Colin Packham
Colin Packham
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Australia's antitrust chief claims victory after Facebook standoff

Australia's antitrust chief claims victory after Facebook standoff

By , CANBERRA (Reuters) - The architect of Australia’s laws forcing Google and Facebook to pay media companies for content claimed victory on Wednesday, though critics said last-minute changes to appease Facebook favoured Big Tech over smaller news outlets.After tense negotiations prompted Facebook to cut off news in the country last week, Australia offered a host of technical concessions and the social media giant said it would restore news as the revamped bill looked set to become law this week.While Facebook said its concerns had been met and opposition lawmakers warned that smaller...

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Colin Packham
15h ago
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Facebook 'refriends' Australia after changes to media laws

Facebook 'refriends' Australia after changes to media laws

By , CANBERRA (Reuters) - Facebook said on Tuesday it will restore Australian news pages after negotiating changes with the government to a proposed law that forces tech giants to pay for media content displayed on their platforms.Australia and the social media group have been locked in a standoff for more than a week after the government introduced legislation that challenged Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google’s dominance in the news content market.Facebook last week blocked Australian users from sharing and viewing news content on its popular social media platform, drawing criticism from...

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Colin Packham
2d ago
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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

By CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency...

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Colin Packham
3d ago
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Australia urges calm over AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after South Africa suspends use

Australia urges calm over AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after South Africa suspends use

By CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia on Monday moved to reassure its citizens over the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after South Africa suspended use of the shot because data showed it offered limited protection against a new strain of the virus.Slideshow Citing data that showed the AstraZeneca vaccine reduced mild-to-moderate COVID-19 by 22%, South Africa said on Sunday it would put on hold the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.But Australia’s Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said the vaccine is effective in its primary objective.“There is currently no evidence to indicate a...

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Colin Packham
Feb 8
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Google opens paid-for Australia news platform in drive to undercut Canberra's content payment law

Google opens paid-for Australia news platform in drive to undercut Canberra's content payment law

By CANBERRA (Reuters) - Tech giant Google on Friday launched a platform in Australia offering news it has paid for, striking its own content deals with publishers in a drive to show legislation proposed by Canberra to enforce payments, a world first, is unnecessary.Only rolled out previously in Brazil and Germany, the News Showcase platform was originally slated for launch last June. But Alphabet Inc-owned Google delayed plans when Canberra moved to make it a legal requirement for Google and Facebook to pay Australian media companies for content, unprecedented anywhere else in the world.The...

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Colin Packham
Feb 5
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Australia says Indonesia must ensure cleric is not a threat after release

Australia says Indonesia must ensure cleric is not a threat after release

By CANBERRA (Reuters) - Indonesia must ensure a radical cleric and suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings does not incite more violence when he is released from jail this week, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said on Tuesday.Abu Bakar Bashir was jailed in 2011 for links to militant training camps in the Indonesian province of Aceh. He is considered the spiritual leader of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah (JI) network, which was accused of orchestrating the bombings of nightclubs on the holiday island of Bali.“Our embassy in Jakarta has made clear our concerns...

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Colin Packham
Jan 5
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Australia says 13 soldiers told they face dismissal after Afghan report

Australia says 13 soldiers told they face dismissal after Afghan report

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia has told 13 special forces soldiers they face dismissal in relation to a report on alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan, the head of the country’s army said on Friday.An independent report published last week in redacted form said there was evidence that 39 unarmed Afghan prisoners and civilians were killed by 19 Australian soldiers.None of the 19 soldiers were identified in the report, which was written by a state judge appointed by the inspector-general of defence. The 19 current and former soldiers have been referred for possible prosecution.Under...

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Colin Packham
Nov 27
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Australian PM says misinterpretation of interests behind China tension

Australian PM says misinterpretation of interests behind China tension

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Tension between Australia and China has been driven by incorrect assumptions shaped by rivalry between China and the United States but Australia has its own interest and independent views, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.Australia’s relationship with China soured in 2018 when it became the first country to publicly ban China’s Huawei from its 5G network, and worsened this year when Australia called for an enquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.As ties deteriorated, China imposed tariffs on Australian barley and slowed its imports of Australian...

