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Businesses brace for impact as new COVID outbreak emerges across Australia

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Businesses in Australia are bracing themselves for a drop in revenue as fresh COVID cases lock down many states

For the first time in a year, Australia is dealing with outbreaks across the country.

An outbreak in Sydney linked to the highly contagious Delta variant has grown to 128 cases.

Cases have also been recorded in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

Health authorities say it is a “critical time” for the country, which has kept case numbers low with border closures and lockdowns.

This is the first time in months that cases have emerged in multiple parts of the country at the same time.

Businesses brace

Businesses are again feeling the impact of lockdowns and shut down orders with many in the travel sector, hospitality and arts again feeling the pinch.

A relief package to help Sydney businesses cope with the financial impacts of the city’s lockdown is expected to help operators recoup lost revenue and claim unused stock.

Lobbying from industry groups has meant the support package will echo the one provided to northern beaches businesses over the Christmas lockdown.

Sydney’s two-week lockdown is expected to wipe $2 billion off Australia’s GDP.

Australian leaders will hold an emergency meeting on Monday after a spike in Covid infections.

Both State and Federal Governments are now holding emergency crisis meetings in order to deal with emerging cases.

While thousands stayed indoors to work from home under new lockdown rules in multiple states, queues were spotted at Sydney’s mass vaccination centre.

Authorities are encouraging people to continue to get their vaccinations amid the stay-at-home order provided they wear a mask and are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

“I think we’re entering a new phase of this pandemic, with the more contagious Delta strain,”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told ABC News on Monday.

The escalation in Covid infections has prompted lockdowns in the cities of Sydney and Darwin, as well as restrictions across four states.

New South Wales hits breaking point

Meanwhile, the situation in New South Wales is at breaking point after the Bondi cluster rose to 110 cases over the weekend. 19 of the cases were not in isolation while they were infectious.

“I also do want to foreshadow that given how contagious this strain of the virus is, we do anticipate that in the next few days case numbers are likely to increase even beyond what we’ve seen,”

said NSW State Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour have started a two-week lockdown as a result.

There is mounting concern after a Virgin Australia crew member tested positive after flying to various cities across Australia

Other states enact tougher border restrictions to prevent further spread

The states of Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania have all enacted tougher border restrictions with neighboring regions.

Meanwhile, the Australian Capital Territory is enforcing mask-wearing for the first time since the pandemic began.

aerial, Northern Territory

WA, Queensland and the Northern Territory are also dealing with new cases.

Both states have imposed heavy new restrictions and lockdowns have been extended.

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President Biden says it’s time to ‘pass the torch’

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President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he is “passing the torch to a new generation” as he explained his abrupt departure from the 2024 presidential race to Americans for the first time, in an Oval Office address capping over 50 years in politics.

“I revere this office,” Biden said. “But I love my country more.”

Biden, 81, rebuffed weeks of pressure from Democrats to step aside after a disastrous debate performance on June 27, saying at one point that only the “Lord Almighty” could convince him to go.

Unite the nation

“I have decided the best way forward is to pass the torch to a new generation. That is the best way to unite our nation,” Biden said.

Biden made his decision after days of soul-searching and agonizing over internal polling that predicted he could lose against Republican Donald Trump in November and drag down fellow Democrats with him.

“The great thing about America is here, kings and dictators do not rule. The people do. History is in your hands. The power is in your hands. The idea of America – lies in your hands,” Biden will say, according to the speech excerpts.

It will be Biden’s first extended public remarks since he relented to pressure from fellow Democrats and announced on Sunday via social media that he had decided not to seek reelection on Nov. 5.

Biden is the first incumbent president not to seek reelection since 1968 when Lyndon Johnson, under fire for his handling of the Vietnam War, abruptly pulled out of the campaign on March 31.

Biden also joins James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, Calvin Coolidge and Harry Truman as presidents who all decided not to stand for a second elected term.

Biden faced calls to step aside after his rocky performance in the debate against Trump raised troubling questions about his mental acuity.

Since he stepped aside, however, Democrats have rallied around him, paying tribute to his character and his record as president.

Watching together

A crowd of staff walked into the White House earlier in the evening to watch the speech together. An official said a reception and “viewing party” were being held across the White House’ state floor for Biden’s address.

The White House has denied that Biden has any cognitive issues despite a recent increase in verbal slipups.

Biden said he will focus on his job as president over his remaining six months in office. He is to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday on efforts to negotiate a Gaza ceasefire.

It was the fourth time Biden used the formal setting of the Oval Office since taking office in 2021. His last Oval Office speech was on July 15 when he urged Americans to cool the political rhetoric after the attempted assassination of Trump.

Biden’s political career began when he was elected to the Senate in 1972 at age 29, becoming the sixth youngest U.S. senator. He will conclude his White House tenure on Jan. 20, 2025, as the oldest American president when he will have already turned 82.

“The defense of democracy is more important than any title,” Biden said. “I draw strength, and find joy, in working for the American people. But this sacred task of perfecting our Union is not about me. It’s about you. Your families. Your futures. It’s about ‘We the People.’”

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AI enters the Big Brother house, raising concerns around the truth of reality TV

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How will the integration of AI into reality TV impact audience engagement and what role will this have on the future of entertainment?

The latest season of Big Brother has left fans scratching their heads with the introduction of Big Brother AI, also knowns as BB AI, taking centre stage.

Tom Finnigan from Talkingbrands.ai joins to discuss all the curious AI cases of the week. #featured

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UN initiative aims to set international standards for AI ethics

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The United Nations has launched a comprehensive initiative aimed at establishing international guidelines for the governance of artificial intelligence.

The UN seeks to address ethical concerns, regulatory frameworks, and human rights implications associated with AI advancements.

Dr. Karen Sutherland from the UniSC joins to discuss the latest. #featured

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