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Can a crippling U.S. rail strike be avoided?



A nationwide strike set for Dec. 9 could devastate the economy just before Christmas

On Tuesday U.S. President Joe Biden expressed confidence that a dispute between labor unions and the country’s freight railroads can be resolved.

“Congress, I think, has to act to prevent it,” Biden said. “It’s not an easy call, but I think we have to do it. The economy is at risk.”

The President made the remarks when he briefly spoke to reporters back at the White House following the long Thanksgiving holiday.

Over the weekend, online Black Friday sales in the United States topped a record-breaking $9.12 billion this year.

Despite inflation and other economic concerns, retail experts say it’s a solid start to the holiday shopping season.

During a meeting with Congressional leaders, President Biden discussed future legislative priorities for the lame duck session.

He also told top lawmakers that the looming railroad strike has to be a top priority.

When asked if he was confident that a rail strike would be averted, Biden replied, “I am confident.”

The President made those remarks before a nationwide railroad strike that could ultimately cripple the economy just days before Christmas.

Business groups from across the U.S. are calling on for Congress to take immediate action to avoid a strike set for Dec. 9.

Currently, a coalition of 449 organizations led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said lawmakers need to act before the strike deadline so they can prevent any work stoppage.

If the Biden administration and Congress fail—officials say it could cost the economy an estimated $2 billion per day, making inflation even worse.

Back in September, the Biden administration mediated a tentative agreement between the unions threatening a strike and the railroad companies. The agreement gave rail workers a 24% wage increase from 2020 through 2024 and sign-on bonuses. However, many union rail workers oppose the deal because it lacks sick time, does not address quality-of-life issues, and has laborers working on skeleton crews.

In order to avert a potential work stoppage, all 12 unions involved in negotiations must ratify their new agreements. So far, four unions voted against Biden’s proposal and are waiting for a new deal.

Veronica Dudo is the U.S. Correspondent for Ticker News covering America’s biggest headlines. As an Emmy® Award nominated global journalist, Veronica has traveled across the country and around the world reporting on historical events that connect all citizens. Lauded as an award-winning international journalist, Veronica has executed stellar news coverage for NBC News, CBS News, The Hill, ME-TV Network and AOL. Her stories have highlighted a plethora of topics ranging from breaking news and politics to economic affairs across the USA, European Union, and Asia; cultural affairs; globalization; governance; education; and sustainability.

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“TikTok represents two national risks to Australians”: should you delete the app?



Democracies continue to ban popular video-sharing app TikTok over national security concerns

Australia recently banned TikTok from all federal government owned devices over security concerns.

Canberra is the latest in a string of U.S.-backed allies to take action against the popular video-sharing app.

The ban centres around concerns China could use the app to trace users’ data, and undermine democratic values.

Senator James Paterson is the Australian Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, who said TikTok poses a risk to Australians.

“They can get access to awful amount of information on your phone.

“Because it’s beholden to the Chinese Communist Party, there’s no guarantee it won’t fall into their hands,” he said.

Senator Paterson said there are “six or seven million Australians who use the app.”

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Cyber attacks are on the rise, so what is being done to combat them?



Australia experienced two of its worst cyber attacks on record last year, as the world braces for cyber warfare to rise

Ukraine has suffered a threefold growth in cyber-attacks over the past year.

Viktor Zhora is leading Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection agency, who said cyber attacks are occurring at the same time as missile strikes at the hands of Russia.

Mr Zhora said in some cases, the cyber-attacks are “supportive to kinetic effects”.

On the other side of the planet, Russian hackers were responsible for Australia’s Medibank scandal.

“This is a crime that has the potential to impact on millions of Australians and damage a significant Australian business,” said Reece Kershaw, who is the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.

Australian Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security is James Paterson, who said Australia can learn from cyber warfare in Ukraine.

“Ukraine is a lesson for the world.

“They are fighting a hybrid war, one on the ground and one online. If there is to be future conflict including in our own region, in the Indo-Pacific, it’s highly likely that the first shots in that war will occur cyber domain not in the physical world,” Senator Paterson said.

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America focused on “dominance, leadership and primacy” in China spat



Former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr says the United States relationship with China is focused on dominance, leadership and primacy.

“Mind your own business” – it’s the stinging message to the West from China’s defence minister.

Li Shangfu told a security conference that China has “one of the best peace records” among major countries.

He lashed out at the so-called rules-based system. Asking – “who made the rules?”

The world is watching China amidst heightened international anxiety.

But while China’s Defence minister says Beijing’s preference is “peaceful unification” with Taiwan, he added that China will never “promise to renounce the use of force.”

Delegates from the Philippines, Vietnam, the Netherlands, the United States and Germany asked about the “apparent disconnect between China’s words and actions”.

But in some of those countries, there is growing concern about America’s increasing level of unpredictability.

Australia’s former Foreign minister Bob Carr is concerned that Canberra had mismanaged the relationship with America under successive governments. #featured #world #china

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