From Australia - News in Brief

New crackdown on drug crime

The secretive four-year inquiry will be finally made public

Restrictions came into effect in SA at from midnight

Unemployment hits 7 per cent as federal government payments to workers

McKay delivers State Budget reply speech

Mandatory testing to protect frontline workers

China warns Australia against defence deal

NSW Govt eases covid rules for festive season

Pfizer to seek emergency approval for COVID-19 vaccine

Frydenberg to reaffirm trade relations with Beijing

ALP to support ICAC funding in NSW

Economic confidence has 'plummeted' in US, Europe

New crackdown on drug crime


(See Translation in Arabic section)

Sydney- M E Times Int'l: The NSW Government has today passed the Drug Supply Prohibition Order Pilot Scheme Bill 2020 which will give police new powers to search convicted drug dealers and manufacturers as well as their properties to prevent drug.

The Bill delivers on the Government’s commitment for a two-year pilot of a Drug Supply Prohibition Order (DSPO) scheme. It will be piloted in Bankstown Police Area Command, and the Orana Mid-West, Hunter Valley and Coffs/Clarence Police Districts.

A court issued DSPO would give police the power to search the homes, vehicles and person of convicted drug dealers at any time without multiple court warrants, if police have reasonable grounds to suspect that there is evidence of drug-related crime.

NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the new orders would help police thwart criminal gangs from profiteering through the large-scale manufacture and supply of illegal drugs.

 The inquiry into Australian soldiers in Afghanistan is finally over. The  reckoning is about to begin - ABC News

The secretive four-year inquiry will be finally made public

The conduct of Australia's special forces in Afghanistan will be laid bare this morning when the findings of the probe into war crime allegations are released.

The secretive four-year inquiry will be finally made public by the chief of defence on Thursday.

Australian troops have been sent to Afganistan since 2001 alongside the United States led coalition which was established to remove the Taliban from power following the 9/11 terror attacks.

 SA to relax border restrictions with WA, NT and Tasmania from midnight |  The Advertiser

Restrictions came into effect in SA at from midnight

Adelaide: Hundreds of residents were able to escape South Australia before the state’s harsh restrictions were due to come into effect.

Three fully booked flights landed in Sydney on Wednesday evening – as restrictions came into effect in SA at from midnight.

 Health authorities introduced extra screening measures for new arrivals, including temperature checks on board.

Unemployment rate in Australia rises to 7 per cent | Cairns Post 

Unemployment hits 7 per cent as federal government payments to workers taper

Canberra: The country’s unemployment rate has risen to 7 per cent, with 25,500 Australians now looking for work.

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show unemployment for October rose 0.1 per cent compared with the previous month, reflecting the first month since the federal government tapered JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments.

Unemployment for the month of September was 6.9 per cent.

Despite an increase in the unemployment rate, 178,800 people found a new job, and total hours improved by 1.2 per cent.

Axi chief global markets strategist Stephen Innes said the result was stronger than expected; however, monthly employment data sets were “notoriously volatile”.

 NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay delivers budget reply | PerthNow

McKay delivers State Budget reply speech

Sydney: The NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay has used her Budget reply speech to reveal Labor’s plan to put jobs at the centre of the State’s economic recovery.

Ms McKay said Labor’s priorities would include passing the NSW Jobs Firsts Bill to create local jobs and support industry.

Other initiatives would include getting women back to work through free access to preschool for at least 18 months and guaranteed employment, education and training opportunities for young people.

There would also be the establishment of a Royal Commission into mental health and suicide.

“A Labor budget would deliver for people, their jobs, their families and their communities,” Ms McKay said.

She said the Government’s Budget during a recession and pandemic was disappointing: “This is a short-term Budget,” she said. “It’s the same one they could have delivered any year. The world has changed but this Budget doesn’t recognise that.”

 Keeping the Coronavirus from Infecting Health-Care Workers | The New Yorker

Mandatory testing to protect frontline workers

Sydney: Police and other frontline workers are a step closer to being better protected from the risks of the job after the Legislative Assembly passed the Mandatory Disease Testing Bill 2020.

The scheme will be available to frontline workers including the NSW Police Force, Corrective Services NSW and Fire and Rescue NSW.

A person subject to a Mandatory Testing Order will need to provide a blood sample for testing if their bodily fluid has come into contact with an enforcement, health, or emergency services worker as a result of the person’s deliberate action, and the worker is at risk of contracting a blood-borne disease as a result.

The subject of the order would need to provide a blood sample within two days or face a maximum penalty of more than $10,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment.   

The Bill is due to be considered by Legislative Council early next year.

