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Can Melbourne exit lockdown early amid record daily case numbers?

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Melbourne’s early release from world’s longest lockdown is on the line after the Australian state cracked the 2000 mark for daily Covid cases for the first time

Melbourne and the state of Victoria has recorded 2,297 new covid cases, marking a record daily increase for Australia

This follows authorities believing that daily case numbers were beginning to plateau.

The state is nearing its double dose vaccination target of 70 per cent with the city predicted to reopen once it reaches this milestone around October 22.

Will Melbourne open early despite case number surge?

It’s unclear whether or not this latest spike will delay the government’s planned reopening.

This all follows a recent surge in vaccination rates and the state’s deadliest day of its current Delta outbreak, with 13 people dying from the virus on Wednesday.

Victoria is on track to reach its 70 percent double-vaccination target on October 22 – which is four days ahead of the government’s road map date of October 26.

Premier Daniel Andrews has assured residents that restrictions will be eased on the day Victoria reaches this vaccination milestone.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 24: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media

Andrews says “I look forward to being able to give people absolute clarity about what next week looks like, and the week after, and as far out as he can”.

World

Russian soldier pleads guilty to killing civilian in Ukraine war crimes trial

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Ukraine is holding its first war crimes trial since the war began on February 24

A 21-year-old Russian soldier is on trial pleading guilty to killing an unarmed civilian.

Vadim Shishimarin is now facing life in jail for killing the 62-year-old man only days after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The prisoner was escorted into the courtroom by heavily armed guards with the victim’s widow also present.

In court Shishimarin accepted his guilt before the judge.

The criminal was commanding a unit in a tank division when his group was attacked.

The 5 soldiers escaped by stealing a car and travelling to the nearby town of Chupakivka which is where they came across the civilian Oleksandr Shelipov.

Prosecutors allege that Shishimarin received orders to kill Shelipov shooting him in the head with a Kalashnikov assault rifle but the Kremlin has denied its involvement.

The trial was adjourned not long after the prisoner admitted his guilt with the hearing to resume on Thursday in a larger courtroom.

The BBC spoke with Shelipov’s widow she says she “feels very sorry” for the Russian soldier but assured that she could not forgive him for a crime like that.

Throughout the three months of war Ukraine has reported over 10,000 potential war crimes committed by Russia.

Ukraine’s chief prosecutor took to Twitter to say the trial is a “clear signal that every perpetrator, every person who ordered or assisted in the commission of crimes in Ukraine shall not avoid responsibility”.

Russia continues to reject that its troops ever targeted civilians.

The International Criminal Court is conducting their own investigation with 42 experts expected to arrive in the country in the coming weeks.

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World

Will Australia have a new leader?

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Saturday is the day residents of Australia will take to the polls to vote in their next government and prime minister

Opposition and Labor Leader Anthony Albanese is set to visit five states and 20 individual marginal seats over the next few days in a bid to secure the top job.

This follows a recent swing back towards the Morrison government, with experts saying the race has tightened.

Coalition campaigners believe the country’s current Prime Minister is gaining support in outer-eastern Sydney suburbs.

On Wednesday, Albanese arrived into western Sydney to the safe Labor seat of Fowler, as Labor candidate Kristina Keneally faces off against independent Dai Le.

PM Scott Morrison will also be campaigning in Sydney, defending the seats of Reid and Bennelong.

Morrison will visit 10 seats over the next two days, and will likely use soon-to-be released unemployment figures, expecting the jobless rate to fall below 4 per cent for the first time in decades.

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U.S. stocks plunge – markets have biggest daily drop in 2 years

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U.S. markets have had their biggest daily drop in almost two years, as investors evaluate the impacts of higher prices on earnings and the possibility of monetary policy tightening

The S&P 500 dropped by 4 per cent, while the Nasdaq fell the most amongst other major benchmarks.

Meanwhile, retailer Target down was down more than 20 points in its worst performance since 1987, and Apple and Amazon.com both slid.

The U.S. dollar rose against all Group-of-10 counterparts, except the yen and Swiss franc.

The S&P is slowly emerging from its longest slump since 2011, but rebounds are fragile amid tightening policy, the war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China.

It comes as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warns U.S. central bank will raise interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence inflation is in retreat.

Looking to other parts of the world, and Europe saw new-vehicle sales shrink for a 10th month in a row.

Over in the United Kingdom, inflation rose to its highest level since Margaret Thatcher’s reign 40 years ago.

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