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Australia lowers its terrorism threat level for the first time in nearly a decade

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Australia’s national terrorism threat level has been lowered but ASIO has warned an attack could still happen

Australia’s national terrorism threat level has been lowered from ‘probable’ to ‘possible’.

However, ASIO has warned a deadly attack could still occur on Australian soil in the next 12 months.

“A decision of this nature is not taken lightly or made casually,” said Mike Burgess, who is the Director General of ASIO.

It is the first time the warning has been lowered since 2014 when radicalised foreign fighters begun travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organisations.

Burgess said the threat of terrorism has not been eradicated, and Australia remains a target for terrorist organisations—even within the next 12 months.

“We keep the terrorism threat level under constant review. There can be no set and forget in security intelligence,” he said.

How common is terrorism in Australia?

There have been 11 terrorist attacks on Australian soil since 2014. In addition, 21 plots have been detected and disrupted.

“Thankfully, there have been no attacks or major disruptions this year,” Burgess said.

However, ASIO remains on alert for violent extremists despite “fewer” operating with the intention to conduct an onshore attack.

“Ideologically motivated violent extremism—particularly nationalist and racist violent extremism—remains a threat and its adherents will continue to engage in offensive behaviours.”

MIKE BURGESS, ASIO DIRECTOR GENERAL

ASIO maintains these extremists are likely to focus their attention on recruitment and radicalisation, rather than attacking.

Authorities believe the most likely terrorist attack to occur in Australia will see a lone actor using a basic weapon, like a knife or vehicle.

These attacks can be difficult to detect ahead of time and can occur with little or no warning entirely.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he has confidence in the nation’s security agencies.

“I won’t second-guess them and I won’t comment on their behalf,” he said.

Mr Albanese’s government has led the repatriation effort of Australian women and children linked to ISIS from Syria.

The women and children were assessed by ASIO before they arrived in Australia. The decision to lower the terrorism threat level also considered the unfolding situation.

ASIO said foreign fighters may return from the Middle Eastern conflict zone and could bring “dangerous ideologies and capabilities with them”.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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World

Daylight reveals full extent of destruction in Turkey

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A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake has shaken the country

 
Daylight is revealing the full scale of destruction following a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake in central Turkey.

The massive quake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometres, near heavily populated areas.

The death toll has now surpassed 100 and authorities warn this number will only rise.

As snow fell, residents were forced to find shelter on the streets.

The tremor was so significant it was felt felt in Cyprus, Lebanon and Syria.

The governor of Turkey’s southeastern province has taken to Twitter, saying his region has a number of destroyed buildings – urging people to move to safe locations.

This footage shows a survivor being pulled from the rubble. #trending #featured

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World

Beyoncé reins supreme at 65th Grammy Awards

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Beyoncé has broken the record for most wins ever

 
Beyoncé has reminded us all once again why she truly is the Queen Bee – breaking the record for the most Grammy Award wins of all time.

Trying not to be emotional, the singer thanked her family, including her late uncle Jonny.

Jonny helped make her stage outfits before she rose to fame while also introducing her to much of the sonic influences we hear on Renaissance.

Know as “music’s biggest night”, the Grammys are the industry’s most prestigious awards.

Adele, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Shania Twain and Stevie Wonder were just some of the stars in attendance.

Speaking of Harry, he won best pop album for Harry’s House.

Dressed in a white tux, Styles received his award with a kiss from Jennifer Lopez. #trending #featured

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Business

TikTok could be banned in the United States

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TikTok in the firing line after Chinese balloon was shot down

 
China has hit back at the U.S. after officials shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

Washington says it was being used to monitor strategic sites.

But Beijing rejects this – claiming the balloon was a civilian airship used to monitor the weather.

The incident is just the latest in a long line of diplomatic disputes between the two countries.

Now, TikTok could be banned in the U.S. in the wake of the incident.

Republicans are now pushing for Washington to distance itself from the Beijing-based app. #trending #featured

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