Marise Payne to visit China for high-level talks
(Translation appears in Arabic section)
Canberra - M. E. Times Int'l: Marise Payne will become the first Australian Foreign Minister to visit Beijing in almost three years when she travels to the nation for high-level talks on Thursday. Ms Payne will hold talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and attend the fifth Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue. The visit signals a thaw in relations between the two nations amid ongoing concerns of Beijing’s influence on domestic political and cybersecurity.
Dozing truckies to get tech wake up call
Melbourne: Truck drivers showing signs of falling asleep at the wheel will get a wake-up call courtesy of new technology being fitted to some heavy vehicles.
The infrared device focuses on the driver's face and if they shut their eyes or look away from the road, their seat will vibrate and an alarm will sound.
Toll Group has fitted the technology to 76 trucks in its national fleet, with company spokesman Jacques van Niekerk confirming wider distribution after a six-month trial.
"We have never had an accident so far where people have fallen asleep where we have the equipment on board," Mr van Niekerk told reporters in Melbourne on Monday, noting the system has been activated repeatedly.
"We get a lot of alerts as we go on, seven alerts in the past week."
A message is sent to monitors in the United States before coming back to the company's Tullamarine control room within two minutes, he said.
After a driver is caught, they'll get a call from the control room and be asked to pull over for a forced 30-minute break.
PM to unveil sweeping working visa reforms
Canberra: Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveils a series of working visa reforms designed to help farmers fill worker shortages. The annual working holiday visa caps will be lifted, and backpackers will no longer have to leave jobs every six months. The rule changes will also allow workers to remain with the same employer for up to a year. Mr Morrison is yet to rule out introducing a Nationals backed agricultural visa if the reforms do not help fill the shortage.
Dutton warns NSW councils over Aust Day
Sydney: The federal government has threatened to strip several NSW councils of the right to hold Australia Day citizenship ceremonies amid plans to hold them a day earlier.
Hawkesbury City is reportedly considering holding its ceremonies on the evening of January 25 because of the daytime heat.
Kempsey and Bellingen shire councils have similar plans, according to Macquarie Media.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton suggested the move was political rather than weather related and warned them against changing the day
Live exports trade needs to regain its reputation: WA Farmers
Perth: WA Farmers President Tony York says the live export industry welcomes additional regulation that would re-establish the sector's 'reputation.' The independent Moss review, which was released, found there has been a 'catastrophic failure' to regulate the live animal export industry. The report put forward 31 recommendations to change the industry, including establishing an Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports. Public outcry helped to instigate the review after thousands of sheep died due to overcrowding and exhaustion on the Awassi Express in 2017.
Mr York told press the sector is willing to alter its practices in order for the industry to continue being viable into the future.
Limit on NSW stamp duty increases 'too little, too late' to help homebuyers, Opposition says
Sydney: The Berejiklian Government's overhaul on stamp duty is being been labelled "too little, too late" by the State Opposition, who says it will provide meagre relief for potential homebuyers.
The NSW Government announced it will peg stamp duty to the rate of inflation — a move the Berejiklian government says will offer a "fairer deal" for future homebuyers.
From July next year, the seven price brackets that determine how much stamp duty homebuyers pay will be adjusted to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The Goverment said the reforms will slash the average amount of stamp duty on property purchases by $500 by 2021.
China, US should keep talking: Australia
Canberra: China and the United States should keep their economies open to lift more people out of poverty, Australia's trade minister says.
The two superpowers have been involved in an escalating trade war, but Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said recent talks between them had been constructive.
"I hope that through dialogue, the US and China can head off the type of escalation, in terms of tariff increases, that has been foreshadowed by the United States," Senator Birmingham said.
Australia and China have had a rocky relationship recently over Australian concerns about Chinese influence on domestic politics and cyber attacks.
But Senator Birmingham, on his first visit to China as trade minister, talked up the close relationship with Australia's largest trading partner.
US names new ambassador to Australia
US: A former legal adviser to Ronald Reagan has been nominated as the next United States ambassador to Australia.
US President Donald Trump has nominated distinguished lawyer Arthur Culvahouse Jr to fill the post vacated by John Berry in September 2016.
A White House statement issued on Tuesday said 70-year-old Mr Culvahouse, from Tennessee, is currently chair emeritus to O’Melveny & Myers, an international law firm.
He previously served as counsel to President Ronald Reagan and has been on a range of boards and commissions.