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Colin Packham
Nov 23
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New Zealand PM offers COVID-19 help to U.S. President-elect Biden

New Zealand PM offers COVID-19 help to U.S. President-elect Biden

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she offered President-elect Joe Biden assistance with tackling the rampant outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.During the first talks between the two since Biden was elected as the next U.S. president, Ardern said she offered access to New Zealand’s most senior health officials.“I offered to him and his team access to New Zealand health officials in order to share their experience on things we’ve learnt on our Covid-19 journey,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington.New Zealand is widely heralded as one of...

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Colin Packham
Nov 23
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Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed Afghans: report

Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed Afghans: report

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan, with senior commandos reportedly forcing junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives in order to “blood” them for combat, a four year investigation found.Australia said on Thursday that 19 current and former soldiers will be referred for potential criminal prosecution for allegedly killing the 39 Afghan locals.Detailing the findings of a long-awaited inquiry into the conduct of special forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, Australia’s General Angus John...

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Colin Packham
Nov 18
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Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed Afghans: report

Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed Afghans: report

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan, with senior commandos reportedly forcing junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives in order to “blood” them for combat, a four year investigation found.Australia said on Thursday that 19 current and former soldiers will be referred for potential criminal prosecution for allegedly killing the 39 Afghan locals.Detailing the findings of a long-awaited inquiry into the conduct of special forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, Australia’s General Angus John...

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Colin Packham
Nov 18
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Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed Afghans - report

Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed Afghans - report

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan, with senior commandos reportedly forcing junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives in order to “blood” them for combat, a four year investigation found.Australia said on Thursday that 19 current and former soldiers will be referred for potential criminal prosecution for allegedly killing the 39 Afghan locals.Detailing the findings of a long-awaited inquiry into the conduct of special forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, Australia’s General Angus John...

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Colin Packham
Nov 18
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Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed Afghans - report

Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed Afghans - report

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan, with senior commandos reportedly forcing junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives in order to “blood” them for combat, a four year investigation found.Australia said on Thursday that 19 current and former soldiers will be referred for potential criminal prosecution for allegedly killing the 39 Afghan locals.Detailing the findings of a long-awaited inquiry into the conduct of special forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, Australia’s General Angus John...

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Colin Packham
Nov 18
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Australian COVID-19 vaccine candidate produces antibody response in early tests

Australian COVID-19 vaccine candidate produces antibody response in early tests

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Early testing of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by an Australian university and CSL Ltd has shown it to be safe and produce an antibody response, Minister for Health Greg Hunt said on Friday.Pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop effective treatments for the disease amid a surge in COVID-19 cases that has killed over a million people and battered the world’s economy.Several candidates including ones produced Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca are expected to imminently announce the results from last stage testing.Pfizer said earlier this week that its...

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Colin Packham
Nov 13
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Australia may open borders to Asia as it records third day without local COVID-19 case

Australia may open borders to Asia as it records third day without local COVID-19 case

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia is considering opening its borders to Asian countries, including parts of China, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as Canberra seeks to revive an economy ravaged by COVID-19.Australia in March shut its borders to all non-citizens and permanent residents, though in October Canberra allowed New Zealand residents to enter. Internal travel is limited, although those restrictions are scheduled to be removed by the end of the year.Morrison ruled out entry from the United States or Europe, but said Australia may allow people from low-risk countries such...

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Colin Packham
Nov 10
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New Zealand approves euthanasia, set to reject recreational marijuana

New Zealand approves euthanasia, set to reject recreational marijuana

By (Reuters) - New Zealand has provisionally voted to legalise euthanasia but is on course to reject law changes that would allow recreational marijuana use, the country’s Electoral Commission said on Friday.New Zealand voted on the two referendums this month while casting ballots during a general election that returned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to power.Issuing preliminary results, the commission said there are nearly half a million mostly overseas-based special votes still to be counted. These votes will not be enough to alter the vote on euthanasia but may be enough to swing the...

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Colin Packham
Oct 30
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Australia records second day without COVID-19 death for first time in three months

Australia records second day without COVID-19 death for first time in three months

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia reported its second straight day without any COVID-19 deaths on Friday, the longest stretch without any fatalities from the virus in three months.Australian states and territories reported 16 cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, down from 28 on Thursday, and no deaths for two days, the first time Australia has gone 48 hours without a COVID-19 death since July 11.The results cement optimism that Australia has contained a second wave of COVID-19 infections.The country’s second most populous state Victoria, the epicentre of Australia’s COVID-19 outbreak, said...

