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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian authorities on Friday cordoned off areas in several parks in Sydney after the discovery of asbestos in mulch, while schools began precautionary testing as the government scrambled to remove the toxic material from public spaces. About 700 students at a public school in Sydney's southwest will be relocated to another school for several weeks after finding asbestos on campus. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day event, which usually draws tens of thousands of revellers, scheduled for Sunday was cancelled after traces of asbestos were found around the Victoria Park venue. The New South Wales state government on Thursday set up a taskforce to provide more resources and staff to help support the Environment Protection Authority's investigations. The complex, criminal investigation involves multiple lines of enquiry," New South Wales Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said in a statement.
Persons: Penny Sharpe, Sharpe, Renju Jose, Jamie Freed Organizations: SYDNEY, Sydney City Council, Sydney Gay, Mardi, Sunday, Protection, Environment Protection Authority, Wales Environment Locations: Sydney, Sydney's, Victoria, New South Wales, New, Wales
(Reuters) -Utility firm Hawaiian Electric said on Tuesday it had begun rolling outages on Hawaii Island due to the unavailability and reduced output from several large generators. The Honolulu-based power company said its largest generator, Hamakua Energy, unexpectedly tripped offline late Tuesday afternoon and Puna Geothermal Venture was operating at a reduced capacity. Hawaiian Electric added one of its combustion turbines had tripped offline on Tuesday evening on the island, which contains the towns of Hilo and Kona. 5, Keahole CT-5, and Puna Steam Plant also are unavailable due to planned annual maintenance or repairs. Hawaiian Electric said the timing and extent of the outages would depend on the amount of demand on the system and the availability of generators.
Persons: Keahole, Gursimran Kaur, Brijesh Patel, Janane Venkatraman, Jamie Freed Organizations: Reuters, Electric, Energy, Geothermal Venture, Puna Steam Locations: Hawaii, Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Puna, Maui, Bengaluru
The motion, moved by independent lawmaker Andrew Wilkie, was passed on Wednesday with 86 votes in favour and 42 against after it was supported by the Labor government. "(The motion) will send a powerful political signal to the British government and to the U.S. government," Wilkie told parliament ahead of the vote. Assange's supporters say he has been victimised because he exposed U.S. wrongdoing and potential crimes, including in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Washington says the release of the secret documents put lives in danger. Australia's Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Assange's extradition was raised in a meeting with his U.S. counterpart Merrick Garland in Washington last month.
Persons: Renju Jose SYDNEY, Anthony Albanese, Julian Assange, Andrew Wilkie, Wilkie, Assange, Albanese, Mark Dreyfus, Merrick Garland, Dreyfus, Renju Jose, Jamie Freed Organizations: Australia's, WikiLeaks, London's, Labor, ., Britain, Australian Broadcasting Corp, U.S Locations: Australia, United States, Australian, Britain, Afghanistan, Iraq, Washington, Sydney
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Israeli military said on Monday it had conducted a "series of strikes" on southern Gaza that have now "concluded," without providing further details. Before previous assaults on Gaza cities, Israel's military has ordered civilians to leave without preparing any specific evacuation plan. Aid agencies say an assault on Rafah in the southern part of Gaza would be catastrophic. It is the last relatively safe place in an enclave devastated by Israel's military offensive. War in Israel and Gaza View All 206 Images(Reporting by Emily Rose, Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Jamie Freed and Kim Coghill)
Persons: Emily Rose, Nidal, Jamie Freed, Kim Coghill Organizations: Local Locations: JERUSALEM, Gaza, Rafah, Israel
