions Australia booked their spot in the wheelchair rugby semi-final. A total of 45 Paralympic golds are up for grabs on Friday, with a range of sports getting started, including archery, athletics and judo, which is being contested at […]

Police clash with protesters as Australia reports record COVID-19 cases

By Lidia Kelly MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Australian police clashed with hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne and Sydney on Saturday as officials reported the country’s highest ever single-day rise in COVID-19 cases. Mounted police used pepper spray in Melbourne to break up crowds surging toward police lines, while smaller groups of protesters were prevented from congregating […]

Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status at risk

After years of climate-worsened damage to its vibrant corals, Australia’s vast Great Barrier Reef could this week be added to UNESCO’s list of endangered World Heritage sites. Along with six other sites globally that are grappling with issues like ecological damage, overdevelopment, overtourism or security concerns, the reef’s fate is being considered at a meeting […]

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Gene editing ‘blocks virus transmission’ in human cells

Scientists have used CRISPR gene-editing technology to successfully block the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in infected human cells, according to research released Tuesday that could pave the way for Covid-19 treatments. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers in Australia said the tool was effective against viral transmissions in lab tests, adding that they […]

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From bleached corals to overtourism: UN World Heritage sites in danger

From Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the city of Budapest and the watery wonderland that is Venice, several beauty spots risk losing their treasured UN World Heritage status because of environmental damage, excess development or overtourism. In a draft report released ahead of a key meeting next month, the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization […]

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G7 showed that post-Trump, the world has shifted

What a difference a year makes in international diplomacy. A year ago, then-US President Donald Trump was obliged to abandon his plans for a G7 summit at the presidential retreat of Camp David outside Washington. Various excuses were advanced by participants, including the inadvisability of travelling across the world in the midst of a pandemic. […]

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Australian blogger on trial in China worried political tensions may impact outcome

By Kirsty Needham SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian blogger Yang Hengjun, facing trial in Beijing on espionage charges that he denies, asked the judge to exclude evidence obtained in interrogations where he says he was tortured, according to a message conveyed to family and friends. In his first comments since Thursday’s court hearing, which was closed to […]

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‘Appointed by God’: Samoan leader defiant after vote

Defying election results and court rulings, Samoa’s veteran leader Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is determined to cling to power, convinced only divine intervention can end his 22-year rule of the Pacific island nation. Malielegaoi is not accustomed to losing — until recently the 76-year-old’s authority was virtually absolute in a devoutly Christian nation of 220,000 where […]

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Australia to close Kabul embassy in days as troops prepare withdrawal

Australian Prime Minister Question Time in Canberra – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives to attend House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House. Australia will close its embassy in Kabul this week as the country’s troops prepare to leave in line with the international withdrawal from Afghanistan, Canberra said Tuesday. – Lukas Coch/AAP/dpa Australia […]

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Sean Paul Gives Tutorial For The #TemperatureChallenge On TikTok

Sean Paul kicks off his #TemperatureChallenge on TikTok as his classic hit went viral. It’s quite understandable why TikTok challenges have grown in popularity since the arrival of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Social distancing coupled with tight curfews has seemingly resulted in a resurfacing of just about everything, from old songs to dance moves. It […]

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Australia, largely free of COVID-19, in no hurry to reopen borders – PM

By Lidia Kelly MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia is no hurry to reopen its international borders and risk the country’s nearly coronavirus-free lifestyle, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday. Australia closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents in March 2020 and has been permitting only limited international arrivals in recent months, mainly its citizens […]

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Australia enjoys Easter with no new local coronavirus cases

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australians were celebrating Easter Sunday in a relatively unrestricted manner as the country reported no new locally acquired coronavirus cases. Queensland, the epicentre of a recent, small COVID-19 community outbreak, has had only one infection in the past three days. The state has the tightest restrictions on public gatherings. Elsewhere, Australians flocked […]

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