Australia, UK, US to safeguard region with nuclear-powered submarines
18 Sep 2021
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Sydney - M E Times Int'l Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released a joint statement with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden about the creation of an enhanced trilateral security partnership between the nations.
AUKUS, which stands for Australia, the UK and the US, aims to deepen the nations’ diplomatic, security, and defence co-operation in the Indo-Pacific region.
Their statement, released on Thursday, noted that the US and UK “commit to a shared ambition to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy”.
The eight high-tech subs, to be built in South Australia, will not use nuclear weapons as all three nations in AUKUS are committed to upholding global non-proliferation rules.
Nuclear-powered submarines do not have the same limitations that face conventional submarines on weapons storage, speed and endurance. They can stay submerged for many months, limiting the opportunities for detection by adversaries.
Australia will be establishing a nuclear-powered submarine taskforce to lead the project.
Other initial efforts under AUKUS will focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence and quantum technologies.
Gladys Berejiklian announces 1,284 COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths, unveils home quarantine trial
Sydney: Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced New South Wales will undertake a home quarantine trial as the state recorded 1,284 local coronavirus cases and 12 deaths, including two people aged in their 20s, on Friday.
The Premier held the COVID-19 update, after Health Minister Brad Hazzard delivered Thursday's 11am briefing, as authorities prepared for the state to hit 50 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage by the end of the day.
"To get into that milestone of 50 gives us heart that in some weeks, we'll the 70 per cent double-dose and enjoy many more things than we can today and start to feel more normal about life at that stage," she said.
Ms Berejiklian confirmed her government is working on the roadmap for when 80 per cent of the state's eligible population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
"One of the things that we expect to occur at 80 per cent of all those is to consider our international borders," she said.
"That's Aussies returning home through Sydney airport but also our citizens having the opportunity to go overseas when previously they weren't able to."
Ms Berejiklian confirmed the home quarantine trial will begin in the next couple of weeks.
"All of us have to play our part in helping Australia open up," she said.
Minister Stuart Ayres said the trial will involve a seven-day isolation at home, instead of the usual 14-day hotel quarantine.
The trial will involve about 175 people and will be separated across two cohorts.
"We been working with Qantas aircrew and staff for a number of months now and will include some of those people in this trial to conduct their quarantine at home," he said.
NSW Health's Marianne Gale said the 12 deaths recorded on Friday include six men and six women.
Two were in their 20s, three were in their 50s, one was in their 60s, two were in their 70s, three were in their 80s and one was in their 90s.
Seven of the 12 fatalities were not vaccinated, two had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and three were fully vaccinated.
She also named suburbs that continue to have a "high burden" of coronavirus cases.
These include: Greenacre, Guildford, Auburn, Bankstown, Merrylands, Blacktown and Liverpool.
Covid-19 Australia: One million doses of Moderna to boost vaccine rollout from next week
Canberra: Australia’s vaccine rollout has received another boost with one million doses of the Moderna vaccine to arrive this weekend.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the vaccine would be rolled out to pharmacies following a batch test by Australia’s medical regulator.
“The significant outcome of that is that that means over 1800 pharmacies will commence distribution of Moderna next week. They will start aggressively during the week as they are ready and as supplies arrive to them,” he said.
From next week, 4500 general practices across the country will be available to administer the Covid-19 vaccine, up from 3000.
“Around Australia we will have over 9000 points of presence next week. My hope is that everybody, everybody who has not yet taken the vaccine will come forward over the coming days and weeks and there is sufficient vaccine for every Australian before the end of October, if not significantly earlier,” Mr Hunt said.
The one million extra doses were sourced from European Union member states and are additional to the 10 million doses the government has ordered from Moderna.
Multicultural Media Organisations share in funding to deliver vital Covid messages
Sydney: More than 70 multicultural media outlets in NSW have received a share of $2 million funding to support the delivery of vital health messages during the COVID outbreak.
Minister for Multiculturalism Natalie Ward said the Multicultural Media Grants program is the next step in ensuring critical messages surrounding the importance of vaccination and following public health orders reach all corners of our community.
“We are so lucky in NSW to have a rich presence of multicultural media outlets doing such incredible work to keep all members of our community informed,” Mrs Ward said.
“They provide a crucial link between their audience and the NSW Government in delivering important details about health orders and support available during this difficult time.”
A total of 74 multicultural media outlets based in NSW, working across all channels including radio, print, TV and online, have received a share of funding.
“Priority was given to media outlets which operate in languages other than English and reach audiences in the highly-impacted LGAs (Local Government Areas),” Mrs Ward said.
“The pandemic has amplified their critical role in communicating with multicultural communities, in particular those who speak languages other than English.”
Mrs Ward said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant downturn of revenue for many outlets, with advertising dollars decreasing.
“Often these community radio stations and newsrooms are run by or rely heavily on volunteers,” Mrs Ward said.
“Right now, demand for information from trusted media outlets is higher than ever.”
The Multicultural Media Grants program is in addition to a $6 million ongoing rollout of vital health information in multiple languages during the current outbreak, including print and radio advertising, by the NSW Government.
The Member for Auburn, Lynda Voltz MP, has advised local constituents
Sydney: The Member for Auburn, Lynda Voltz MP, has advised any local constituents recovering from COVID to contact their GP to obtain a medical certificate to ensure they can enjoy the same freedoms as fully vaccinated residents as they await clearance for their own vaccination.
Ms Voltz said: The NSW Premier has over the last few weeks been talking about restrictions easing for those who are fully vaccinated. For anyone, however, who has been diagnosed with COVID, the National Hotline and GPs are advising that you wait between three and six months for a vaccination.
