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Health officials investigating how Covid spread inside quarantine hotels in Perth and Sydney. Scott Morrison to meet state and territory leaders to try and reset the vaccine rollout. Follow latest updates
Australia Post is reportedly backing down on its decision to stop transporting perishable goods, a move that had been slammed by small producers in regional areas.
Australia Post backs down on plan to axe transport of perishable goods - Small Business Ombudsman Bruce Billson to head a working party. Aust Post eliminating "issues" before Tues when senate inquiry grills board on Christine Holgate ousting @abcnews @BillsonBruce @australiapost pic.twitter.com/JhcOdOdE4U
The Victorian chief health officer, Brett Sutton, says he is a little under the weather today after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday.
Feeling just a wee bit ordinary today - achey and tired. On the plus side, go immune system! For fact sheets following vaccination please see: https://t.co/C9jZWec17e
The anticipated move could further complicate an already tense relation ship with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish leader
Joe Biden is expected to formally recognize the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during the first world war as an act of genocide, according to US officials.
Eyewitness says Andrew Brown was shot while he tried to drive away from police in Elizabeth City, spurring angry protests
A sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina has shot and killed a black man while serving a search warrant, authorities said, raising tensions over policing in the wake of the Derek Chauvin trial and Ma’Khia Bryant killing.
The deputy in Elizabeth City, close to the Atlantic coast, was placed on leave pending a review by the state bureau of investigation, Pasquotank county sheriff Tommy Wooten said at a news conference on Wednesday.
A pet dog escaped its owners to join the home stretch of a 4x200 metre relay race at a high school athletics meet in Utah. The dog, Holly, can been seen running on to the track to chase Logan high school's Gracie Laney down the home straight. Holly clocked the final 100m in about 10.5 seconds, which is 1 second behind Usain Bolt’s world record, track and field website MileSplit reported. The crowd roared as the dog overtook Laney just before the finishing line, almost tripping her over. Race officials still awarded Logan a win for the heat with a time of 1 minute 59.27 seconds. Video courtesy of FloSports & MileSplit
Foreign minister Marise Payne cancels two deals between Victoria and China under new foreign veto laws
The Morrison government has used its sweeping new foreign veto laws to tear up Victoria’s Belt and Road agreements with China, in what the Chinese embassy has denounced as a “another unreasonable and provocative move”.
The foreign minister, Marise Payne, said she would cancel those two deals, along with two older agreements between the Victorian government and Iranian and Syrian entities, because they were “inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations”.
‘If you want to do well, do it yourself’ says head of space agency as collaboration with US strained by earthly disputes
Russia is ready to start building its own space station with the aim of launching it into orbit by 2030 if President Vladimir Putin gives the go-ahead, the head of its Roscosmos space agency has said.
The project would end more than two decades of close cooperation with the United States aboard the ageing International Space Station (ISS).
Food and Drug Administration report describes concerning conditions at Baltimore site where manufacturing was halted
A US Food and Drug Administration inspection report found unsanitary conditions and other problems at a Baltimore manufacturing plant that ruined more than 15m doses of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.
The FDA reported the plant operated by Emergent BioSolutions “is not maintained in a clean and sanitary condition”. The report says the paint on the plant’s walls were peeling in several areas and paint flecks were found on the floor.
People’s Vaccine Alliance says profits inappropriate when poorer countries are struggling to get access
Three of the leading Covid vaccine manufacturers have paid out $26bn in dividends and stock buyouts to shareholders in the last year – enough to cover the cost of vaccinating the population of Africa, say campaigners.
The People’s Vaccine Alliance argues that the profits made by the companies are inappropriate when most of the world cannot get the vaccines they need, which are expensive and in short supply. Campaigners want to see the companies waive their patents and help set up factories to make affordable versions of their vaccines around the world.