Kim made the comments during a visit to the defence ministry on Thursday, rallying soldiers to uphold the ideology of the ruling Workers' Party and defend the country with their lives, KCNA news agency reported. "If enemies try to use force against our country, we will make the bold decision to change history and not hesitate to use all our super power to wipe them out," KCNA quoted him as saying. Kim repeated his vow to never hold dialogue or negotiations with South Korea, which he said was his country's "enemy No. 1," and said the policy of powerful military readiness was the only way to ensure peace and security for North Korea, KCNA said. North Korea has marked the foundation of its military on Feb. 8 and last year held a large military parade at midnight showcasing its largest intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Persons: Jack Kim SEOUL, Kim Jong Un, Kim, KCNA, Ae, Jack Kim, Chris Reese, Jamie Freed Organizations: Workers ' Party Locations: South Korea, North Korea, Seoul, Korea
TOKYO (Reuters) - A labour union representing air traffic controllers in Japan has called for a "significant increase" in staff to improve the safety of operations at airports in the wake of a deadly crash at Tokyo's Haneda airport last month. "We strongly urge the realisation of a significant increase in the number of air traffic controllers," Masato Yamazaki said in the statement, adding that speculation about the cause of the crash risked putting mental strains on controllers. He said repeated staffing requests to the government, which directly employs air traffic controllers in Japan, have been only partially approved in recent years despite increased workload on controllers. Other countries including the United States and France are grappling with air traffic control staff shortages that airlines have argued pose risks to aviation safety. In 2019, each air traffic control operator in Japan handled nearly 7000 flights, up from around 4,600 in 2004, according to the ministry's records.
Persons: Masato Yamazaki, Yamazaki, Nobuhiro Kubo, John Geddie, Jamie Freed Organizations: Japan Airlines, JAL, Coast Guard, Airbus, Authorities Locations: TOKYO, Japan, Haneda, United States, France
JAKARTA (Reuters) - New Zealand has called for the immediate release of Kiwi pilot Phillip Mehrtens, a year after he was taken hostage by rebels in Indonesia's Papua region, its foreign minister said on Monday. His continued detention serves the interests of no one," New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement. The New Zealand foreign minister said a range of government agencies continued to work extensively with their Indonesian counterparts to secure Mehrtens' release. The separatist group has released video of Mehrtens several times, asking the United Nations to mediate talks towards Papua's independence. In one of the videos, he was seen holding the banned Morning Star flag and surrounded by Papuan fighters.
Persons: Phillip Mehrtens, Egianus Kogoya, Mehrtens, Phillip, Winston Peters, Sebby Sambom, Ananda Teresia, Kate Lamb, Jamie Freed Organizations: Kiwi, West Papua National Liberation Army, New Zealand Foreign, United Nations, New Zealand, United, Star Locations: JAKARTA, New Zealand, Indonesia's Papua, Nduga, Papua, Papua New Guinea, United Nations
(Reuters) - Russian air defence systems destroyed or intercepted 21 Ukraine-launched drones over the Crimean Peninsula and several Russian regions, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday, citing Moscow's defence ministry. Russia's systems downed 11 of the drones over Crimea, RIA state news agency reported. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a move condemned by Kyiv's Western allies as an illegal land grab. Bryansk, Kaluga and Tula regions, Russian agencies reported. Kyiv has intensified its air attacks in recent months, in what it says are strikes targeting Russian military infrastructure to undermine Moscow's war efforts.
Persons: Kyiv's, Mikhail Razvozhayev, Vladislav Shapsha, Lidia Kelly, Tom Hogue, Jamie Freed Organizations: Reuters, Telegram Locations: Ukraine, Crimean, Crimea, Russia, Moscow, Sevastopol, Crimea's, Belgorod, Bryansk, Kaluga, Tula, Kyiv, Melbourne
(Reuters) - The scale of NATO's Steadfast Defender 2024 exercises mark an "irrevocable return" of the alliance to Cold War schemes, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the state RIA news agency in remarks published on Sunday. "These exercises are another element of the hybrid war unleashed by the West against Russia," Grushko told RIA. "An exercise of this scale ... marks the final and irrevocable return of NATO to the Cold War schemes, when the military planning process, resources and infrastructure are being prepared for confrontation with Russia." But its top strategic document identifies Russia as the most significant and direct threat to NATO members' security. Moscow, and its chief diplomat Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have since often accused "the collective West" of conducting a "hybrid war" against Russia by backing Ukraine through financial and military aid.
