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Will taxpayers foot the bill for the Port of Darwin?

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As tensions between China and Australia continue to escalate, Australian taxpayers could be the latest victims of the deteriorating bilateral relationship between the two nations.

The Australian government is launching a review into the Port of Darwin, in the country’s north, which is currently owned by Chinese company, Landbridge.

If the review finds that ownership of the Port needs to be given up, taxpayers could be forced to foot the multimillion-dollar compensation bill that follows.

The Chinese company, owned by billionaire Ye Cheng, may have to give up the port if it’s found to be in breach of the so-called critical infrastructure laws which were enacted in 2018.

But experts fear the costs associated with this takeover could soar beyond $500 million dollars, if the 99-year lease is torn up.

“Landbridge acquired the lease to Darwin Port in good faith following a transparent process in 2015,” says Landbridge vice-president Mike Hughes.

“Our involvement was reviewed by both the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Department of Defence at the time and it has been subject to a Senate inquiry.”

Australia’s leader Scott Morrison says:

“If there is advice from the Defence Department or our security agencies that change their view about the national security implications of any piece of critical infrastructure, we have legislation now which is dealing with critical infrastructure.”

For a long time, Darwin has been seen as a “strategic frontline for Australia”, and the handing over of such a vital infrastructure lease to a Chinese-backed company in 2015 has baffled many politicians.

As tensions between China and Australia continue to grow, it will be interesting to see how the federal government responds.

Accordingly, if the lease is broken, one would expect a fairly animated response from Beijing in response.

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Four dead in Russian military plane crash

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Four people have been killed after a Russian military plane suffered an engine malfunction

The plane reportedly crashed in the city of Ryazan, which is located southeast of Moscow.

It’s believed five others are also injured. However, it is unclear how many were on board.

The Ilyushin IL-76 military cargo plane is a long-range aircraft, which can reportedly carry over 100 troops.

An Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft, which is similar to the one involved in the incident.

Local authorities say the plane suffered a malfunction while on a training flight.

Russia’s Defence Minister is yet to give any further details on the crash, or about the victims.

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Double election defeat for UK Conservatives

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have suffered defeat in two parliamentary by-elections

UK Conservatives have lost two crucial seats in England, which could spark concerns about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s future.

The centrist Liberal Democrat party won the seats of Tiverton and Honiton.

The seats are in a Conservative part of south-west England, where a majority of 24,000 has been overturned.

The Liberal Democrats say it is their biggest ever majority turn around at a parliamentary by election.

“Tonight, the people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for Britain. They’ve sent a loud and clear message: It’s time for Boris Johnson to go, and go now.”

winning candidate Richard Foord

The losses have renewed calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after a police investigation into gatherings at his Downing Street offices.

Johnson recently survived a vote of no-confidence, which secured his term as Prime Minister for another 12 months.

It also follows the Conservatives winning a landslide majority in three decades during the last national election.

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Protestors disrupt Chinese ambassador’s speech in Sydney

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Protesters are causing disruptions during an address by China’s Ambassador to Australia

Xiao Qian is in Sydney, where is he speaking about how to improve ties between the two countries.

One protester described Mr Xiao as a “representative of a dictatorship” and accused the Chinese Government of committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims.

Others were heard shouting “Free Tibet”, and another was asked to leave the venue prior to the event because he was dressed in a military costume.

The speech was widely seen as an attempt to ease relations between the two countries.

China has put trade sanctions on Australia, while a recent encounter took place between a Chinese fighter jet and an Australian maritime aircraft over the South China Sea.

Security guards reportedly ushered the protesters.

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