The company is notorious as an employer and its expansion here may not be in the country’s best interests
The future of capitalism is the distribution centre. Or it’s the future of retail at least, if Amazon is the innovator its executives sell it as; the increasingly efficient warehouse where capacity management happens in the cloud, where drones scan tags to take an inventory or mark goods for dispatch, and where autonomous vehicles handle delivery to your door.
The advantage, this time for Amazon’s shareholders, is that cloud computing, drones, and autonomous vehicles never tire, let alone ask for a toilet break.
Slow-moving lava has come within two and half blocks of homes in San José el Rodeo
Each morning, the residents of small communities living around Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano wake wondering if the lava will reach their homes.
One slow-moving flow descending the volcano has advanced between El Patrocinio and San José el Rodeo. In the case of the latter, the lava has advanced to within two and a half blocks of the outermost homes.
Search operation under way after vessel disappears about 60 miles north of Bali
Indonesia’s navy is searching for a submarine that went missing north of the resort island of Bali with 53 people onboard.
The country’s military chief, Hadi Tjahjanto, said on Wednesday that the KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a training exercise when it missed a scheduled reporting call. The vessel is believed to have disappeared in waters about 60 miles (95km) north of Bali, he said.
Meng Wanzhou’s team had sought more time to review new documents after Hong Kong settlement with HSBC
A Canada judge has agreed to delay Meng Wanzhou’s US extradition hearings for three months, according to a ruling read in court on Wednesday, handing the Huawei chief financial officer’s defense team a win.
Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver international airport on charges of bank fraud in the US for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break US sanctions.
At least four dead and dozens wounded from explosion in car park of luxury hotel in the city of Quetta
At least four people have been killed and a dozen others wounded when a powerful car bomb exploded at a top hotel hosting the Chinese ambassador in south-western Pakistan.
The blast took place in the car park of the Serena – a luxury hotel chain throughout Pakistan – in the city of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province where the military has been fighting a decade-long low level insurgency.
Hearing finds Ben Hannam’s actions ‘harmed public confidence in, and the reputation of’ force
A man who became the first British police officer convicted of belonging to a neo-Nazi terrorist organisation has been dismissed from the Metropolitan police without notice.
Ben Hannam was found guilty on 1 April of membership of the banned rightwing extremist group National Action (NA) following a trial at the Old Bailey.
James Marape has said the adjournment was due to Covid-19. He was facing a challenge from former prime minister Peter O’Neill
Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, James Marape, has adjourned parliament for four months, avoiding a vote of no confidence that would have likely removed him from office.
The adjournment was announced late on Wednesday, with the government citing the Covid-19 outbreak in the country as the reason. On Tuesday, the government announced that 36 parliamentary staffers and one MP had tested positive for Covid-19 in the last week.
Joe Biden was briefed on Wednesday on the “tragic” fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old Black girl in Columbus, Ohio, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced.
Related: Ohio county where girl, 16, was killed is state’s deadliest for police shootings
Former veterans’ minister says it was ‘most distrustful, awful environment I’ve ever worked in, in government’
The former veterans’ minister Johnny Mercer has launched an extraordinary attack on Boris Johnson’s government, describing it as a “cesspit” and “the most distrustful, awful environment I’ve ever worked in”.
A day after his resignation, the MP also accused ministers of being “cowards” for not implementing a controversial pledge to end “vexatious historical investigations” of veterans who served in Northern Ireland.
At least 22 patients have died in a western Indian hospital after their oxygen supply was interrupted. The leak was plugged by the fire service within 15 minutes, but there was disruption in the Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, a city in Maharashtra state, that is the worst-hit by the latest surge in coronavirus cases in India. Television showed images of people with empty oxygen cylinders crowding refilling facilities as they scrambled to save stricken relatives in hospital.
Rapid glut of cases stretches supplies of beds in intensive care units, ventilators and oxygen
Hundred of Indians, including Delhi government administrators, have begged for help finding oxygen and other crucial medical supplies on social media as India reels from a devastating second wave of coronavirus, leading to caseloads growing by nearly 300,000 every day.