Persons: Alexander Grushko, Grushko, Sergei Lavrov, Lidia Kelly, Jamie Freed Organizations: Reuters, NATO, West, Russia Locations: Russia, Ukraine, Kyiv, Moscow, Melbourne
(Reuters) - Two Russian sailors being held in the Mozambique port of Maputo are financial hostages in a dispute between the ship's owner and its local customer, Russia's foreign ministry told the state RIA news agency in remarks published on Sunday. Russia's SHOT news outlet reported last week on its Telegram that two Russians, a Lithuanian and two Ukrainians have been locked up on board a Cameroon-flagged fishing boat Volopas for eight months. "They found themselves hostage to a financial and property dispute between the ship-owning company and a local agent company," Russia's foreign ministry told RIA. Diplomatic efforts to repatriate the sailors have not been successful so far, the foreign ministry said. (Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Jamie Freed)
Persons: Russia's, Lidia Kelly, Jamie Freed Organizations: Reuters, RIA Locations: Mozambique, Maputo, Lithuanian, Cameroon, Melbourne
By Ben Blanchard and Michael MartinaTAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan's defence ministry said it detected 18 Chinese air force planes operating around Taiwan and carrying out "joint combat readiness patrols" with Chinese warships on Wednesday, the first large-scale military activity after the Taiwanese election. Taiwan's defence ministry said that starting around 7:50 p.m. (1150 GMT) on Wednesday it had detected 18 aircraft including Su-30 fighters operating off northern and central Taiwan and to the island's southwest. Eleven of those aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait's median line, or areas close by, working with Chinese warships to carry out "joint combat readiness patrols", the ministry added. Taiwan sent its own forces to monitor, its defence ministry said. There was no immediate response from China's defence ministry.
Persons: Ben Blanchard, Michael Martina TAIPEI, Democratic Progressive Party's, Lai Ching, Biden, Lai, Vincent Chao, Xi Jinping, Chao, We're, David Brunnstrom, Michael Martina, Gareth Jones, Mark Potter, Jamie Freed Organizations: Taiwan, Democratic Progressive, China's Taiwan Affairs Office, U.S . State Department, U.S . Institute of Peace, U.S Locations: Taiwan, China, Taipei, Beijing, Taiwan Strait, U.S, United States, Washington
By Farah MasterBEIJING (Reuters) - China's population fell for a second consecutive year in 2023, as a record low birth rate and a wave of COVID-19 deaths when strict lockdowns ended accelerated a downturn that will have profound long-term effects on the economy's growth potential. Japan's birth rate was 6.3 per 1,000 people in 2022, while South Korea's rate was 4.9. Long-term, U.N. experts see China's population shrinking by 109 million by 2050, more than triple the decline of their previous forecast in 2019. POLICY ISSUESChina's 2023 rate of 7.87 deaths per 1,000 people was higher than a rate of 7.37 deaths in 2022. Marriages are a leading indicator for birth rates in China, where most single women cannot access child-raising benefits.
Persons: Farah Master, Mao, Washington ., Xi Jinping, Marius Zaharia, Jamie Freed Organizations: Farah Master BEIJING, National Bureau of Statistics, United Nations, Academy of Sciences Locations: China, Japan, South Korea, South, India, Beijing, Washington, United States, Hong Kong
The United States, China, Russia and other countries have also been developing hypersonic weapons in recent years. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), by contrast, carry nuclear warheads on ballistic trajectories that travel into space but never reach orbit. During a rare trip to Russia last September, Kim inspected Moscow's hypersonic missiles, among other weapons. "North Korea appears to be trying to develop hypersonic missiles and intermediate range ballistic missiles based on solid propellant rocket boosters," said Chang Young-keun, a professor at Korea Aerospace University. "In particular, mid- to long-range hypersonic missiles would be useful for striking Guam while evading the U.S. missile defence system."
