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China seeks security deals with Pacific Island countries



China’s foreign minister is jetting off on a blitz of Pacific Island nations

China is seeking security deals with almost a dozen Pacific Island countries according to fresh reports from Reuters.

The deals will focus on policing, security and data communication.

Reuters reports the nation’s foreign minister, Wang Yi is set to host a meeting in Fiji next week.

One of the nations on China’s list has reportedly voiced concerns saying their intent to control the region “threatens stability”.

David Panuelo, the President from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) fears this could lead to a new “Cold War” between China and the West.

Yi will visit eight Pacific island nations that China has diplomatic ties with.

It comes as the nation secured a deal with the Solomon Islands, which drew condemnation from Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Allan Behm from the Australian Institute says “to spend over a week with small island states in the Pacific is a very big investment of China’s diplomatic capital.”

“It’s a dramatic move for China to take.”

Behm says these visits also make people nervous about the future.

“It looks a bit to me like video game diplomacy, a kind of gotcha moment where the size of the visit, that is the length of it, and the surprise of the visit, come together to make people feel a bit nervous about what it’s all for.”

AlLan behm

Meanwhile, Australia’s Foreign Minister will travel to Fiji today to counter China’s influence in the region. 

The country’s newly elected Prime Minister says Australia is an obvious partner for these island nations.

But China says the Solomon’s pact focuses on domestic policing and that any criticism was interference in their decision-making.

In Washington, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was aware of the plans.

Foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the plans.

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Streaming wars: can Apple compete with Spotify?



Spotify’s 2023 Wrapped has dropped prompting listeners to review their top artists, genres, and songs of the year.

Many are taking to social media platforms to share their listening trends with family, friends, coworkers, and even other fans on the internet.

While Apple Music, a rival platform, has its own year-end campaign—it hasn’t quite ignited the same online response.

Seth Schachner, the Managing Director at StratAmericas and a former Sony Music Executive joins Veronica Dudo to discuss. #Spotify #music #Apple #AppleMusic #SpotifyWrapped #streaming #featured #IN AMERICA TODAY

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What Australia can learn from NZ’s supermarket inquiry



Coles and Woolworths, two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, are about to face a Senate inquiry that aims to scrutinise their market dominance and business practices.

The inquiry’s parallels with a past New Zealand investigation highlight the growing concern over the duopoly’s impact on consumers and smaller businesses.

The Senate inquiry, set to begin next month, comes as a response to mounting public pressure and allegations of anti-competitive behavior in the grocery sector.

New Zealand example

Similar concerns led New Zealand to conduct its own inquiry into the supermarket industry back in 2019, resulting in recommendations for increased regulation and transparency.

The central question here is whether Coles and Woolworths wield too much power in the Australian market, potentially stifling competition and limiting choices for consumers.

With the New Zealand example as a cautionary tale, many are wondering if this inquiry will result in meaningful changes to the Australian grocery landscape.

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Elon Musk: Nikki Haley’s ‘campaign is dead’



Elon Musk has thrown a verbal jab at former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, declaring her political campaign as “dead” on X.

The unexpected comment from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has ignited a new wave of discussion within the political sphere, leaving many wondering about the implications for Haley’s political future.

In a tweet that garnered significant attention, Musk criticized Haley’s recent policy stance, writing, “Nikki Haley’s campaign is dead on arrival if she continues to ignore the urgency of climate change.

We need leaders who prioritize the planet’s future.” The tech mogul’s remarks come as Haley, a prominent Republican figure, has been exploring the possibility of running for president in the upcoming election cycle.

Musk’s statement has reignited the debate over climate change within the Republican Party, with many conservatives emphasizing economic interests over environmental concerns.

This raises questions about whether Musk’s endorsement or critique could influence the GOP’s stance on climate issues and potentially impact the 2024 presidential race.

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