Tag Archives: Australia

News update 27|5|2021

Newsroom24x7 Network

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering the keynote address on the occasion of virtual Vesak Global Celebrations on Buddha Purnima, in New Delhi on May 26, 2021.

INDIA

WORLD

US State Secretary Antony Blinken meeting with Egyptian President Sisi on Wednesday 26 May. He conveyed President Biden’s appreciation for Egypt’s critical mediation efforts in support of a ceasefire and affirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt.

Further Strengthening the COVID-19 vaccine rollout through primary care in Australia

Victoria starts vaccination for those in age group 40-49 yrs from Thursday 27 May.
According to available reports, the Covid variant that’s afflicted people in India has also entered Australia and the State of Victoria is now on 7 day full lockdown.

  • Community pharmacies in selected rural and regional areas will be activated to support Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout out. Read more

Expansionist China and the Economic War

Lalit Shastri

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif signed the Iran-China strategic partnership pact, Saturday 27 March 2021

The die has been cast. The World is getting divided. There are enough signs of a no-holds barred economic war between nations wedded to democracy on one side and expansionist China with countries inextricably tied to it due to the economic stranglehold on the other. After the Indian Army pushed back China in the Galwan Valley and banned its money spinning apps, and challenged both its military might and sway in digital technologies, trade and commerce, we now have a scenario where China is against the wall due to so many factors. And this, despite its position as world’s leading economic power. China is now hyper active on the world stage to counter the Quad.

At the Quad meeting between the US, India, Japan and Australia, earlier this month, US President Joe Biden renewed commitment to ensure that the Indo-Pacific region is governed by international law, committed to upholding universal values, free from coercion and also announced the launch of an “ambitious new joint partnership” to boost vaccine manufacturing, for the global benefit and strengthen vaccinations to benefit the entire Indo-Pacific region. He also underscored the Quad is going to be a vital arena for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stamped the moment by reiterating that the Quad will now remain an important pillar of stability in the region.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined the discussion by asserting that together the Quad nations will create a different future. It is the Indo-Pacific that will now shape the destiny of our world in the 21st century, he asserted.

The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga echoed the same sentiment by stating that Japan-Australia-India-U.S. leaders working together will help in realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Days later, addressing his first press conference after his swearing-in, the US president had underscored “a stiff competition with China, while pointing to China’s overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world. Biden also used this important interaction with the media to categorically drive home the message that it is not going to happen during his presidency and the United States are going to continue to grow and expand.

Picking China in no uncertain terms, Biden also informed media-persons at this press meet that he has already told Jinping in straight terms: “as long as you and your country continues to so blatantly violate human rights, we’re going to continue, in an unrelenting way, to call to the attention of the world and make it clear what’s happening to the Uighurs, what’s happening in Hong Kong”.

Besides the message delivered through the Quad, China also has been facing the heat on the issue of forced labour in China’s Xinjiang region and the call for boycott of goods produced through blatant violation of human rights.

Expansionist China
Expansionist China, which has a long standing territorial dispute with India and Japan, is also locked in South China Sea disputes over maritime and island claims with Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. The strategic importance of South China Sea can be gauged from the fact that a third of the global maritime trade and close to 40 per cent of China’s total trade passes through the South China Sea shipping lanes.

To ensure strategic balance in the South China Sea, U.S. warships and aircraft have frequently been moving into that area in a “show of force” and carrying out exercises in the disputed waters.

Then there is the Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure development strategy, a brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping adopted in 2013 to invest in close to 70 countries to build economic land and rail transportation routes through Central Asia. China describes the Belt and Road Initiative, which has 2049 as the deadline for completion, as “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future.”

Significantly, India, a major regional power, has refused to join China’s Belt and Road project. India has point blank declined to join the BRI because the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is integral to the BRI, passes through Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Notwithstanding the fact that China is Australia’s largest trading partner and also their interdependence economically – China needs raw matrial from Australia, while Australia ships almost a quarter of its exports to China – the situation has reached such a pass that Australia is now thinking in terms of diverting much of its shipment to other countries.

China-Iran: Comprehensive Partnership
During Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s six-nation tour to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE, China and Iran on Saturday 27 March 2021 signed what has been described by a section of the media as a 25-year “Political Strategic and Economic Treaty”.

The treaty was signed by Wang Yi and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. From China’s point of view, the pact with Iran is significant especially due to the Belt and Road Initiative in the region.

During his meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhan, who has hailed the Iran-China strategic partnership as ‘major step’, the Chinese Foreign Minister reiterated that China’s willingness to develop the China-Iran relations will not change.

In Riyadh Wang batted for a five-point initiative to achieve security and stability in the Middle East. The fine-tuning of the objectives of Wang’s West Asia tour obviously points to an attempt by China to counter the takeaway and the deep message conveyed to the entire world by Biden, Modi, Morrison and Suga when they went on a virtual platform for the Quad Summit.

Wang spoke of mutual respect, upholding equity and justice, achieving non-proliferation, collective security, and accelerating development cooperation in Riyadh.

China also is in an overdrive mode to counter sanctions over the “Xinjiang forced labour” narrative. In a latest move, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has responded to unilateral sanctions on Chinese officials over Xinjiang by announcing sanctions against two US individuals, one Canadian politician and entity on Saturday. China has also sanctioned nine UK individuals and four entities following what it has decried as “their provocative statements”.

The Chinese mouthpiece Global Times said in a report Sunday that the “West has forced companies including H&M, Nike to politicize the Xinjiang cotton supply chain issue and pushed them to offend Chinese consumers and the market. It is inevitable that they will be punished by the market”.

The Global Times report goes on add “Foreign brands may see their total enterprise value, in perspective of growth prospects, reduced by about 50 percent in five years, due to their groundless vilification over cotton…”

Chinese Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe, on Friday during a visit to the site of Chinese Embassy in former Yugoslavia, said: “The Chinese military will never allow history to repeat itself as China is capable and determined to defend its national interests,” Wei Fenghe was there to pay tribute to martyrs in Belgrade, where the Chinese Embassy in former Yugoslavia was bombed by NATO in 1999.

Chinese Foreign Ministry also said on Friday that the US-led NATO, owes a debt to the Chinese people, in the backdrop of the condemnation of NATO by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Serbia’s nation-wide commemoration of the deaths of thousands of innocent people by NATO.

On March 25, China and Turkey kept the Quad Summit in perspective when they agreed to oppose what they described as “attempt by some countries to politicize the COVID-19 vaccine cooperation” and pledged to continue their cooperation in fighting the pandemic.

A day earlier, Hungarian President Janos Ader had also said that Hungary and China will continue to strengthen cooperation on anti-pandemic, economy, trade, tourism and military affairs, and would promote in-depth development of the Hungary-China comprehensive strategic partnership.

These are not merely utterances. In fact, the die has been cast. The world is getting divided and there are enough signs of a no-holds barred economic war between nations wedded to democracy on one side and expansionist China with countries inextricably tied to it due to the economic stranglehold on the other. After the Indian Army pushed back China in the Galwan Valley and banned its money spinning apps, and thereby challenged both its military prowess and sway in digital technologies, trade and commerce, we now have a scenario where China is against the wall due to so many factors. And this, despite its position as world’s leading economic power. China is now hyper active on the world stage to counter the Quad by embracing allies or by trying to build new alliances in West Asia, and with countries of Central and Eastern Europe to retain its stranglehold on national economies.

Quad leaders meet in virtual format for a free and open Indo-Pacific

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi/Washington/Canberra/Tokyo: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga came together for the first Leaders’ Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework held virtually on 12 March 2021. 

We are reproducing below the transcript of the proceedings:

US President Joe Biden:  Hello, everyone.  I wish we were able to do this in person, but it’s wonderful to gather with friends even — even in this virtual format.  We’re reminded that we’re in the midst of a global crisis, but we’re going to overcome that as well. 

The Quad group is — was created in the wake of, as you just — everyone just saw on that short film — in the wake of a crisis under my predecessor, George W. Bush, on the 204 — the 2004 tsunami. 

I remember later, Mr. Prime Minister, in Japan, going and visiting that — the aftermath of that.  It was devastating what you all went through. 

And for the first time, we’re convening this group as — at a leader level.  And I want to thank my counterparts for joining me today: Prime Minister Morrison and Modi and Suga.  You — it’s good to have you all.  Like I said, I wish we were doing this together. 

The — it’s also the first multilateral summit that I’ve had the opportunity to host as President.  And on this — and on this moment, it’s a purpose that I think we all are concerned about: a free and open Indo-Pacific is essential to each of our futures, our countries.