I have been informed that those who are in this situation, and therefore won’t be fully vaccinated when restrictions are eased, will be considered exemptions under the changes. To be considered an exemption you will need a medical certificate from your GP stating that you have had COVID and therefore are required to wait for your vaccination. If you need a certificate I would advise you to act early before any changes.
I would also remind anyone who has been directed to self-isolate that there are
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments available for every 14 days you need to isolate.
These payments are available to citizens, residents and visa holders who have the
right to work.
For anyone in extreme hardship who are not entitled to any of these
payments, the government is also providing a hardship payment through the Red
Cross. If you are in need of assistance but unsure if you are eligible for a payment
please contact my office on 9737 8822.
The restrictions eased in Melbourne, Ballarat at Friday 11:59pm as state hits 70 per cent vaccination target
Melbourne: Fully vaccinated groups of up to five in Melbourne and Ballarat gathering outside will not be able to "get on the beers" or pop open a bottle of wine this weekend.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed late on Thursday afternoon it will be illegal for a person to remove their mask to consume alcohol after he was quizzed on whether the drinking ban - imposed in August in a bid to crack down on pub crawls in inner-city suburbs — would remain.
“I can understand that people will be very keen to get an answer on that, and I will get you one around the consumption of alcohol and the removal of a mask during the said outdoor activities we’ve just announced, whether they be picnics or otherwise," he said at the press conference.
Mr Andrews confirmed a sixth reason to leave home - outdoor social interaction - was added onto the list of excuses.
Residents who are double-dosed will be allowed to gather outside with up to five other adults (plus dependents), who also must be fully inoculated and from only two households, from Friday 11:59pm for a picnic or recreational activity.
For those have just received one COVID-19 vaccine, they can only meet with one other person who is not from their household.
The radius to leave home to buy goods and services or exercise has been extended from five to 10 kilometres.
Outdoor gyms and equipment, skate parks will reopen and two people will be allowed to exercise with a personal trainer.
Two hours of exercise has been doubled to four hours a day.
Parts of regional Victoria, not in lockdown, will see gyms and pools reopen with limits of 50 outdoors and 20 indoor but saunas and spas will remain closed. Swimming lessons and hydrotherapy are permitted.
Tour buses can also operate with a limit of 10 people.
Mr Andrews insisted the 9pm-5am curfew "worked" after repeated questioning by the Opposition and residents and will not remove the restriction like his New South Wales counterparts did this week.
Melbourne traffic and trams stopped by tradies protesting harsh new restrictions for construction workers
Melbourne: Construction workers across Melbourne have stopped traffic and trams in the city as they took lunch on the streets in protest of new COVID-19 restrictions.
On Friday workers gathered on plastic chairs in the middle of a host of busy city streets including Lonsdale Street, Swanston Street and Sydney Road.
Tradies were forced onto the street during breaks as Victoria’s COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar banned tearooms to minimise the risk of transmission.
“When you have people across the industry in the construction industry and they're in a small cabin or hut enjoying food and drink together, that's a significant risk of transmission,” he said on Friday.
“The weather is getting better and it doesn't seem unreasonable to partake in those activities outside, preferably not on tram tracks.”
Under the new restrictions announced on Thursday construction workers will need to have had their first vaccine by September 23 or show proof of booking.
Tradies will not be able to travel from Melbourne to regional Victoria, however, the delivery of materials will be allowed.
Stay-at-home orders lifted for some NSW LGAs but imposed for others
Sydney: COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were lifted for 12 regional local government areas (LGAs) on Thursday. Residents of Bega, Blayney, Bogan, Cabonne, Dungog, Forbes, Muswellbrook, Narrabri, Parkes, Singleton, Snowy Monaro and Upper Hunter LGAs now have more freedoms.
Stay-at-home orders have, however, been introduced for the Albury and Lismore LGAs from Thursday, 6pm, due to increased health risks.
“Everyone in the Albury and Lismore LGAs must stay at home unless it is for an essential reason, which includes shopping for food, medical care, getting vaccinated, compassionate needs, exercise and work or tertiary education if you can’t work or study at home,” said Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
The NSW government is offering an array of freedoms for people in the 12 regional LGAs where the stay-at-home orders have been lifted.
Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home (not including children 12 and under) and up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings.
Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sq m inside and one person per 2sq m outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule. Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sq m, capped at five clients per premises.
Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen as can caravan parts and camping grounds.
Schools will re-open with Level 3 COVIDSafe measures in place.
Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, but children aged under 12 will not need to wear masks.
‘Liberal nor Labor’ wanted to hear about China’s regime ‘when money was rolling in’: Bandt
Canberra: Greens leader Adam Bandt says “Liberal nor Labor” wanted to hear about China’s authoritarianism when the money was “rolling in”.
“The Greens have been the only ones consistently in parliament that have raised questions over many years about the authoritarian tendencies of the Chinese government.
“During the course of the mining boom, neither Liberal nor Labor wanted to hear from us; they were happy with all the money that was rolling in.
“Now we are dealing with a situation where there is a significant power, with whom we have a relationship and with whom we have a trading relationship, that is flexing its muscle.”
NSW launches water strategy blueprint
Sydney: The NSW Government has launched the NSW Water Strategy, a 20-year blueprint to deliver sustainable water resources to communities across the state.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the strategy, announced on Thursday, would help NSW become a world leader in water innovation.
“People living in NSW make up more than a third of Australia’s population, and over the next 20 years, our state will grow by 2.8 million. We need the right infrastructure in place to enable this growth,” Ms Pavey said.
“The recent drought hit our communities hard. But the drought also brought about innovative ideas about infrastructure investment, with many communities having to source different means of increasing their water supply.
“While many of our dams are now full, we know drought will come again, so now is the time to make decisions to ensure our communities, industries and environment thrive, now and into the future.”