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China rolls back some of its pandemic control measures



China has announced it will begin rolling back some of its Covid-19 measures after a string of protests

Chinese officials will reduce the scale of lockdowns to individual apartment floors and buildings, rather than locking down neighbourhoods under a new Covid-19 strategy.

It is part of Beijing’s latest ploy to soften the blow for its 1.412 billion residents, who have been abiding by Covid-zero policies since the start of the pandemic.

Chinese officials will also allow asymptomatic Covid-19 cases to quarantine at home.

The decision follows widespread protests across major Chinese cities.

Is China ready to open up?

More than half of China’s population are planning to travel abroad, according to the U.S. consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.

Analysts have found Chinese tourists will travel abroad for periods ranging from several months to over a year.

However, Chinese people feel somewhat anxious about travelling overseas. The survey, which interviewed 4,000 respondents, found the top concern among prospective travellers was the fear of contracting Covid-19.

They also remain worried about changes to domestic re-entry guidelines.

“People have become cautious,” said Imke Wouters, who is a retail and consumer goods partner at the firm.

“So even when they can travel, we don’t think they will come back right away.”

Over half (51%) of those surveyed are planning to delay their international travel plans altogether. However, tourists are still expected to travel within China and to nearby destinations like Hong Kong.

Over eight in 10 respondents (85%) believe there will be a strong recovery of domestic travel as soon as conditions allow.

What is the Covid-19 situation like in China?

In October, China’s President Xi Jinping secured a record-breaking third term as leader.

Many had hoped this would also mark the beginning of China’s post-COVID era.

China was once the world’s largest outbound tourism market.

However, the Covid-zero strategy has seen nationwide protests over the measures, which have been described as “draconian” by Human Rights Watch.

Consumer confidence also remains a challenge.

Around 83 per cent of executives who responded to the Oliver Wyman survey said there is “a long road to consumer confidence recovery”.

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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New York Stock Exchange in free fall



Human error sends the New York Stock Exchange tumbling

We’ve all made mistakes at the office from time to time, but spare a thought for one worker who may have single-handedly brought down the New York Stock Exchange with just one tiny error.

The mistake of one employee has wiped billions of dollars off the charts for some of the globe’s largest companies.

The individual reportedly triggered wild swings and volatility on the New York Stock Exchange.

A number of big brand names were caught up in the catastrophe. It included McDonald’s, Walmart, and Mobil.

The NYSE eventually came clean. Officials admitted the“root cause” of the screw-up was a “manual error” from a staff member in the backup data centre.

The employee accidentally left the system running.

That’s why some stocks behaved as if trading had already started, with no opening prices being set, sending the market into a meltdown. #trending #featured

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Bombshell pro-Russian video emerges from Australian Open



A bombshell video has emerged of the father of tennis star Novak Djokovic, amplifying the Russian controversy the Australian Open

Djokovic’s father was seen posing for pictures with a group of Putin supporters after his son won against Russia’s Andrey Rublev, to qualify for his 10th semi-final.

Russian flags have been banned from the Australian Open, but that didn’t stop one fan.

A man was seen holding a Russian flag with Putin’s face on it and wearing a t-shirt with the pro-war ‘Z’ symbol on it.

Four spectators were questioned by police and evicted from Melbourne Park.

After losing her semi-final, Belarusian Viktoria Azarenka hit back at media when pressed on tennis’ relationship with Russia’s war on Ukraine.

She told reporters incidents like Novak’s father posing with Russian fans have nothing to do with players.

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FBI Director discusses classified documents as U.S. lawmakers demand answers



Bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill as politicians say the Biden administration is stonewalling their quest for answers

FBI Director Christopher Wray is speaking out for the first time after several batches of classified documents were discovered in U.S. President Joe Biden’s Wilmington home and Washington think tank office.

On Thursday, Wray urged lawmakers and officials to be “conscious of the rules” when dealing with classified documents.

The statements appear to be a veiled criticism of President Biden after news broke that some of the classified papers in the President’s possession date back 14-years ago to when Biden was a Delaware Senator raising questions if this is a pattern for the president to mishandle classified information.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, there is bipartisan outrage as lawmakers say the Biden administration is stonewalling them in their quest for answers.

Currently, both Biden and former President Donald Trump are facing special counsel investigations into their mishandling of classified documents—and just this week, former Vice President Mike Pence turned over classified documents to the DOJ.

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