The United States is committed to working with you, our partners, and all our allies in the region to achieve stability.  And this is a group of — particularly important because it’s dedicated to the practical solutions and concrete results. 

And, my counterparts, if you’ll forgive me, I’d like to give one example of why it matters.  There are many examples, but, yesterday, I signed in law the American Rescue Plan to get the American people through this pandemic and kick start our economy and our economic recovery.  It’s a bill that will get meaningful help into the hands of people in our country who need it the most. 

Consequently, this week, the OECD revised up its expected rate of growth for the United States this year as a consequence of that legislation.  In fact, it doubled it from 3.2 percent to 6.5 percent; the fastest rate in one-year economic growth since 1984.  And it’s critical because the OECD also predicted that the United States economic growth, fueled by the ARP and increased vaccinations, will be a key driver in global growth this year and our trade partners benefiting around the world as a consequence. 

But to get this right, we all have to focus on generating domestic demand and driving sustainable global growth.  And we’ve launching an ambitious new joint partnership that is going to boost vaccine manufacturing, and — for the global benefit — and strengthen vaccinations to benefit the entire Indo-Pacific. 

We’re establishing a new mechanism to enhance our cooperation and raise our mutual ambitions as we address accelerating climate change. 

And — and we’re renewing our commitment to ensure that our region is governed by international law, committed to upholding universal values, and free from coercion.  

We’ve got a big agenda ahead of us, gentlemen, as you well know, but I’m optimistic about our prospects.  The Quad is going to be a vital arena for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.  And I look forward to working closely with — with all of you in the coming years. 

And now, Prime Minister Modi, I’m kicking it over to you.  And again, it’s great to see you.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi:  Your Excellencies — President Biden, Prime Minister Morrison, and Prime Minister Suga — it is good to be among the friends.  I thank President Biden for this initiative. 

Excellencies, we are united by our democratic values and our commitment to a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.  Our agenda today — covering areas like vaccines, climate change, and emerging technologies — make the Quad a force for global good.

I see this positive vision as an extension of India’s ancient philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which regards the world as one family.  We will work together, closer than ever before, for advancing our shared values and promoting a secure, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. 

Today’s summit meeting shows that Quad had come of age.  It will now remain an important pillar of stability in the region.  Thank you.

President Biden:  Thank you.

US State Secretary Blinken:  Prime Minister Morrison.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison:  President Biden, for this wonderful initiative and bringing us together.  And my fellow prime ministers, it’s great to see you.  Namaste.  Good morning.  Konnichiwa.  And from Australia, g’day.

As we begin a new day here in Australia, it’s not yet dawn.  But we join together as Quad leaders of nations to welcome what I think will be a new dawn in the Indo-Pacific through our gathering. 

History teaches us that when nations engage together in a partnership of strategic trust, of common hope, and shared values, much can be achieved.  When the world emerged from the Great War and our last global pandemic a century ago, it soon found a Great Depression and another global conflict that unleashed a poverty and a devastation that was unthinkable. 

As we emerge from this global pandemic and the global recession, let us together create a different future.  It is the Indo-Pacific that will now shape the destiny of our world in the 21st century. 

As four leaders of great, liberal democracies in the Indo-Pacific, let our partnership be the enabler of peace, stability, and prosperity, and to do so inclusively with the many nations of our region to share in their vision, as expressed through ASEAN, for an open, inclusive — inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific; to respect and support their sovereignty, independence, and security by upholding our values and supporting international law; and to address the many challenges we face, from COVID to climate change.

Know, friends, that Australia, while looking to our friends in all of these tasks, we never leave it to our friends.  We’ll do our share of the heavy lifting to lighten the burden for us all. 

I’m delighted to now hand over to my good friend, Yoshi, Prime Minister Suga.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga:  (As interpreted.)  Joe, Mr. Modi, and ScoMo: It is a great honor to realize the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. leaders’ summit with all of you — working together to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Starting with the response to the tsunami disaster that we just saw on the video, the Quad four countries transformed into a forum for diplomatic dialogue in 2007. 

Since then, after overcoming some difficult circumstances from around 2017, we gained a fresh momentum.  In October, last year, we reached the stage of holding the foreign ministers meeting here in Tokyo.  Less than half a year since then, we are now holding this first leaders’ summit.  And I do feel emotional about the development.  I thank Joe for your initiative.

With the four countries working together, I wish to firmly advance our cooperation to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific and to make visible and tangible contribution to the peace, stability, and prosperity of the region, including overcoming COVID-19. 

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.  We received massive support from the U.S., Australia, and India in our response to the disaster.  Joe visited the affected areas soon after the disaster.  And I thank you once again. 

I look forward to a fruitful discussion today. 


Quad Leaders’ Joint Statement

The Quad Summit and Rahul Gandhi at his mischievous worst

Lalit shastri

New Delhi/Washington DC: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will come together for the first Leaders’ Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework, being held virtually on 12th March 2021.


The Leaders will discuss regional and global issues of shared interest, and exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The Summit will provide an opportunity to exchange views on contemporary challenges such as resilient supply chains, emerging and critical technologies, maritime security, and climate change. The Leaders will also discuss ongoing efforts to combat Covid-19 pandemic and explore opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region.


At his Thursday press briefing, ahead of the Quad Summit, the US State department spokesperson Ned Price narrated the important role of The Quad, as it’s known – it’s a small grouo of countries United States, Australia, India and Japan. – Price threw more light explaining the Quad was established not to counter one single threat or to focus on one single issue, but it was really established to showcase what democracies can deliver together both for our their populations and for the broader world. Price further said Quad members are uniquely positioned to help lead the region out of crises and to help move the region towards the more positive vision both to address the crises and to seize opportunities that are presented to all of us collectively.

Quad is not focused on any single issue, to include China, Price made it very clear.


In the present context of Quad and China, one cannot miss drawing attention to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who lost no time on Thursday 11 March when he tweeted that there is no democracy in India citing the Swedish Freedom House Report. He even flashed an excerpt from it which said India is now partly free and as autocratic as Pakistan and worse than Bangladesh. This tweet by Rahul Gandhi is highly mischievous, more because of its timing that coincides with the Quad Summit. Rahul and his Congress party have a bleak track record and they they are always too ready to serve the Chinese cause much against national interest. Rahul’s latest stance exposes him without end and he needs to explain to the people of India the secret memorandum of understanding, he had signed between the Indian National Congress and the Communist Party of China in 2008.

Lockdown is not on table at this stage in Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Newsroom24x7 Network

The health minister, Greg Hunt, has been in touch with his opposite down here and they’ve been talking overnight. And so will, our chief medical officer is working with theirs. But there’s a lot still going on. So I don’t want to pre-empt any of that and it’s for the Victorian government to make those final calls. – Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, on possibility of another lockdown due to COVID 19

Photo © Lalit Shastri

Close on the heels of Morrison saying its for the Victorian Goverment to take the call, the authorities ordered a 5-day snap lockdown in Melbourne on Friday.


On the traumatising impact of the lockdown to contain COVID-19 last year, Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, in an interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW, on Friday morning, 12 February, said: “It’s very real” in Victoria, and the rest of the country, also having gone through what Victorians went through, through the second half of 2021. 

Focussing attention on “proportionate, targeted responses”, the Prime Minister said, they are the most effective way to deal with COVID. It worked in Brisbane. “The short, sharp, sort of proportionate response that we saw in a couple of other states dealing with similar challenges proved to be quite effective particularly up there in Brisbane”. It also worked in New South Wales.

A precautionary, targeted, proportionate response is sensible. Explaining the strategy, Morrison said, one has got to give the contact tracers. For example if there’s an incident where someone was out of place and you want to get on top of that….It was a similar thing up in Brisbane and they did. And then they could move on again. 

There are rings of how you contain COVID. there’ve been quarantine breaches in states. There’ve been breaches and hotel quarantine is never 100 per cent failsafe, and to suggest it ever will be, is just not realistic. The issue is how you deal with it when it occurs and the contact tracing that then puts in place and the testing system and the response of Melburnians particularly, that once again, is tremendous. And that’s how you get back on top of it. We’ve had 220,000 people go through hotel quarantine around the country – 220,000.

On Vaccine

The vaccine removes, not entirely – no vaccine can remove entirely, just like the flu vaccine can’t do that, but it means that the virus changes in the risk it presents. And so then you’re not so much talking about cases as you are talking about the risk of serious disease in the community.

Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia is one of the best regulatory bodies in the world when it comes to vaccines. Because of the nature of COVID-19, the global pandemic, there is a much greater awareness and a lot more conversations happening around dinner tables about this. And there’s a lot more thirst for information about it. And that’s exactly what we’re going to meet as we roll out the vaccine around the country.