 Australian warned of China 'countermeasures' over Japan pact - News Chant  Australia

China warns Australia against defence deal

China’s propaganda arm the Global Times has warned Australia and Japan are “tools” of the US who will “pay a price” if a new deal to boost their defence partnership poses a threat.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison struck an “in principle” agreement with Japan during a visit to Tokyo.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement will enable Australian ships and aircraft to operate further north and offer greater legal protection for service personnel.

It will also allow defence forces to move more quickly with less administration and see military cooperation and exercise activities “grow”.

In an editorial equating the deal to a “quasi-military alliance”, the Global Times said the agreement was a new “lever for the US to divide Asia”.

“The US is using its two anchors in the Asia-Pacific region, namely Japan and Australia, to push forward the construction of an ‘Asian version of NATO’,” the Global Times said. “China is unlikely to remain indifferent to US moves aimed at inciting countries to gang up against China.”

 NSW eases coronavirus restrictions further by dropping 50-person limit on  indoor venues - ABC News

NSW Govt eases covid rules for festive season

Sydney: The NSW Government has outlined details for COVID-Safe events ahead of the festive season, including arrangements for New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian also announced NSW will bring in 2021 with a seven-minute midnight New Year’s Eve firework display and premium viewing spots reserved for frontline workers.

New Public Health Orders will be drafted to support COVID-Safe New Year’s Eve celebrations include premium spots for frontline workers around Mrs Macquarie’s Point, Sydney Opera House, Campbell’s Cove and Cahill Expressway. An area around Circular Quay and North Sydney will be restricted to venue patrons, hospitality workers, residents and guests of residents.

From November 23, restrictions on outdoor gatherings will ease to 500 people for religious services, (up to 30 carol and other singers outdoors), up to 3000 people allowed for controlled outdoor events (such as concerts) that are ticketed and held in an enclosed or fenced area and up to 300 people will be allowed at funerals from December 1.

 Pfizer-BioNTech Says Covid-19 Vaccine Is 95% Effective, Will Seek Emergency  Approval Friday

Pfizer to seek emergency approval for COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer says it is “very close” to applying for an emergency use approval for its COVID-19 vaccine after collecting safety data to submit to US regulators.

The Food and Drug Administration had imposed a requirement on vaccine makers of having at least two months of follow-up with volunteers after their second dose, taken 28 days after the first, in order to ensure the drugs are safe.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company would apply for emergency authorisation within days.

Pfizer says its vaccine, called BNT162b2, was well-tolerated and that side effects were mostly mild to moderate, and cleared up quickly.

The Australian Government is also banking on a vaccine, with its economic forecasts underpinned by the assumption it will rolled out across the population by late next year. Australia has secured 10 million doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.

 China's claims 'ludicrous': Frydenberg

Frydenberg to reaffirm trade relations with Beijing

Canberra: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has claimed the Morrison government is committed to restoring a working relationship with Beijing and is ready to continue a “respectful and beneficial dialogue” amid trade tensions.

The Australian is reporting Mr Frydenberg did warn Australia’s national interests will at no time be compromised, engaging in his first diplomatic intervention which aimed to reassure anxious business owners that trade will continue.

Adoni Media Managing Director Leisa Goddard commented, “I think all of the people across Australian agriculture, certainly in the beef industry, certainly the wine makers, barley, they’ve all been looking to the Australian government for some sort of reassurance and security”.

“It’s good news for them to see the government finally coming out and saying ‘we are wanting to open up dialogue, we are wanting to protect this trade relationship’,” she said.

“I still don’t think that takes away from the point that as a country, we need to look wider and much broader than just China.”

 ICAC's independence compromised by Premier's control of funding, report  finds - ABC News

ALP to support ICAC funding in NSW

Sydney: NSW Labor will today support legislation to guarantee funding for the Independent Commission Against Corruption and three other key accountability bodies.

Shadow Special Minister of State and Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord has indicated Labor would support a bill put forward by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party in the NSW Legislative Council.

The bill would guarantee the funding for ICAC along with the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, the NSW Electoral Commission and the NSW Ombudsman.

Currently, the ICAC has been reduced to its smallest size in its 30-year history. 

“Given recent revelations against the Premier at the ICAC and the shredding of important documents by the Premier’s office, the independence of these oversight bodies is now more important than ever,” Mr Secord said. 

“This legislation is about integrity and the Berejiklian Government should immediately support the bill,” Mr Secord said.

 Economic confidence has 'plummeted' in US, Europe | The Advertiser

Economic confidence has 'plummeted' in US, Europe

InvestSMART’s Evan Lucas says economic confidence has plummeted in the United States and Europe.

“We saw retail sales in the US go backwards for the first time since they came out of lockdown,” Mr Lucas told Sky News.

 “There’s also signs that output out of the US and Europe is slowing.

 “There is signs that in the short term, caseloads will become more and more important to how markets look.”


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