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Colin Packham
Oct 9
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'The beers are cold': Australia to open up to New Zealanders after COVID border shutdown

'The beers are cold': Australia to open up to New Zealanders after COVID border shutdown

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - New Zealanders will soon be able to travel to Australia without having to self-quarantine as COVID-19 infections slow and Canberra seeks to revive its ailing economy, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said on Friday.New Zealand citizens and residents would be allowed to travel to Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales and its remote Northern Territory (NT) from Oct. 16, without having to undergo the two-week quarantine required of Australians returning from other nations, McCormack said.Australia closed its borders in March to all...

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Colin Packham
Oct 2
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Australia's Victoria state to ease COVID-19 restrictions as cases slow

Australia's Victoria state to ease COVID-19 restrictions as cases slow

By SYDNEY (Reuters) - Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state and the epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, will accelerate the easing of social distancing restrictions as infections slow to fewer than 20 cases a day, its premier said on Sunday.Victoria, which reported 16 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, has placed nearly 5 million residents of its capital Melbourne under one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns since early August.With cases well below the record one-day high of more than 700 cases reported in August, state Premier Daniel Andrews said some curbs,...

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Colin Packham
Sep 27
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Australia begins disposal of about 350 dead whales as rescue efforts end

Australia begins disposal of about 350 dead whales as rescue efforts end

By Slideshow SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian wildlife officials began disposing of hundreds of dead pilot whales on Saturday after concluding there was no longer any hope of rescuing any more.In Australia’s biggest whale beaching, 470 whales were first spotted on a wide sandbank during an aerial reconnaissance of rugged Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania state on Monday.After days of difficult and dangerous rescue attempts, Australia said they rescued 108 whales, with the rest now believed to have died.Rob Buck, Incident Controller and Parks and Wildlife Service manager, said 15 whales have...

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Colin Packham
Sep 26
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Australia to make Facebook, Google pay for news in world first

Australia to make Facebook, Google pay for news in world first

United States SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook Inc () and Alphabet Inc’s () Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world. Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses. It’s about ensuring that we have increased competition,...

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Colin Packham
Jul 31
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Australia to make Facebook, Google pay for news in world first

Australia to make Facebook, Google pay for news in world first

United States SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook Inc () and Alphabet Inc’s () Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world. Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses. It’s about ensuring that we have increased competition,...

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Colin Packham
Jul 31
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Australia extends jobs support as new COVID-19 outbreaks threaten economy

Australia extends jobs support as new COVID-19 outbreaks threaten economy

United States SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia will spend A$16.8 billion ($11.8 billion) to extend its wage subsidies for businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic, as a surge in new infections in the country’s southeast threatens to keep the economy in recession. The six-month extension of the programme allays fears a hard end to the current A$70 billion scheme, originally scheduled for Sept. 30, that would prolong Australia’s first recession in three decades. However, subsidies will be reduced under the new programme, which runs through to March 28, 2021 and is expected to cover about 1...

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Colin Packham
Jul 21
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Australia warns coronavirus outbreak will take weeks to tame

Australia warns coronavirus outbreak will take weeks to tame

United States SYDNEY (Reuters) - A surge in COVID-19 cases in Australia’s second-biggest city could take weeks to subside despite a lockdown and orders to wear masks, Australia’s acting chief medical officer said on Monday as the country braces for a second wave of infection. Authorities in the state of Victoria, whose capital Melbourne is in partial lockdown amid a new outbreak, reported 275 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, down from a daily record of 438 three days earlier. Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said it would take “weeks” to slow the outbreak to levels seen as...

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Colin Packham
Jul 20
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Asia ramps up coronavirus curbs as new clusters erupt

Asia ramps up coronavirus curbs as new clusters erupt

United States SYDNEY/TOKYO (Reuters) - Australian states tightened borders and restricted pub visits on Tuesday, while Disney prepared to close its Hong Kong theme park and Japan stepped up tracing as a jump in novel coronavirus cases across Asia fanned fears of a second wave of infections. Many parts of Asia, the region first hit by the coronavirus that emerged in central China late last year, are finding cause to pause the reopening of their economies, some after winning praise for their initial responses to the outbreak. Australia largely avoided the high numbers of cases and casualties...

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Colin Packham
Jul 14
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