On Economy

We could cop an extra $44.5 billion on the interest bill. We’re heading for a $200 billion dollar deficit and there’s talk of structural change. Now, what does that mean? There will have to be expenditure review and cuts somewhere.

Photo © Lalit Shastri

At the moment the government is providing a very critical role in the economy and we’re going to continue to do that. The Treasurer made that pretty clear after last year’s Budget about our role going forward. On the issue of interest, the Reserve Bank governor has been pretty clear. Globally, let alone in Australia, interest rates are going to remain very low for quite a period of time. 

PM congratulates Indian Cricket Team

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated the Indian Cricket Team for their success in Australia.   

“We are all overjoyed at the success of the Indian Cricket Team in Australia. Their remarkable energy and passion was visible throughout. So was their stellar intent, remarkable grit and determination.

Congratulations to the team! Best wishes for your future endeavours”, the Prime Minister said.  

India created history and clinched the 4-test series with Rishabh Pant’s steller unbeaten knock of 89 not out on Tuesday 19 January 2021. With this victory, the Indian Cricket team became the first team to beat Australia in a Test match at Gabba in Brisbane in 33 years.

Fantastic win by India. Aussie remain down under.
To expect such a young side to achieve this is super cool. – Wing Commander Upendra Shastri (Retd)

Australia had won the first Test in Adelaide. India squared it with victory in Melbourne. The third Test in Sydney ended in a draw.

Modi Cabinet approves MoU with Australia for sustainable groundwater management

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi: Modi Cabinet has approved a a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Australia for capacity building, R&D and sustainable groundwater management.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the MoU signed between Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga rejuvenation, India and Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater use through village-level intervention (MARVI) PARTNERS, Australia in October, 2019.

The MoU has been signed to promote cooperation in surface and groundwater training, education and research to achieve water security for agricultural, urban, industrial and environmental purposes.

Australia fights COVID in Victoria, US targets China on Hong Kong, Japan views Africa as the frontier of the 21st Century

Newsroom24x7 Global Desk

On the dangerous situation the State of Victoria is now in with regard to COVID, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Neil Mitchell of 3AW in an interview Friday 17 July that there’s a Victorian problem and the Constitution requires the Victorian Government to deal with it and the Australian Government will give them every help and support.

Scott Morrison

The PM further said that over a thousand additional Defence Force Force personnel coming into Victoria, and that’s across a range of functions from supporting testing to Victoria Police control points; emergency vehicle crews quarantining compliance; but also importantly, there’s 70 ADF personnel going in the planning logistics.

Morrison observed: “Within the public service capabilities you’ve got people who are very good public health officers and they have a job to do. But when when it gets to this scale, it needs a different skill set, and this is what the Defence Forces can bring in.

The PM categorically stated that the quarantine issues are very significant. And that’s a reminder to every other state and territory that you can be a pretty much zero community transmission, which is where Victoria was at, and with a breakdown in quarantine, then that can quickly move through your community. And so that’s a warning to all other states and territories that particularly those hiding behind borders, that if you let go of your tracing and your social distancing and other disciplines, then the virus can move very quickly through your community.

Dispelling doubts that Victoria could cost thousands of lives, Morrison said one of the things that will mitigate against that is that a lot of effort has been put over the last four months in building up ICU and respirator capability. Going back to April, one us far less concerned today than one was then about the capability of the health systems to cope with a big surge in cases and presentations.

While underscoring that they would want to see what the impact of these lockdowns are, the PM said, the lockdown was regrettably necessary.

Morrison reassured saying Victoria will disproportionately benefit from the national measures being put in place. And the reason for that is they’re assessed based on the need and the impact of the virus on people’s businesses. And that is clearly going to be greater in Victoria than many other parts of the country.

Scott went on to present the positive side vis-a-vis employment by pointing out how the unemployment went up 7.4 per cent while the real rate of unemployment was much higher. In May it was at 13.9 per cent, what they call the effective rate of unemployment. Now, that fell to 11.3 per cent in June. There were 210,000 jobs that came back into the economy in June. Most of those were for young people, which were the most affected. That’s a positive sign which shows that when you’re moving in the right direction, the economy will come back, the jobs will come back. But the challenge here is to get yourself on top of the crisis.

USA

Over the past two weeks, the world has watched as the Chinese Communist Party smothers Hong Kong’s freedom. In 1984, China promised the United Kingdom and the Hong Kong people in front of the world that it would keep Hong Kong free and open and maintain its high degree of autonomy until the year 2047. With the draconian national security legislation that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong, which allows mainland China’s security services to operate with impunity in Hong Kong, China has broken that promise, as it has so many others. Statement by the US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo on President Trumps announcement on Hong Kong, 15 July 2020

Reference: Donald Trump, the US President, has responded and taken steps to end U.S. preferential treatment for Hong Kong, terminate the territory’s benefits with regard to U.S. export controls, and direct the initiation of steps to suspend the US extradition agreement with Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Autonomy Act will give the US Administration additional tools to promote accountability for those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedoms. The US President also has directed the Administration to place a special focus on the admission of Hong Kong residents as refugees based on humanitarian concerns, demonstrating the enduring U.S. commitment to stand with the oppressed.

The US action comes in the wake of Beijing’s actions and the July 1 enactment of the draconian national security Act that snatches away the autonomy of Hong Kong.

Africa

Africa is the largest frontier in the 21stcentury. However, the continent is also facing various challenges such as conflicts and poverty. In particular, the COVID-19 has revealed Africa’s vulnerability including in the field of health and medical sectors.

Africa

Through consultations among Co-organizers of Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), it is officially decided that TICAD8 to be held in 2022 will be hosted by the Republic of Tunisia. TICAD will take place in Africa for the second time after Kenya hosted one in 2016.

TICAD is gaining further significance as a multilateral international conference to address development issues in Africa, including in the area of health.

In light of the outcomes of TICAD7 held in Yokohama in August 2019, Japan has announced that it will continue to strongly support African-led development toward TICAD8.

Reference
Every meeting of TICAD is led by Japan, and co-organised by the United Nations, United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), the World Bank and the African Union Commission (AUC). In principle, invitations to attend TICAD are extended to all African heads of state and government, as well as international organisations, donor countries, private companies and civil society organizations. Until TICAD V, the summit-level meetings were held every five years in Japan. From 2016 onwards, the TICAD will be held every three years, hosted alternately in Africa and Japan. In response to the request from the African side, we have decided to hold TICAD VI in Africa (Kenya).

India and Australia are committed to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi/Canberra: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia jointly participated in an India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit on Thursday 4 June 2020 and committed to elevate the bilateral Strategic Partnership concluded in 2009 to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).


I. Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

The meeting between the two Prime Ministers took place in a cordial atmosphere and was highly productive. During the meeting, both Prime Ministers noted the progress in the relationship across many fields, as well as the importance of a globally coordinated response to COVID-19 and working to build a prosperous, open and stable post-COVID-19 world. Affirming their commitment to strengthening India-Australia ties for the long term, they committed to elevate the bilateral Strategic Partnership concluded in 2009 to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

The CSP is based on mutual understanding, trust, common interests and the shared values of democracy and rule of law. It reflects India and Australia’s strong commitment to practical global cooperation to address major challenges like COVID-19. It is in line with India’s increasing engagement in the Indo-Pacific region through her Indo-Pacific vision and Australia’s Indo-Pacific approach and its Pacific Step-Up for the South Pacific. Both countries share the vision of an open, free, rules-based Indo-Pacific region supported by inclusive global and regional institutions that promote prosperous, stable and sovereign states on the basis of shared interests. Under the CSP, both countries decided to work together in the areas of mutual cooperation as per the following:

II. Enhancing science, technology and research collaboration

India and Australia recognise the importance of global cooperation for saving lives and managing the economic impacts of COVID-19, and future global challenges. We will share the benefits of scientific and medical research and development, strengthen healthcare systems, and reflect on the recommendations of the independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international health response to COVID-19 to improve capacity for global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.

India and Australia have resolved to boost collaboration on science, technology and research to support their national COVID-19 responses. We have committed to a new phase of the Australia – India Strategic Research Fund to promote innovative solutions for responding to and treating COVID-19, as well as other jointly determined priorities, to be preceded by a one-off Special COVID-19 Collaboration Round in 2020.

India and Australia jointly decided to work cooperatively through multilateral, regional and plurilateral mechanisms to strengthen and diversify supply chains for critical health, technology and other goods and services. We will work together to strengthen international institutions to ensure they are inclusive and rules-based.

Both countries jointly decided to work together in the areas of digital economy, cyber security and critical and emerging technologies as identified by the Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber-Enabled Critical Technology Cooperation.

