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Australia’s COVID crisis worsens

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Australia’s battle with an outbreak of the COVID delta strain is getting more intense, as lockdowns extend in Melbourne and Sydney records its deadliest day

Australia’s biggest CBD’s are in lockdown. Sydney and the state of New South Wales has been rocked by a further eight deaths and a staggering 478 new cases of COVID today — with at least 91 of them circulating in the community for all or part of their infectious period.

As the largest state in Australia by population, all of New South Wales is now in lockdown – including rural and regional areas.

The state will continue a grim lockdown, which was hoped to end at the end of the month.

Melbourne lockdown extended with rules tightened

Melbourne’s lockdown has been extended for two weeks and residents of metropolitan areas will be subject to a new 9pm to 5am curfew.

The harsher restrictions come as Melbourne recorded 22 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown would now end on September 2, meaning the state would have by then faced one month in lockdown six.

The curfew will take effect at 11.59pm on tonight, Monday 16th August.

From 9pm to 5am, residents of metropolitan Melbourne will not be allowed to leave their homes unless they have a permit to conduct essential work, among other limited reasons.

Masks will also no longer be able to be removed to consume alcohol outdoors. The strict new move comes as people were seen ordering takeaway alcohol outside inner-city pubs in an attempt to dodge restrictions at the weekend.

Darwin and Katherine plunged into three-day snap lockdown from midday today

Parts of the Northern Territory have gone into a snap lockdown from 12 noon (ACST) today.Darwin, and the town of Katherine will be in a three-day lockdown, after a new case of COVID-19 was detected.

The positive case is from a man understood to be in his 30s and it is assumed the man has the Delta variant.

Australia’s Capital of Canberra remains in lockdown

The ACT’s lockdown has been extended to September 2, after the territory recorded 19 new cases on Monday.

Among the new cases included an aged care worker and a high school student.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said this was a “serious situation.”

“Lockdowns are a proven measure to suppress chains of transmission of the virus.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr

The lockdown was originally due to lift at 5pm this coming Thursday.

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India’s ban on single-use plastics comes into effect

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India is banning many single-use plastics in a bid to tackle pollution

India produces around four million tonnes of plastic waste each year. But authorities will begin cracking down on usage and production of single-use plastics from Friday.

India’s Government believes 60 per cent of plastic waste is recycled. But a survey by the Centre for Science and Environment found the figure was 12 per cent in 2019.

When plastic waste is not recycled correctly, it creates fire hazards and air pollution, which blankets India’s major cities. It can also enter local waterways, which poisons wildlife.

New Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.

Some plastic bags and multi-layered packaging are exempt from these latest changes.

Millions of people are employed in the country’s plastic industry, with many pushing the government to delay the ban.

Street vendors are also expressing concerns around the changes.

The nation’s capital, New Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.

The Air Quality Institute found 510 million people who live in northern India “on track” to lose 7.6 years off their lives if pollution levels remain as they are.

Local authorities are set to decide the penalties for people in breach of the single-use plastics ban.

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U.K. Government in crisis as Tory whip resigns over sexual assault allegations

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Boris Johnson’s government is in crisis as the Tory whip resigned over allegations he groped two men while drunk

In his resignation letter, Chris Pincher admitted he “drank far too much” and embarrassed himself and other people.

“I think the right thing to do in the circumstances is for me to resign as Deputy Chief Whip. I owe it to you and the people I’ve caused upset to, to do this.”

CHRIS PINCHER

According to sources from Downing Street, it is unlikely Pincher will face any further action, and he will remain as a Conservative MP.

The Sun newspaper first reported the resignation, saying he was drinking at the Carlton Club when he is accused of assaulting two other male guests.

Reports suggest several concerned Tory MPs contacted the Conservative whips’ office to complain about Pincher’s behaviour.

Prime Minister is yet to comment on the matters.

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Beijing issues a stark warning to Canberra

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Beijing is warning Australia will “bear the consequences” if there are any military disputes in the South China Sea

China’s Defence Ministry says Australia is engaging in “risky” behaviour, as surveillance jets fly near the disputed Paracel Islands.

“What is the duty of a soldier? That is to defend the homeland,” says Colonel Tan Kefei.

The islands are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

It comes just weeks after an Australian Air Force was challenged by a Chinese J-16 fighter in the disputed territory.

A Chinese J-10 fighter, similar to the one involved in the incident.

Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles says some aluminium chaff was drawn into the engines of the P-8A Poseidon.

“The J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8 settling in front of the P-8 at a very close distance,” he said.

The aircraft made its way back to its base, and Marles said the crew responded “professionally”.

It’s believed the Chinese jet also fired flares and chaff as a countermeasure.

The Defence Minister said he had communicated his concerns to Chinese authorities over the incident.

But China’s defence spokesperson, Colonel Tan says “those who come uninvited shall bear the consequences.”

Canada has also been in the firing line, as they reportedly carry out U.N. missions near North Korea.

But Chinese authorities believe the jets were monitoring China “under the pretext of enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions”.

“No matter what the name or excuse is, it is completely unreasonable to send military planes to the door of others to provoke and jeopardise the national security of other countries,” says Colonel Tan.

Australia’s Prime Minister met with Canada’s leader, Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Madrid this week.

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