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Australia, New Zealand joins US in boycotting Beijing Olympics

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Australia and New Zealand have joined the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the decision was in response to “human rights abuses” in China’s Xinjiang province and “many other issues that Australia has consistently raised”.

Athletes would still attend, he added.

Australia’s announcement comes as New Zealand declares it will not be sending diplomatic representatives either.

NZ’s Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said no representatives at a ministerial level will be sent to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, citing COVID-19 as the reason.

Scott Morrison confirms Australian boycott of Beijing games. / Image: File

China has condemned the US announcement and threatened to retaliate against the move but didn’t provide further details

On Monday, the US said it would not send diplomats to the Games in Beijing over concerns about China’s human rights record.

Australia’s PM said it was “no surprise” that Australia had joined the boycott, given relations with China had deteriorated in recent years, at a rapid pace.

“I’m doing it because it’s in Australia’s national interest,” he said on Wednesday.

Beijing 2022 / Image: File

“It’s the right thing to do.”

He accused China of rejecting opportunities to improve relations, insisting Australia remained open to bilateral talks.

At a media briefing on Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the US of violating “political neutrality in sport” and said the proposed boycott was “based on lies and rumours”.

The United States has accused China of genocide in its repression of the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority in the western region of Xinjiang – an allegation China has strongly denied.

Relations are also strained over China’s suppression of political freedoms in Hong Kong, and because of concerns for the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who was not seen for weeks after she accused a top government official of assault.

China to stop building coal energy plants abroad
Tensions with China continue to escalate / Image: File

Canberra has increasingly come to view China as a security threat amid allegations that Beijing has interfered in Australian politics and society

It has also raised concerns over two Australian citizens who remain imprisoned in China.

According to the BBC, Pro-democracy writer Yang Hengjun has denied charges of espionage and allegedly faced torture since his arrest in January 2019. Journalist Cheng Lei has been held without charge since August last year.

Other countries, including Canada and Japan are also said to be considering diplomatic boycotts of the Games.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

Climate Change

Hurricane Ian could be Florida’s deadliest storm

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Hurricane Ian could be Florida’s deadliest storm as it continues north towards South Carolina

U.S. President Joe Biden says Hurricane Ian could be the deadliest storm in the region’s history, with early reports suggesting substantial loss of life.

Biden spoke at an afternoon briefing at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema).

Ian made landfall on Wednesday local time near the city of Fort Myers. It has led to severe flooding, high winds and storm surges.

Several areas remain submerged, and more than 2.5 million homes are without power.

Many residents are trapped in their homes and unable to escape. Search and rescue teams are working around the clock to provide assistance where they can.

5,000 Florida National Guard troops and 2,000 Guardsman from surrounding states have been deployed.

Eight teams with 800 members are carrying out search and rescue operations.

More than 200 public shelters have now been opened, housing around 34,000 people.

The National Hurricane Centre has downgraded Ian to a tropical storm for now but warns it will likely become a hurricane again later.

The entire coast of South Carolina is just the latest region to be placed on high alert as the storm continues north on its path of destruction.

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World

Finland slams its borders shut on Russia

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Finland will officially closed its border to Russian tourists, marking the last of Moscow’s E-U neighbours to do so.

Finland will close its border with Russia as Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also closed theirs.

The Finnish government made the decision following Vladimir Putin’s decision to call-up of 300,000 military reservists.

Queue’s at Russia’s border crossings with E-U nations were stretching for kilometres as people attempted to flee the country.

The closure of the border only applies to tourists – and Russians who are visiting family or travelling for work or study will still be granted entry.

The Finnish Foreign Minister stated that the decision was a difficult one to make, but ultimately it was in the best interest of the country.

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World

Queen’s death certificate has been released

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Queen Elizabeth II’s death certificate has been released, and reveals Her Majesty died of old age.

The document, signed by Queen’s daughter Princess Anne, says Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully at 3:10 p.m. on September 8.

The 96 year old was surrounded by family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland as she took her final breaths.

Now laid to rest in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II’s period of national mourning has concluded.

When she was alive there was a curtain of privacy around the Queen’s health, and in her death there remains some restraint.

Her cause of death is recorded as “old age”, without any further details.

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