Australia conveyed that India could consider it as a stable, reliable and trusted supplier of high-quality mineral resources to India. Both sides jointly decided to diversify and expand the existing resources partnership. The MOU on cooperation in the field of mining and processing of Critical and Strategic minerals identifies specific areas where both sides will work together to meet the technological demands of the future economy. Both countries jointly decided to cooperate on new technologies for exploration and extraction of other minerals.

III. Maritime cooperation for an Open and Inclusive Indo-Pacific

Both countries share a view that many of the future challenges are likely to occur in, and emanate from, the maritime domain. The two countries have therefore agreed to boost cooperation in the maritime domain as encapsulated in our Joint Declaration on a Shared Vision for Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Our enhanced arrangements will facilitate deeper engagement between the two countries including maritime domain awareness, and expanded linkages between the maritime agencies of the two countries.

Both India and Australia have committed to work together with partners and relevant regional organisations across the Indo-Pacific, including ASEAN, to enhance capacity for sustainable management of marine resources and challenge in maritime domains. In this regard, Australia expressed support for India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) which will promote better coordination and cooperation among the countries in the region on maritime related issues.

Both sides agreed to share technologies and resources to support the health and sustainability of oceans and water resources, including through regional institutions. They also concurred to build on existing commitments to combat marine litter and single-use plastic waste, and target Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

IV. Defence Cooperation

Both sides agreed to continue to deepen and broaden defence cooperation by enhancing the scope and complexity of their military exercises and engagement activities to develop new ways to address shared security challenges. Both sides agreed to increase military inter-operability through defence exercises through their Arrangement concerning Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA). It was agreed that the Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperation in Defence Science and Technology to the MoU on Defence Cooperation provides a framework for growing collaboration between the defence science and technology research organisations of both countries.

V. Regional and Multilateral cooperation

Both India and Australia share a vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region to support the freedom of navigation, over-flight and peaceful and cooperative use of the seas by adherence of all nations to international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and peaceful resolution of disputes rather than through unilateral or coercive actions.

Both sides share a commitment to supporting a strong and resilient regional architecture, with ASEAN at its centre. Both countries agreed to continue to work with the East Asia Summit (EAS) and other ASEAN-led institutions; the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM Plus), Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to realise our long-term objectives for the region. Both sides committed to continue to work through plurilateral and trilateral mechanisms as mutually agreed.

Both sides have announced their commitment to continue to work together through various plurilateral mechanisms, including trilateral meetings with Japan, trilateral meetings with Indonesia and consultations on COVID-19 with Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, and the United States. They welcomed the inaugural Quad ministerial meeting with Japan and the United States in September 2019, and reaffirmed their commitment to ongoing Quad consultations.

Both sides have recognised the importance of the prosperity and security of the South Pacific and will exchange views on their respective approaches to the South Pacific region under Australia’s Pacific Step Up and India’s Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC), with a view to cooperate in the region.

Both sides have reiterated their support for continued bilateral civil nuclear cooperation and their commitment to further strengthen global non-proliferation. Australia expressed its strong support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

VI. Terrorism

Recognising that terrorism remains a threat to peace and stability in our region, both sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever. Consistent with resolutions of the United Nations and the 2015 G20 Statement on the Fight against Terrorism, both sides support a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, including by countering violent extremism, preventing radicalisation to terrorism, stemming recruitment, preventing the movement of terrorists including Foreign Terrorist Fighters, disruption of financial support to terrorists, countering incitement to commit terrorist acts and facilitating the investigation and prosecution of terrorist acts. Both sides reiterate our resolve to work with internet companies to strengthen transparency to prevent online terrorist activity consistent with the G20 Osaka Leaders agreement on Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism.

Both sides will also assess and address potential risks associated with virtual assets and new financial technologies that may be abused for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing and take steps to ensure that such virtual assets service providers are subject to Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing for Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations. Both sides called for early adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

VII. Economic cooperation: A More Prosperous Shared Future

The two sides committed to encourage expanded trade and investment flows to the benefit of both the economies. In view of the remarkable growth in the trading relationship between India and Australia, both sides decided to re-engage on a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement(CECA), while suitably considering earlier bilateral discussions, where a mutually agreed way forward can be found.

Both sides discussed the issue of taxation of offshore income of Indian firms through the use of the India-Australia Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and sought early resolution of the issue.

Both countries committed to work closely together on our approach to international economic issues through the G20 and in that context, Australia welcomed India’s hosting of the G20 in 2022.

Both sides share a common commitment to the rules-based multilateral trading system and committed to work together to protect and shape the rules that promote economic growth, development, trade liberalisation and open markets in accordance with the Preamble of the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO). This includes reforming and strengthening the WTO, while preserving its fundamental principles so that it continues to remain relevant to the needs of all WTO Members.

Both sides expressed their interest in ensuring that Australian businesses are aware of opportunities through India’s “Make in India” program and the Smart Cities initiatives, and that Indian companies are aware of investment projects in Australia.

Both countries also jointly decided to continue to raise awareness among Australian investors and Superannuation Funds of opportunities in India’s infrastructure sector under the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

India and Australia jointly decided to explore the possibility of launching the Indian RuPay Card in Australia.

VIII. Innovation & Entrepreneurship

In this context, both sides committed to continue fostering collaboration between entrepreneurs, developing innovative products and promoting start-ups and incubation centres. Both sides committed to enhance cooperation in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector and decided that major industries of both countries should endeavour to integrate the SME/MSMEs of the other country into their supply chains, thereby diversifying bilateral trade. Both countries jointly decided to take forward SME/MSME cooperation including through the Australia India Business Exchange program.

IX. Agriculture Cooperation and Water Resources Management

Agriculture is an important pillar of the Australian and Indian economies with shared challenges and climactic conditions. Recognising the long history of collaboration in agricultural research, education, development and capacity building, it was jointly decided to continue building on our mutually beneficial agriculture relationship including through exploring the development of a partnership on grains management and logistics to reduce post-harvest losses, rationalise costs and ensure farmer income is not affected by supply chain disruptions (particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic).

Both countries noted that on market access issues, some progress has been made and they demonstrated their strong commitment to continue the negotiations.

Water security is a critical challenge for both countries and it was jointly decided to deepen policy and technical cooperation on mutually agreed activities to improve water management and sustainable economic development through the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of Water Resources Management.

X. Education, Culture, Tourism and People-to-people ties

Education, research and skills are a central component of the relationship. Both sides noted they underpin the progress and growth trajectories of our nations, and the exchange of students and academics between our countries generates valuable people-to-people links. We agree to continue efforts to expand our partnership in these areas, including to deepen research collaboration. We will work together to support the development of education campuses in each other’s countries.

As India continues its ambitious skills reform agenda, we have concluded a new Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training to forge new bonds of cooperation in policy development, program delivery and information exchange.

Tourism

Building on the 2014 bilateral MOU on cooperation in the field of tourism, both sides jointly decided to renew the MOU in order to identify opportunities to strengthen, deepen and broaden cooperation in the travel, tourism and aviation sector.

Parliamentary Cooperation

Both sides noted the importance of inter-parliamentary interaction as a valuable component of their bilateral relations.

People to People Connections

The expanding linkages between our people are enriching all aspects of bilateral ties. The Indian diaspora in Australia is now the fastest-growing large diaspora. In recognition of the growing contribution of Indian-Australians to the bilateral relationship, we will continue to work to deepen diaspora and community-level contact.

Both countries agreed to hold a senior-level Dialogue to discuss India’s proposed draft Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement, which outlines ways to cooperate on the prevention of illegal migration, people smuggling and trafficking in human beings and is also designed to facilitate mobility of students, academics and researchers and migration for professional and economic reasons.

XI. Support in UN and international bodies

Reformed Multilateralism

Australia reiterated its support for India’s candidacy for permanent membership of a reformed UN Security Council (UNSC) and India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-22 term.

Australia welcomes the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s strategic partnership with India, and looks forward to continuing to work closely on building stronger ties between India and the IEA community.

Energy and Environment

India and Australia jointly decided to progress their Energy Dialogue, which will further cooperation in areas such as pumped hydro storage, cost-effective battery technologies, hydrogen and coal gasification, adoption of clean energy technology, fly ash management technologies, and solar forecasting and scheduling. Both countries committed to continue to collaborate on climate change, energy security and other issues of importance to the region and wider world, especially through the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). Australia is proud to be a founding member of both organisations.

XII. Public Administration and Governance

India and Australia are proud, diverse and multicultural democracies. Both nations have similar systems of governance founded on robust and accountable public institutions. In this regard, both sides committed to work together in the field of public administration to exchange knowledge in areas of mutual interest through an Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in the field of Public Administration and Governance Reforms.