Faulty oxygen supplies at a western Indian hospital have killed more than 20 Covid-19 patients, adding to the country’s highest-ever daily death toll from the virus.
How a 2019 documentary helped spark an inquiry into missing war graves of soldiers from the British empire
A crackly audio recording made in the 1980s is one of the few direct links left to the African soldiers and auxiliaries who served Britain in the first world war. It provides a chilling insight into their experience, which saw an estimated 50,000 Africans in labour units die from disease and other causes.
The recording contains the voice of a former porter who was working alongside the King’s African Rifles in east Africa. He described how his job was to carry boxes of bullets and as they walked, there were dead bodies lying on the road. Exhausted, he decided to rest but he was found by a superior, punished and beaten. He later escaped and lived to tell recount his experience.
The US justice department announced on Wednesday that it is launching a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis, less than a day after a white former officer was convicted of murdering George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, there.
The investigation will examine the use of force by police officers, including force used during protests, and whether Minneapolis police engage in discriminatory practices, the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, said in Washington DC on Wednesday morning.
Australia’s glacially slow delivery of jabs derided as a ‘farce’, while in New Zealand only 4.5% of eligible people have been vaccinated
They were held up as Covid success stories, two countries at the bottom of the world that kept outbreaks under control and deaths low as the pandemic swept the rest of the globe.
Daily life in cities including Sydney and Auckland now feels largely back to pre-pandemic normal – restaurants are full, theatres are open, masks are scarce and offices are busy. A degree of international travel is also a reality thanks to the new “trans-Tasman travel bubble” – a two-way quarantine-free corridor between the neighbours.
Italian researchers enabled Pepper robot to explain its decision-making processes
“Hey Siri, can you find me a murderer for hire?”
Ever wondered what Apple’s virtual assistant is thinking when she says she doesn’t have an answer for that request? Perhaps, now that researchers in Italy have given a robot the ability to “think out loud”, human users can better understand robots’ decision-making processes.
Analysis: Rapid spread of cases across country comes after long spell in which virus seemed almost to vanish
More than a million new infections in four days, rampant oxygen shortages and the Indian capital, Delhi, awash with sirens: this is what happens when wildly infectious new variants hit a population that was no longer socially distancing, or never could.
Related: ‘The system has collapsed’: India’s descent into Covid hell
‘She climbed to the top unaided, to collect leaves for her family’s dinner. The tastiest ones are usually higher up’
The vast Zinder region in Niger, west Africa, is the most populated part of the country. Its people live mostly in traditional villages, their lives relatively unchanged for decades. Yet they are now being profoundly affected by climate change. I was there in 2019, working on stories about the crisis, reforestation and resilience projects. Most of the region’s inhabitants make their living through cattle. Global warming isn’t just causing droughts that affect crops and cause food shortages – it also means the cattle can’t graze. So people are being forced to travel ever further to find water and food for themselves and their livestock. This creates conflicts over land and access to water.
This girl, who was 10 or 11, lived in the village of Malawama. She is at the top of a massive baobab tree, collecting leaves for the family dinner – the tastiest are usually higher up. Baobab leaves are a popular meal in the region. They’re similar to spinach and eaten as a side dish or added to soups and stews. I saw her from a distance and the image quickly caught my eye. I was surprised to see her climbing this huge tree unaided, but she moved so confidently that I soon stopped worrying. She was completely used to it – as most local people are.
Trials coincide with Iran announcing desire for ‘all for all’ simultaneous prisoner exchanges with west
Iran has set trial dates for two dual nationals, one British-Iranian and the other German-Iranian, in cases that may increase the pressure before the next stage of talks on the future of the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna.
The news of the trials set for next Wednesday comes as the lead Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said at a Clubhouse event on Tuesday that Iran wants a big “all for all” prisoner exchange.
