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Protests break out in France against coronavirus passes

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Over 100-thousand French residents have united to protest against the introduction of a new coronavirus pass

If enacted, the proposed legislation would prevent unvaccinated people from participating in most forms of public life.

Throughout the capital city of Paris, demonstrators held placards and chanted.

Officials have confirmed that 34 people have been arrested… whilst 10 police officers were injured following some protests turning violent.

The bill has passed its first reading in Parliament… and will remove the current option of showing a negative Covid-19 test to gain access to a variety of public venues.

The government says it expects the new rules to come into force on 15 January… but this date could be pushed back if the bill faces opposition in the Senate.

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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Ukraine Crisis

NATO ties – Sweden receives full backing from U.S.

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Just days after announcing its intentions to join NATO, Sweden has received full backing from the United States.

U.S. Defence Secretary Llyod Austin welcomed his Swedish counterpart to the Pentagon, in a show of solidarity between the two nations.

Austin says the United States says Sweden’s membership to the alliance will make all member nations safer and more secure.

Both Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the strategic alliance on Wednesday, but still face objections from Turkey.

The whole membership process is expected to take just a few weeks, but ratification by all allied parliaments could take up to a year.

It signifies one of the most significant shake-ups of European security architecture not seen since the Cold War.

The two nations remained neutral throughout this period in history, despite Finland sharing a 1,300 kilometre border with Russia.

Sweden says Russian propaganda can no longer hide the nation’s war crimes… and believes now more than ever, democracies must stand together against Moscow’s increasing aggression.

NATO Secretary-General Jen Stoltenberg says this is an historic moment which must be seized, warmly requesting the requests from both meetings at the alliance headquarters.

Both Sweden and Finland handed over their application letters, each envelope embossed with their national flag.

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