Recalling the celebrations of his 150th anniversary, both leaders paid tribute to the lasting legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy of non-violence and harmony.

XIII. Implementation

To provide oversight of the CSP and to deepen economic and strategic cooperation into the future, India and Australia affirm their desire to increase the frequency of Prime Ministerial contact through reciprocal bilateral visits and annual meetings in the margins of international events.

To pursue CSP, our Foreign and Defence Ministers will meet in a ‘2+2’ format to discuss strategic issues at least every two years.

Both countries also jointly decided to continue their regular interactions under the Foreign Ministers Framework Dialogue (FMFD).

Both sides jointly decided to continue regular meetings of the annual Australia-India Joint Ministerial Commission to enhance trade and investment relations between the two countries.

India and Australia reiterated their commitment to enhance cooperation under the annual Australia-India ‘Energy Dialogue.’

Both countries also jointly decided to use the existing ‘Consular Dialogue’ Mechanism to address the entire gamut of consular matters.

Both sides jointly decided to enhance their partnership in the domain of education through the Australia-India Education Council.

The Virtual Summit is yet another milestone in furthering the longstanding, deep and cooperative ties between India and Australia. The list of the Joint declarations announced and MoUs/Arrangements signed, during the Virtual Summit is enclosed at the Annexure.

Hockey Junior Women: India hold Australia 1-1 in 3-Nations Tournament

Newsroom24x7 Network

Canberra (Australia):  A 52nd minute  penalty conversion by Gagandeep Kaur enabled India  hold Australia to a 1-1 draw in the  3-Nations Junior Women hockey  Tournament in Canberra on Thursday. 

The Australians took the lead through a field goal by Schonell Courtney in the 25th minute, but India found the equaliser after Gagandeep Kaur converted a Penalty Stroke in the 52nd minute. 

India started the first quarter on an aggressive note and got into terrific positions to find openings. The Indian strikers stuck to their plans and earned a Penalty Corner in the 10th minute. 
However, the Australian defense unit stood tall and ensured that the two teams stayed level. India continued to attack their opponent’s corner and won another Penalty Corner just before the break, but the Australians managed to keep India at bay and ended the quarter at 0-0.

The hosts  made a few more in-roads in the second quarter but the Indian defense foiled  their attacks.  However  Schonell Courtney found the back of the net in the 25th minute and put Australia ahead.
The Indians tried to fight back immediately, but the Australians ensured that the Indians don’t get a chance to level the score. The two teams played out a high-intensity game for the rest of the quarter as the two teams went into half-time with  the hosts  leading at 1-0.

Australia continued to be the aggressor in the third quarter. They earned a Penalty Corner right away, but the Indian defense valiantly denied their opponents a chance to go 2-0 up in the match. 
The visitors found a way to get into good angles, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. The Australians continued to dominate the rest of the quarter and ensured that they stayed in the lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Indians turned the tables in the fourth quarter. They earned a Penalty Corner, but the Australians managed to block out the shot .
However, India were awarded a Penalty Stroke in the 52nd minute and Gagandeep Kaur ensured that the Indian team level the score in the dying minutes of the match. 
The Indians rode on the momentum and earned a Penalty Corner in the final minute of the game. However, the Australian defense unit stood tall once again and made sure that the match ends in a 1-1 draw. 

The Indians will be in action again on Saturday,  taking on  New Zealand in their third match of the  tournament .

Today’s Top News

Newsroom24x7 Network

Table Tennis: India dominates; Malaysia women upset Australia on opening day

Newsroom24x7 Network

Cuttack: India, opened their campaign in team championships in style ,topping  their groups to qualify for the Super Eight stage in both sections of the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here today.

The domination of  the hosts  was such that they lost just two games—one by Sharath Kamal against Singapore’s and another by Ayhika Mukherjee against Chamathsara. But for this minor mishap the Indians sailed through.

The team management kept faith in the threesome of Sharath, Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai who did their job pretty much well to first beat Scotland 3-0 and then follow it up with a similar verdict against Singapore.

In women event, however, the coaches tried out the bench strength with different combinations in the two group matches. Manika Batra and Ayhika Mukherjee, who played against Sri Lanka posting a 3-0 triumph in the company of Archana Kamath, were rested for the match against South Africa. I

Instead, Madurika Patkar and Sutirtha Mukherjee were tried out with Archana. They didn’t disappoint as they posted yet another 3-0 victory over South Africa.

The chasm in the competing teams here could be seen and what Sharath said on the eve of the championships could come true as India looked well on course for a golden sweep in team and individual events.

No doubt, the Singaporeans have brought a young women team while England, just with experienced Samuel Walker, is the team to beat as they are likely to meet Indian men in the knockout stage.

If one were to look for an upset on the opening day, it came about in the women section when Malaysia downed Australia, the group C topper.

In a latest development, Uganda team and Guyana members have got their respective government’s nod and they would be sending them for participation in the individual events. According to a communication to TTFI from the two federations, Uganda will be sending five members while three from Guyana, who will compete in singles and doubles events which get underway from July 19 after the team finals.

Results (Team championships/Preliminary):

Women:

Group A: Singapore bt Scotland 3-0; Singapore bt Wales 3-0;

Group B: India bt Sri Lanka 3-0 (Manika Batra bt Bimandi Bandara 11-5, 11-4, 11-5; Archana Kamath bt Ishara Madurangi 11-5, 11-5, 12-10; Ayhika Mukherjee bt Chamathsara Fernando 11-3, 11-3, 8-11, 11-4); India bt South Africa 3-0 (Archana Kamath bt Danisha Patel 11-6, 11-2, 11-2; Madhurika Patkar bt Palesa Mtshoelibe 11-2, 11-5, 11-3; Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Simeen Mookrey 11-1, 11-4, 11-4)

Group C: Australia bt Cyprus 3-0; Malaysia bt Australia 3-1

Group D: Nigeria bt Bangladesh 3-0; England bt Nigeria 3-1.

Men:

Group A: England bt Cyprus 3-0; England bt Sri Lanka 3-0;

Group B: India bt Scotland 3-0 (G. Sathiyan bt Niall Cameron 11-4, 11-7, 11-8; A. Sharath Kamal bt Colin Dalgleish 11-2, 11-6, 11-9; Harmeet Desai bt Dylan Curry 11-2, 11-6, 11-1); India bt Singapore 3-0 (G. Sathiyan bt Yu En Koen Pang 11-7, 11-9, 11-8; A. Sharath Kamal bt Zheyu Clarence Chew 8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9; Harmeet Desai bt Shao Han Josh 11-4, 11-7, 11-6).

Group C: Nigeria bt Bangladesh 3-0.

Group D: Australia bt Wales 3-0; Australia bt South Africa 3-0.

HSB

Close Watch: Indian tax payers & pensioners draw a blank; Australia offers more tax relief to hard-working Australians

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi/Canberra: Hard working Indians who honestly pay their taxes were looking forward to tax exemptions, raising of the taxable income slab and other forms of relief but were disappointed when nothing of this was announced by in the Budget proposals presented before Parliament on Friday, 5 jULY 2019 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

In sharp contrast, More than 10 million Australians will start to receive immediate tax relief from next week following the passage of Legislation through the Parliament this past Thursday, 4 July 2019 .

The Coalition Government in Australia has delivered on its promise, as outlined in this year’s Budget, to build a better tax system and provide more tax relief to hard-working Australians.

As a result, low and middle income earners will keep more of what they earn and have more money in their pockets. This will ultimately boost household consumption, which will be good for the overall economy.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief so Working Australians Keep More of Their Money) Bill 2019 will deliver a further $158 billion in tax relief, building on the already legislated Personal Income Tax Plan announced in the 2018-19 Budget.

Starting from next week, low and middle income earners with an income up to $126,000 will receive up to $1,080, or $2,160 for dual income couples, with the increased tax relief to apply from the 2018-19 income year.

The Bill has also locked in the benefits of low and middle income tax relief by increasing the top threshold of the 19 cents in the dollar tax bracket from $41,000 to $45,000 and by increasing the low income tax offset from $645 to $700 in 2022-23.

In combination with the legislated removal of the 37 per cent tax bracket in 2024-25, the Government is delivering structural reform to the tax system by reducing the 32.5 cents in the dollar tax rate to 30 cents in the dollar.

Together, these tax relief measures will create a flatter and better tax system that will improve incentives for hard-working Australians and ensure that 94 per cent of Australians will face a marginal tax rate no higher than 30 cents in the dollar in 2024-25. Once our plan is fully implemented, around 13.3 million taxpayers will pay lower taxes.

