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How Australia can ban Australians from returning home

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On the surface, it doesn’t make any sense. Australians are often surprised to hear we are one of the only countries banning people from leaving the country.

But now, given the situation unfolding in India, and what we know about the consequences, the Health minister Greg Hunt has taken the unusual step of blocking all travellers from India.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re an Australian citizen.

Emergency powers

The government will invoke emergency powers, amid concerns that transiting passengers may still enter Australia via other countries.

It’s also politically savvy. Look at the success local state governments have had at elections following draconian measures to ban other Australians enter their states. And now the Federal government, which had been critical of the states, in jumping on board, trading Australia as one giant WA.

Variants of the virus emerge typically in places where it’s spreading rapidly, and can prove more contagious, more harmful and more deadly as a result.

Mr Hunt made the determination under the Biosecurity Act to stop people who have been in India during the past fortnight from arriving in Australia,.

It follows advice from the Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

“The risk assessment that informed the decision was based on the proportion of overseas travellers in quarantine in Australia who have acquired a COVID-19 infection in India.”

Greg Hunt, AUSTRALIAN HEALTH MINISTER

There are about 9000 stranded Australians in India wanting to come home, 650 of whom are considered vulnerable.

And despite the PM confirming on Wednesday that travellers returning from India via Doha had been closed off, the government discovered there was still another way.

Flights from India to Australia have been paused until May 15 but Mr Hunt said national cabinet wanted them restarted “as soon as possible”.

“India has been reporting more than 300,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day for the past week. The total number of cases in India is now close to 19 million and more than 200,000 people have died.”

GREG HUNT, AUSTRALIAN HEALTH MINISTER

“The government does not make these decisions lightly.”

India recorded 387,000 new infections on Thursday, a record high, and nearly 3,500 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Gayle Smith, the State Department’s coordinator for global Covid response and health security, told reporters in a conference call Friday that the surge in India is “very, very serious.”

United Airlines Holdings Inc., the only U.S. carrier with nonstop service to India, said in a statement that it would “comply with all government regulations and travel orders.”

“United is proud of the essential air service we provide to connect our two countries and we’ll continue to support India during this time of need,” it said.

Climate Change

Australia places honeybees in lockdown

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Honeybees in Australia are in lockdown after a deadly parasite was discovered in Sydney

A parasite has been found to weaken and kill bee colonies, which could threaten the already-scarce bee population.

Australian bees have been into lockdown, which means beekeepers are not allowed to move hives, bees or honeycombs until further notice from biosecurity.

Local authorities say swift measures are being taken to contain the disease.

“We have immediately launched an eradication plan which involved setting up a biosecurity zone, containing the infected hives and euthanising the bees.”

NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders

Until now, Australia is one of a few continents who did not have the varroa destructor, which can attach itself to the body of a bee and weaken its fat.

Nearly one-third of Australia’s food production relies on bee pollination. But the outbreak could cost the honey industry millions of dollars.

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Crypto

North Korea bears the brunt of the crypto market crash

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The crypto market crash is impacting North Korea’s weapons programme

The recent crypto market crash has made its way to North Korea, where hackers are bearing the brunt.

The isolated country relies on stolen crypto to fund part of their weapons program.

But as crypto holdings drop by millions of dollars, the nation is reportedly scrambling to find new ways to fund Pyongyang’s missile plans.

KCNA

North Korea has ramped up its stolen crypto assets in recent times leading to one of the largest cryptocurrency heists on record earlier this year.

Hackers allegedly stole $615 million worth of crypto prompting the U.S. tplace a warning about potential workers who are hiding their identities to find jobs abroad.

Meanwhile, crypto holdings have decreased in value with the market sliding below $1 trillion for the first time since January 2021.

Katerina Kostakos contributed to this report

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Ukraine Crisis

Sean Penn visits President Zelensky in Kyiv

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Sean Penn is the latest celebrity to travel to Ukraine and meet with President Zelensky

Actor Sean Penn is reportedly creating a documentary on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He is seeking to visit the war-torn areas where Russian troops have allegedly committed war crimes.

The leader thanked Penn for his support during the meeting. It comes a week after Zelensky met with Hollywood star Ben Stiller, who was visiting for humanitarian reasons.

“The whole world will soon be able to see the whole truth about the war thanks to his film. Sean, thank you for the support of our state and our people.”

UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

Meanwhile, fresh vision has emerged of a Russian missile strike on a crowded shopping mall in the country’s east.

It’s understood 18 people are dead, and dozens are still missing. Moscow says it struck a nearby arms depot and is claiming the mall was empty at the time.

The blast sent shockwaves around surrounding areas, where people can be seen running away from the areas of impact.

Meanwhile, President Zelensky is calling Russia a terrorist state. He urged his U.N. counterparts to stand up and pay their respects, as he dialled in for urgent talks.

“Who of you does not agree that this is terrorism?”

UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

Zelensky named victims of the war, including a three-month-old. He also drew on the U.N. Charter for maintaining international peace and security.

Meanwhile, Russia’s representatives expressed concern about President Zelensky’s speech. Dmitry Polyanskiy says he did not receive any consultation beforehand.

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