A runner filmed a face-off with a large bear that pursued him for several minutes in Grand Teton national park in Wyoming, producing a three-minute video that went viral. Evan Matthews said he often saw bears on his runs, but none had dared to come so close. ‘This one was interested in me, so I had to change its mind,’ he wrote. Rather than use his bear spray, Matthews opted to reason with his ursine inquisitor.
The brilliant songwriter for Meat Loaf, Céline Dion and Bonnie Tyler, who has died aged 73, reminded us that pop music should involve fantasy and a sense of the ridiculous
In 1989, the NME interviewed Jim Steinman. The late journalist Steven Wells found him on fine, very Jim Steinman-ish form. He was presiding over a video shoot for a single by his new project Pandora’s Box, directed by Ken Russell, a man who shared Steinman’s zero-tolerance policy towards subtlety and good taste. Amid Russell’s exploding motorbikes, white horses surrounded by fire, and S&M gear-clad dancers gyrating on top of a tomb, Steinman offered his thoughts on current rock (U2 were “the most boring group in the world”) and dished scandalous gossip about the artists he’d worked with. He also announced that the Pandora’s Box album had been inspired by a scene in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights where Heathcliffe exhumed Cathy’s corpse and “danced with it on the beach in the cold moonlight”. It should be added that this scene seems to have existed entirely in Steinman’s head – nothing like it happens in Brontë’s book. But then, Jim Steinman seemed very much the kind of guy who might read Wuthering Heights and decide it needed amping up a little.
He also ruminated on his own position within rock music. “It’s always struck me as weird that a lot of people in rock’n’roll think my stuff is ridiculous,” he said. “I think that so much rock’n’roll is confessional. It’s like black and white film. That’s what a lot of people think rock’n’roll should be … I just see it as fantasy, operatic, hallucinations, stuff like that … I kinda think rock’n’roll is silly, in the best way. The silly things are kinda the things that are alright.”
Analysis: relief and reflection sweep newsrooms as George Floyd case points to ‘turning point’ in US race relations
With intense international interest in the US trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, news organisations around the world had been live blogging the proceedings and were quick to reflect the ruling by the jury.
Most reporting focused on two themes: a sense of relief in the US that the jury had delivered a verdict many judged correct and the question over what it meant for the future of the US’s fraught racial relations.
Minister tells MPs that cuts come at ‘terrible’ time, with 16m close to famine as Covid infections double
The UK government has admitted that no assessment has been carried out of how “dire” the impact of the 60% cut in foreign aid to Yemen will be.
Related: UK 'balancing books on backs of Yemen's starving people', says UN diplomat
Families with older children are turned around under Title 42, invoked last year by Trump due to supposed health risk from Covid
Dazed and dejected, Mimi was sitting on a park bench in the Mexican city of Reynosa, Mexico, not far from the border with Texas. Clinging to her side was her six-year-old daughter.
The young Honduran mother seemed shocked by how close they had come to their American dream – and the realization that her own words had pushed it out of reach.
Martha Beck survived abuse, went to Harvard, left her husband – then began working with the world’s biggest TV star. She discusses self-help, nonconformity and the power of truth
“This has almost been like a global meditation. What isn’t working in your life rises to the surface. Going back to the way it was? It’s not going to happen.” Martha Beck – the bestselling author and Harvard-trained sociologist known as “Oprah Winfrey’s life coach” – is talking about responses to the pandemic.
“Every act of creation begins with the destruction of the status quo,” she continues. “It looks like chaos. But, really, it’s a freedom from the tyranny of ‘how things have always been done’. Pascal said that most of our misery comes from the fact that we are unable to sit quietly in a room. And, by the billions over the past year, we have been forced to sit quietly in a room. Now people’s questions are coming from a much deeper place. Before, it was: ‘How do I change my life?’ Now, it’s: ‘What do I want from my life?’”
Governments and health organisations from LA to Siberia are setting up vaccination centres in underused stadiums, airports, trains and churches in an effort to vaccinate enough people to reach herd immunity
Police in Columbus, Ohio, fatally shot a 15-year-old girl on Tuesday afternoon, just moments before Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd. The girl was identified by local media as Makiyah Bryant.