Australians voiced their loud and clear support for our comprehensive tax package at the election. They supported a tax system that rewards aspiration and encourages effort, and today we have delivered it.

Lower taxes are part of the Australian Coalition Government’s plan for a stronger economy.

2019 Australian Federal Election: Scott Morrison leads Liberal-national coalition to victory

Newsroom24x7 Network

Canberra: In the closely contested Australian election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who went to the poll on the plank of tax cuts and strengthening the country’s economy, has miraculously led the Liberal-National coalition to victory against the Australian Labour Party that has conceded defeat.

“I have always believed in miracles” Morrison said in Sydney. Morrison was sworn in as Australia’s 30th Prime Minister on 24 August 2018. He has represented the electorate of Cook in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire since 2007.

The exit polls had predicted victory for the opposition Labour party .

Australian Electoral Commission projection (late on Saturday). The fonal result will be announced in the coming days.

 

Hockey:   Australia defeat India 5-2 for their second successive  win

 

Harpal Singh Bedi

 

Indian Men’s Hockey team before their second match against Australia

New Delhi:   India suffered their second successive defeat as they lost to host Australia 2-5 in their fifth and final match of the tour at the Perth Hockey Stadium on Friday.

India had lost to Australia 0-4 in their previous fixture.

 For Australia’s Trent Mitton(11’, 24’), Flynn Ogilvie (3’), Blake Govers (28’) and Tim Brand (43’) were  the goal scorers . While Nilakanta Sharma (12’) and Rupinderpal Singh (53’) reduced the margin for the visitors.

 

India had the opening chance in the match, but it was saved by Eddie Ockenden, while on the counter Australian efforts were foiled by goalkeeper Krishan Pathak

Australia   took the lead in  the 3rd minute as Flynn Ogilvie managed to deflect the ball home   Five minutes later  Indians earned a penalty corner , but the resulting execution was wasted as Nilakanta Sharma could not trap the ball properly.

The hosts launched a blistering counter attack but  Rupinderpal  frustrated  the move. Australia earned their first Penalty Corner in the 10th minute, but the shot was blocked by the onrushing defenders.

However, a minute later Australians took advantage of defensive lapse and Trent Mitton found himself in space on the left flank and fired the ball past Pathak to make it 2-0.

 Indians were quick to respond as Gursahibjit played a pass into the circle from the left flank, and midfielder Nilakanta Sharma managed deflected the ball into the cave (1-2) in  12th minute.

 The Indian had a chance to equalize in the 19th minute which was muffed as Mandeep Singh’s deflection went over the bar.  The visitors maintained possession in the second quarter and had another chance in the 23rd minute when Vivek Sagar Prasad played a quick ball into the circle, but Mandeep could not collect it.

 In the ensuing counter Trent Mitton found himself in a  position on the right side of the striking circle as Joshua Simmonds  relayed a measured  pass to him, and Mitton  sent  the ball past PR Sreejesh into the back of the net to make it 3-1 after 24 minutes.

In the 29th minute, Gurinder Singh was y fined for a push inside the 16-yard line by the umpire, and the resulting Penalty Corner saw Blake Govers fire a shot past PR Sreejesh’s left side into the back of the net to make it 4-1 at the half-time break.

The third quarter saw Australia maintain possession but were not able to create any opportunities in the opening few minutes. The 40th minute saw Blake Govers run down the right flank beating a few defenders but could not keep his shot on target, while on the other end India struggled to stitch passes together.

 In the 43rd minute, Armaan Qureshi had a glorious chance to score India’s second goal but Johan Durst made a fine save on his left side, and it was Australia who managed to score on the counter as Tim Brand pushed the ball past Pathak to make it 5-1 with one quarter to play.

In the last quarter the visitors tried to create chances but the Australian defence made sure that they did not give them space in the circle. It was only in the 53rd minute that India managed to score their second goal as Rupinderpal Singh converted a Penalty Corner to make it 2-5

Hockey: India lose 0-4 to World No. 2 Australia

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: India caved in under pressure as they conceded two goals in each half to go down 0-4 to Australia in their hockey match in Perth on Wednesday.

After remaining unbeaten in their first three matches on the Australian Tour the Indians slumped to a heavy defeat a in their fourth match.

Blake Govers (15’, 60’) and Jeremy Hayward (20’, 59’), both scored a brace each to help the World No. 2 team in defeating the visitors.

The visitors opened well pressing their rivals higher up the field, but suffered two successive blows as they ended up conceding twice in five minutes.

Indians earned an early Penalty Corner in the 5th minute, but Harmanpreet ’s shot was successfully blocked by the first rusher. In the 12th minute, Harmanpreet was in action again as he played a one-two with Nilakanta Sharma on the right flank, who relayed -ball back to the defender, but Harmanpreet could not get to the ball quickly enough as it rolled past him into touch.

The hosts were awarded their first penalty corner in the 15th minute which led to stroke. Blake Govers stepped up to take the set-piece and did not make a mistake as he hit the ball past PR Sreejesh into the top-left corner to give his side a 1-0 lead.

India started the second quarter in attacking style as Birendra Lakra played a hard-hit ball into the centre of the circle, but Captain Eddie Ockenden was present to deflect it behind to avoid a scare.

The visitors conceded another penalty corner five minutes later and Jeremy Hayward made no mistake in converting it to make 2-0 for the hosts.

Struggling to keep possession, India created few good openings and in the 27th A minute they earned their fifth Penalty Corner through Sumit Kumar, but Goalkeeper Johan Durst made a brilliant double-save from Harmanpreet ’s shots to deny the visitors.

In the action-packed third quarter India looked to find a way back into the match. However, Australia’s defenders led by their Captain, made sure that the visitors did not get a sneak.

The visitors started the last quarter well and Captain Manpreet created the first chance as he ran into the striking circle and shot at goal, but Australia’s Durst made a diving stop on his left side to deny the visitors.

The 51st minute saw India win a penalty corner as Akashdeep Singh’s shot was saved by the Goalkeeper but the rebound was too high. Harmanpreet Singh’s resulting execution was saved by the Goalkeeper well.

India tried to find a goal in the closing stages, and replaced their Goalkeeper with an outfield player. The move resulted in Australia scoring two goals in the last two minutes, the first coming off a Penalty Corner in the 59th minute which was scored by Jeremy Hayward, while the second came in the last minute as Blake Govers scored through a fierce shot off the reverse stick to make it a 4-0.

Hockey: India draw 1-1 against Australia ‘A’

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Trailing 0-1 till 56th minute, India managed to hold Australia ‘A’ to a 1-1 thanks to late equalizer by drag flicker Harmanpreet in a well-contested hockey match in Perth on Monday.

Earlier India had beaten Western Australia Thundersticks 2-0 and Australia ‘A’ 3-0 win.

Two good saves in the initially minutes of the first quarter by goalkeeper Krishan Pathak and Gurinder Singh defended back-to-back Penalty corners .

The saves somewhat made up for an average start by the visitors as Australia ‘A’ attack put the team under pressure right from the start.

While the first quarter ended in a stalemate, the visitors suffered a setback in the 21st minute when Kiran Arunasalam struck a fine field goal for Australia ‘A’.

India’s defence, on the other hand, was able to contain the home team from taking a further lead and also came up with commendable penalty corner defending to deny Australia ‘A’ from converting the two PCs they were awarded in the second and third quarter respectively.

It was in Harmanpreet Singh’s second attempt in the 56th minute that he converted a well-timed, powerful dragflick to equalise the score to 1-1. His previous attempt only a minute earlier was well-saved by Australian defender.

However, not being able to convert the chances created in the striking circle and missing out on three PCs dented India’s fightback.

On Wednesday, India will take on the Australian National side in what promises to be yet another exciting game and if India wish to emerge on top

“On Wednesday we will need to start much better and play well in all four quarters. In tomorrow’s practice session we will be working on our connections especially in the midfield,” stated Chief Coach Graham Reid.

He said the team will need to start much better and keep the pressure on their opponents in all four quarters .

” Today we had a poor start in the first ten minutes of the game which was a complete opposite to how we played on Friday,” Reid said .

“We slowly got back into the game in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters and also created enough opportunities to win the game,” he added.

Australia will go for tough laws to protect citizens from live-streaming of violent crimes

Newsroom24x7 Network

Canberra: The Morrison Government will legislate tough new laws to prevent the weaponising of social media platforms and to protect Australians from the live-streaming of violent crimes, such as the Christchurch terror attack.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new legislation would be introduced into Parliament next week as part of the action the Government was taking to keep Australians safe in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attacks.

