The US government declared a state of emergency after the country’s largest fuel pipeline was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack.
The Colonial Pipeline was completely taken offline by a group of cyber-criminals at the weekend, which forced the company to halt all pipeline operations.
Hackers seized almost 100 giga-bytes of data and threatened to leak it onto the internet unless they received a payment.
Colonial currently carries 2.5 million barrels each day – worth up to 45 percent of the east coast’s supply of gas, diesel, and jet fuel. Experts believe fuel prices are likely to rise by up to three percent as a result of the shutdown.
U.S. retailers limit emergency contraception purchases
Demand for morning after pills have led to retailers having to limit purchases
Amazon has limited sales of morning after pills as demand spikes following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
There is now a limit of three Plan B units per week on emergency contraceptive pills sold through its website.
Other U.S. retailers are also capping purchases of emergency contraceptive pills like chain pharmacy, CVS and Walmart.
Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that can be taken within 72 hours after sex. It is a synthetic form of the hormone progestin which delays ovulation briefly and prevents pregnancy.
Demand has surged following last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe vs Wade, ending the constitutional right to have an abortion.
Since the reversal of Roe v Wade, women have tried to find ways to control their reproductive health, by stocking up on emergency contraception.
Social media is flooding with calls to stock up on Plan B in anticipation of possible restrictions on contraceptive pills.
Meanwhile, some US companies have committed to paying staff travel expenses for those wanting an abortion.
Katerina Kostakos contributed to this article.
Chinese investment in Australia drops
China’s investment in Australia has plunged to its lowest levels since 2007
A new report from KPMG and the University of Sydney shows Chinese companies invested U.S. $585 million in Australia last year, which is down from a peak of U.S $16.2 billion in 2008.
It comes as relations between the two nations remain sour. Australia has previously called for an independent review into the origins of Covid-19, and a ban on foreign interference.
But Chinese officials have responded with trade sanctions, which have affected Australian wine, seafood and coal exports.
Australia was once a large destination for Chinese investment. In fact, the two nations signed an historic Free Trade Agreement in 2015, with a key focus on economic growth and creating jobs.
Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese says he will not make concessions to China. The newly-elected Albanese is in Europe for a series of talks with NATO leaders.
“The resistance of Ukraine has brought democratic nations closer together which have a shared commitment to rules-based, international order,” he says.
But Chinese officials believe it is irresponsible to place Ukraine and Taiwan in the same basket.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian says “Taiwan is by no means Ukraine,” and labelled Albanese’s comments as “irresponsible”.
Target offers support to employees seeking abortions
Target will help its employees living in states where abortions are banned by funding their travel
The company sent a memo to employees via email with the new policy to be enacted in July.
Target’s Chief Human Resources Officer says “A few months ago, we started re-evaluating our benefits with the goal of understanding what it would look like if we broadened the travel reimbursement to any care that’s needed and covered – but not available in the team member’s community”.
She says “This effort became even more relevant as [Target] learned about the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion, given that it would impact access to healthcare in some states”.
This all comes amid the reversal of Roe versus Wade removing abortion as a constitutional right within the U.S.
This has sparked a range of companies to provide similar benefits with Amazon also providing travel coverage for employees.
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