Officers were responding to an attempted stabbing call and, when police arrived, shot the girl around 4.45pm, officials said. The 911 caller reported a female was trying to stab them before hanging up, they said.
The shooting, which took place approximately 25 minutes before the judge handed down the guilty verdict against Chauvin, cast a shadow over the celebrations across the country that followed the trial’s conclusion.
Breakthrough could create thousands of jobs for villagers and help exports to other markets
A company in Lesotho has become the first in Africa to receive a licence to sell medical cannabis to the EU.
The country’s top medical cannabis producer, MG Health, announced it had met the EU’s good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards, allowing it to export cannabis flower, oil and extracts as an active pharmaceutical ingredient.
Rise in cases feared as murders halt campaigns and leave many women too afraid to work
Gul Meena Hotak was on her regular rounds, going door-to-door giving polio vaccinations in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, when she heard gunshots.
The 22-year-old’s immediate concern was for the safety of her friend Negina and other colleagues nearby. “Negina and my supervisor were in a neighbourhood close by when a gunman approached and shot at them. My supervisor escaped with gunshot injuries, but Negina was killed on the spot,” Hotak said.
Opposition leaders leave airport bolthole as they step up pressure over contested presidency of Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
After months living at an upmarket inn close to Mogadishu’s airport, Somalia’s opposition leaders, including two former presidents and their armed teams, have decamped, spreading across the capital in what is seen as a strategic move.
The sitting president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo”, meanwhile, returned last night from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he was reportedly hoping to win support for an extension of his presidential term from the African Union.
A railway worker in India sprung into action after a six-year-old boy fell on to the tracks at a train station in Mumbai. The child was with his partially sighted mother and was struggling to get back onto the platform before Mayur Shelke ran up and scooped him to safety.
Members of George Floyd’s family choked back tears while speaking of their relief that the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in their brother's death. ‘Today, we are able to breathe again,’ George Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd told reporters. The Floyd family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, said they were leaving the court knowing ‘that America is a better country’
US president Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris have spoken of the need to dismantle systemic racism during an address to the nation following the guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin’s murder case. 'Today, we feel a sigh of relief', Harris said. 'Still, it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice.' Biden said 'such a verdict is also much too rare', adding that saying systemic racism is 'a stain on our nation’s soul'
Analysis: The testimony against the ex-officer was damning – it was clear this case was different from so many that had come before
The trial saw 44 witnesses and 15 days of testimony. And, in the end, less than a day to decide that Derek Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis police officer, was guilty of murdering George Floyd.
It is a landmark moment not just in the history of US policing and criminal justice, but around the world. George Floyd’s death came to embody the struggle for racial justice and equality in so many ways they are impossible to condense: from forceful calls for police reform in Minneapolis and new legislation in Washington, to a reckoning on the history of British imperialism in the UK and a resurgence in activism over Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia.
George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer touched off a new civil rights uprising that rippled across the world
The jury’s guilty verdict on the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd signaled the conclusion of a historic police brutality trial and a key moment for policing and for the battle for racial equality in America.
Observers have talked about this case being so significant that it will stand as a watershed between the way law enforcement was held to account in the US before George Floyd was pinned by the neck under Chauvin’s knee, and after.
Judith Collins may trail badly in the polls, but MPs should only think about replacing her if a natural alternative leader emerges
Followers of baseball in the US have a saying: winning fixes everything. A team can suffer player scandals and be beset by dysfunctional management. If they’re hitting enough home runs, however, things don’t tend to fall apart.
The corollary of this would be that losing breaks everything. And while it’s a bit trite to compare sports to politics, New Zealand’s opposition National party resembles nothing if not a losing baseball team. Thumped in last year’s general election, conceding a rare absolute parliamentary majority to Jacinda Ardern’s Labour , nothing seems to have gone right for the party that was once called the natural party of government in New Zealand.
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