“Big social media companies have a responsibility to take every possible action to ensure their technology products are not exploited by murderous terrorists,” the Prime Minister said.

“It should not just be a matter of just doing the right thing. It should be the law. And that is what my Government will be doing next week to force social media companies to get their act together and work with law enforcement and intelligence agencies to defuse the threat their technologies can present to the safety of Australians.

“This is about keeping Australians safe by forcing social media companies to step up and do what the community expects of them to stop terrorists and criminals spreading their hate.

“A new taskforce bringing Government and social media companies together will also ensure we are all working together to deny terrorists the opportunity to use social media as part of their hatred and violence.

“These responses will form the basis of a model approach that Australia can take to the G20 to get our global partners on board to bring social media companies into our collective net of responsibility and accountability. We are already working to this end with our G20 and five eyes partners, including New Zealand.”

The Attorney-General Christian Porter said, “the Criminal Code Amendment (Unlawful Showing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Bill 2019 will include new offences with penalties of up 10 per cent of a company’s annual turnover and potential prison sentences for executives of social media companies who fail to act to remove abhorrent violent material from their platforms.”

“The Morrison Government will always act to keep Australians safe, and that includes keeping Australians safe online.”

Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield said that “social media companies, like Facebook, which met with the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, myself and Minister Dutton earlier this week did not present any immediate solutions to the issues arising out of the horror that occurred in Christchurch.”

“We will not allow social media platforms to be weaponised by terrorists and violent extremists who seek to harm and kill and nor would we allow a situation that a young Australian child could log onto social media and watch a mass murder take place.”

The Attorney-General said the amendments would be modelled on existing offences in the Criminal Code which require platforms to notify police if their service is being used to access child pornography.

“Mainstream media that broadcast such material would be putting their licence at risk and there is no reason why social media platforms should be treated any differently,” the Attorney-General said.

“These companies have a social responsibility and they have clearly failed to meet that responsibility in their response to Christchurch. The Morrison Government will force action from these companies through these new laws.”

The Bill will include new provisions to deal with the showing of “abhorrent violent material” which is material produced by a perpetrator, and which plays or livestreams the very worst types of offences. It will capture the playing or streaming of terrorism, murder, attempted murder, torture, rape and kidnapping on social media.

It will include two new sets of offences:

It will be a criminal offence for social media platforms not to remove abhorrent violent material expeditiously. This will be punishable by 3 years’ imprisonment or fines that can reach up to 10% of the platform’s annual turnover.
Platforms anywhere in the world must notify the AFP if they become aware their service is streaming abhorrent violent conduct that is happening in Australia. A failure to do this will be punishable by fines of up to $168,000 for an individual or $840,000 for a corporation.
The e-Safety Commissioner will be given the power to issue notices that bring this type of material to the attention of the social media companies. As soon as they receive a notice, they will be deemed to be aware of the material, meaning the clock starts ticking for the platform to remove the material or face extremely serious criminal penalties.

“The Bill will not impact the ability of news media to report on events which are in the public interest,” Minister Fifield said.

“Australia’s mainstream media already adopt a sensible approach to broadcasting material which can cause harm to individuals, as is required under their licensing arrangements.”

“The focus of this Bill is to put responsibility back on the social media giants to prevent their platforms being co-opted by terrorists, criminals and violent extremists,” the Attorney-General said.

India Economic Strategy: Ambitious plan to transform Australia’s economic partnership with India

Newsroom24x7 Network

The India Economic Strategy is an ambitious plan to transform Australia’s economic partnership with India out to 2035.

Over the next 20 years, as India grows and develops more rapidly, there will be increasing demand in India for Australia’s goods and services – including in education, agriculture, energy, resources, tourism, healthcare, financial services, infrastructure, science and innovation, and sport.

Turnbull Government has welcome d the release of India Economic Strategy to 2035

Navigating from Potential to Delivery by Mr Peter Varghese AO, Chancellor of the University of Queensland and former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Opportunity to grow together

The Government commissioned this report to look beyond the immediate horizon and provide a roadmap for unlocking the opportunities that will help India and Australia grow together. It is about cementing India as a priority economic partner.

Australia has enjoyed 27 years of consecutive annual economic growth, but we must continue to seek out new markets and opportunity. An important part of the Government’s agenda is to ensure Australian businesses thrive in the world to create the jobs at home for the decades ahead.

The report judges that no single market over the next 20 years will offer more growth opportunities for Australia than India. By 2035, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country. It is poised to become the third largest economy, after China and the United States.

India’s scale alone encourages ambition, but it is the complementarities between our two economies that will determine our success. The foundations for an enhanced economic partnership with India are strong, underpinned by people-to-people ties and shared values.

The report identifies ten sectors where Australia’s competitive advantages match India’s needs, and ten states in India where we should focus efforts. Key recommendations for these sectors and markets are detailed in the report.

The Government will consider its response to Mr Varghese’s report following consultation with Australian and Indian stakeholders.

The Foreign Policy White Paper places India in the front rank of Australia’s international partnerships, recognising our converging strategic interests. Implementation of the report’s findings will give similar priority to the economic dimension of our relationship

New Superwog series to screen later this year

Newsroom24x7 Network

Melbourne: The ABC and Screen Australia have announced the commencement of production this week in Melbourne on Superwog, a new comedy series to be distributed on ABC COMEDY and YouTube.

The Superwog pilot has been funded by Screen Australia and YouTube as part of the Skip Ahead initiative. It was the highest trending YouTube video in Australia last year, with over 3.4 million views (90% Australian based) and the most watched piece of content in the country in 2017.

The full series will continue from The Superwog pilot with six brand new half-hour episodes premiering weekly on Superwog YouTube channel later this year. It will be aired during the same week on ABC COMEDY and ABC iview. Produced by Princess Pictures, in association with the ABC, with principal production investment from Screen Australia, and financed with support from Film Victoria and YouTube, the project will forge new ground, making it the first ever full series collaboration between the ABC and YouTube, according to a Screen Australia statement.

Created by and starring YouTube sensations Theodore and Nathan Saidden, Superwog – the inspired-by-real-life tale of a flawed teenager and his crazed family in heartland suburbia – is also the first original scripted series to air on ABC COMEDY.

Developed over eight years by the comedy duo, the Superwog YouTube channel has garnered an extraordinary 180+ million YouTube views and almost 900k subscribers.

The Superwog series follows the often misunderstood, dysfunctional Superwog family as they struggle to navigate life in the Australian suburbs. Superwog is a girls/fast food-obsessed teenager enrolled in a prestigious private school. His misadventures with best friend Johnny often cause Superwog’s primitive, highly-strung father extreme stress as he battles to keep his delusional but fiercely loyal wife happy.

ABC Head of Comedy Rick Kalowski said: “We’re so happy to bring Superwog to ABC, to be in first time business with YouTube, and for this to be our first scripted original for ABC COMEDY. Superwog’s Screen Australia/YouTube Skip Ahead Pilot was one of the funniest half hours I’d ever seen, and the full series is a cracking addition to our unrivalled comedy offering. ABC is serious about comedy, and about working with incredible Australian online comedy talents like Theo and Nathan Saidden to bring them to new audiences here and around the world.”

Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia said: “The viral success of Superwog across their YouTube channel, boosted recently by their Skip Ahead pilot is simply staggering. To see them forge forward into this half hour series with YouTube and ABC COMEDY is an incredible opportunity for the Saidden brothers, as well as for both platforms exploring this innovative collaboration and release strategy.”

Head of YouTube Partnerships, Australia and New Zealand, Ed Miles, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Superwog in partnership with Screen Australia and the ABC, as they take this exciting step into creating narrative content. The Australian YouTube creator ecosystem is incredibly strong and it’s fantastic to see the ABC collaborate with creators to tell unique, local stories and embrace a multi-platform strategy to reach and engage audiences on YouTube as well as broadcast TV.”

Film Victoria CEO, Caroline Pitcher said “Edgy, irreverent and hilarious, Superwog has been a game changer in the online space and Melbourne’s Princess Pictures team have read this consumer popularity superbly. Congratulations to the Superwog and Princess Pictures team who will produce the entire long form series in Victoria.”


 

Australia Today: $3.75 billion hit to retirees and pensioners

Newsroom24x7 Network

Canberra: Labor’s bungled and damaging retiree tax just gets worse, with new data showing the proposal would rip $3.75 billion out of 2.6 million APRA-regulated superannuation member accounts, including those held by pensioners despite Labor’s so-called ‘pensioner guarantee’.

Labor’s proposal does not exempt pensioners whose APRA-regulated super funds are affected. These pensioners will be hit even if they were on the pension before 28 March 2018.

Australian Taxation Office data shows that most APRA-regulated funds (2,013 of 2,603 funds) received franking credit refunds in 2015-16 worth over $300 million.

This means that Labor’s policy would deny around 2.6 million member accounts around $300 million in retirement savings each and every year.

Further, these lost savings can’t then generate returns year on year meaning the cost to retirees is even higher. For example, APRA data shows superannuation funds have generated an average return of 3.5 per cent over the last 10 years. If the rate of return is the same over the ten years Labor has costed its policy then the cost in retirement savings is $3.75 billion over this ten year period.

When it comes to Labor and tax, Australians can be assured that the real impacts are always worse than they are willing to admit and that under Labor Australians will always pay more.

Labor’s proposal is an old fashioned Labor tax sledgehammer targeted at pensioners and retirees to grab as much tax as possible because they can’t live within their means and control their spending. It’s a tax on low and middle income Australians and their future retirement nest eggs.

 

SANJHI AWAAZ: Promoting Punjabiat in Australia

Lalit Shastri 

SANJHI AWAAZ Radio is an online Punjabi radio station headquartered in Melbourne (Australia). This top radio station has listeners from all age groups of the Punjabi and Hindi, speaking communities in Victoria – the most densely populated state in Southeastern Australia. The listeners and avid followers of Sanjhi Awaaj are also spread across India and other parts of the world.

Shama Bhangu

Radio host Shama Bhangu, now a household name in the Punjabi community in Melbourne, is the architect, brain and force behind SANJHI AWAAZ. She launched the radio station six years ago to bring home to her listeners in Melbourne the fragrance, vibrant colours and life infusing music of the most vibrant of cultures worldwide that makes not just those from Punjab but every Indian feel so proud. It will not be an exaggeration to say that Shama is a true ambassador of Punjab in Australia.

Shama has shaped her dream of starting a radio station in melbourne, where she resides since 1983, into reality with sheer grit and determination. Her full-time 8 to 5 job did not leave much room to weave the warp and weft or put in place all that was initially required to run a radio station. But neither work pressure nor dearth of adequate resources could dampen her spirit.

Shama has a special word of praise for Gurdeep Singh for the technical support he has continued to extend for running the radio station from day one. In fact, it was together with Gurdeep that she started Sanjhi Awaaj, Shama told Newsroom24x7.

There was another radio Station – an AM radio station, which was on air 24×7 that prompted them to go live and since last one year there has been no looking back, Shama said and went on to share her dream saying she is determined and wants to start her own television channel that would focus on news as well as entertainment.

It wasn’t that easy when I started (the radio station) once a week every sunday. What began as a 2-hour, 8 – 10 pm slot once a week, became a 24×7 channel last year, Shama said exuding plenty of confidence. As a presenter, she has to come up with something interesting for the listeners every Monday for the 8 to 10.30 am slot. For this she picks up the subject revolving around social issues by talking to team members and interacting with the listeners and people.

Shama feels the strong relationship that she has built with her listeners. “When we are on air, we get a lot of interaction from the listeners from India, Middle-east, United Kingdon, the USA and Canada’ she said.

Sanjhi Awaaj uses the social media, including facebook and instagram to the hilt to reach out to the listeners.

The listners who love to remain glued to this radio staion describe it as Melbourne’s #1 Radio. The Sunday evening programme “Hello Zindagi” and the hourly slot of “Punjabi top ten songs” are very popular with the listeners.

Sanjhi Awaaj is also a trailblazer with the Virasat International Punjabi Film Festival & Awards a regular annual event aimed at promoting Punjabi films and filmmakers.

Right to marry in Australia will no longer be determined by sex or gender

Newsroom24x7 Network

Canberra: The Parliament of Australia today (7 December, 2017) passed legislation providing marriage equality in Australia.

This is being described as a truly historic moment which has been delivered by the Turnbull Government. the legislation on marriage equality was an election commitment to give all Australians an opportunity to have their say. With the passage of the legislation, the Turnbull Government has delivered on its promise.

The right to marry in Australia will no longer be determined by sex or gender. Marriage will now be defined in the Marriage Act 1961 as the ‘union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life’. Same-sex couples now have the same rights under the Marriage Act as all other couples.

The historic reform will commence on Saturday 9 December 2017

As from Saturday, same-sex couples will be able to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage to commence the one month minimum notice period required before the solemnisation of marriages under the Marriage Act.

Under the new laws, ministers of religion and religious marriage celebrants will be able to act in accordance with their religious beliefs about marriage.

Religious bodies will be able to act in accordance with their doctrines, tenets and beliefs in providing facilities, goods and services in connection with marriage.

The forms and other information will be available following the proclamation of the bill at http://www.ag.gov.au/marriageforms and http://www.ag.gov.au/marriageequality.

Australian Government scholarships for 52 Indian students

Newsroom24x7 Network

Ms Harinder Sidhu

New Delhi: The Australian High Commissioner to India, Ms Harinder Sidhu, today announced that 52 Indian students will be offered the Australian Government’s prestigious Australia Awards-Endeavour scholarships and Fellowships for 2018.

Three Australians will also undertake learning opportunities in India as part of these awards, Ms Sidhu further announced and congratulated the successful applicants. “They have been selected on the basis of their potential to build educational, research and professional links between Australia and India,” said said adding “These awardees will over time become the new generation of global leaders.”

The awardees will study at Australia’s top research universities in fields that include medical science, law and public health, mechanical engineering and criminology.

“The Australia Awards-Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships will forge understanding and strong networks between Indian and Australian scholars. These links will continue long after the scholars have returned to India,” Ms Sidhu said.

Each year, the Australian Government offers Australia Awards-Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships to high achieving students, researchers and professionals from around the world to study in Australia’s world-class education institutions or undertake a professional development program.

The scholarships are internationally-competitive and merit-based. These scholarships are implemented by the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training.

Applications for the 2019 Endeavour Scholarship and Fellowship round open in April 2018.

Australia-Peru agreement to generate jobs and growth

Newsroom24x7 Network

Australian and Peruvian businesses, farmers and families now would be the big winners. The equation is simple: more trade means more exports; more exports means more jobs, higher wages and better incomes.

Canberra: Australia and Peru have finalised a comprehensive trade agreement that will generate exports, income and jobs.

The conclusion of the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) creates new opportunities for Australian exporters in one of the fastest growing economies and regions in the world.

PAFTA delivers huge wins for Australian businesses with market access outcomes that go well beyond the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.

Australian farmers, effectively shut out of the market until now, will have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.

PAFTA will eliminate 99 per cent of tariffs that Australian exporters face into Peru.

Sugar, dairy, rice and sorghum farmers will enjoy historic market access opportunities.

Australia’s sugar market access is more than any other sugar exporting country has achieved in the last twenty years and equivalent to roughly 30 per cent of Peru’s sugar imports.

Peruvian supermarkets are already asking about getting Aussie beef on their shelves – this agreement will help that happen sooner.

There will be immediate duty free access for Australian sheep meat, most wine and most horticulture products including almonds, kangaroo meat and wheat.

Australia has secured the best services commitments Peru has ever offered.

Peru will recognise Australian degrees, helping Australian universities attract more Peruvian students to study in Australia.

This is fastest trade agreement Australia has ever concluded after negotiations were launched in May earlier this year.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the time of signing of the Trade agreement with Peru

PRIME MINISTER: This is a great outcome, it is a great Free Trade Agreement, it underlines the commitment that President Kuczynski and I, and our governments have to free trade and open markets.

We know that is what delivers more investment, more entrepreneurship, more jobs, is what is driving, what we need to drive the global economy further to deliver greater opportunities for our peoples.

Now already there are 90 Australian companies operating in Peru, $5billion of investment. This agreement will create exciting new opportunities for both our countries. Our businesses, farmers and families will enjoy tangible benefits; more jobs, higher wages, better incomes, more affordable products.

Peru is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, as befits a nation led by one of the world’s leading economists, so it’s quite appropriate, with an average annual GDP growth of 5.9 per cent over the last ten years. It’s got an economy worth around annually $189 billion and a population of 31 million.

We have a lot in common, we’re two of the few countries to experience uninterrupted economic growth for over a decade – 17 years for Peru, 26 for Australia. And as I said at the outset we have a shared commitment to free trade and open markets.

We know that protectionism is not the solution to getting out of the low growth trap, which some people have argued around the world. Protectionism is actually like digging a hole and keep on digging it deeper and deeper, it’s self-defeating.

We’ve learnt the lessons of history – all of us should have, we know that this is an indication of the opportunities we can deliver through free trade, just as we’re working together on the TPP 11, which of course, you remember Mr President we started discussing at APEC in Peru.