Persons: Shin, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Sunday's, Kim, Chang Young, Hyonhee Shin, Ed Davies, Jamie Freed Organizations: Korean, Intercontinental, WHO, THE, United, Workers, Party, Korea Aerospace University, U.S Locations: Shin SEOUL, North Korea, United States, China, Russia, Korean, Moscow, Seoul, Korea
By Lewis JacksonSYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia Post will soon end daily letter deliveries as part of a series of postal reforms announced on Wednesday designed to modernise the government-owned postal service and help it turn a profit. Australia Post will also have an extra day to deliver regular mail. Australia Post delivered half a billion parcels last financial year, or roughly 20 per person. Losses in the letter business rose 50% to A$384 million. Australia Post has applied to the competition regulator to increase the basic letter postage rate to A$1.50 from A$1.20 from early near year.
Persons: Lewis Jackson SYDNEY, Paul Graham, eCommerce, Graham, Lewis Jackson, Jamie Freed Organizations: Australia Post, Australia Locations: Australia
Two women walk next to the Reserve Bank of Australia headquarters in central Sydney, Australia February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/File Photo Acquire Licensing RightsSYDNEY, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Australia's central bank held interest rates steady on Tuesday as expected, buying it more time to assess the state of the economy and to determine whether further hikes might be needed next year. Wrapping up its December policy meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept rates at a 12-year high of 4.35%, adding economic data received since November had been broadly in line with expectations. "Holding the cash rate steady at this meeting will allow time to assess the impact of the increases in interest rates on demand, inflation and the labour market," RBA Governor Michele Bullock said. She has since warned that inflation has become increasingly driven by domestic demand, requiring a more "substantial" response from interest rates.
Persons: Daniel Munoz, Michele Bullock, Bullock, Stella Qiu, Jamie Freed Organizations: Reserve Bank of Australia, REUTERS, Rights, Thomson Locations: Sydney, Australia
A Toyota logo is seen during the New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., April 5, 2023. Toyota is targeting sales of 1.5 million battery-powered vehicles a year globally by 2026. The announcement came after Toyota executives said in July the company would focus on selling hydrogen-powered trucks and cars in Europe and China. A hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle uses an electric motor like an EV but draws power from a fuel stack where hydrogen is separated by a catalyst to produce electricity. Toyota sold about 3,500 fuel-cell vehicles globally over the January-October period.
Persons: David, Dee, Delgado, Daniel Leussink, Mariko Katsumura, Lisa Shumaker, Jamie Freed Organizations: New York, REUTERS, Rights, Toyota, European Union, European Automobile Manufacturers Association, Battery, Lexus, Thomson Locations: Manhattan , New York City, U.S, Europe, EU, China
Japan is rushing to rebuild its once world-leading semiconductor infrastructure and catch up on the development of AI technology. The graphics processing units (GPUs) made by U.S.-based Nvidia dominate the market for AI. "Demand is very high, but I promised the prime minister we will do our very, very best to prioritise Japan's requirements for GPUs," Huang told reporters at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's official residence in Tokyo. "The semiconductor industry that Japan is now starting to grow and foster will be able to produce GPUs," Huang said. "Countries like Japan are realising that you need to own your own data, build your own AI factories and produce your own AI intelligence," he added.
Persons: Ann Wang, Jensen Huang, Huang, Fumio, Huang's, TSMC, Yoshifumi Takemoto, Rocky Swift, Chang, Ran Kim, Jamie Freed Organizations: REUTERS, Rights, Nvidia, Thomson Locations: Taipei, Taiwan, Japan, U.S, Tokyo, Hokkaido
WASHINGTON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - White House budget director Shalanda Young warned in a letter to Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and other congressional leaders on Monday that the United States was running out of time and money to help Ukraine fight its war with Russia. President Joe Biden's administration in October asked Congress for nearly $106 billion to fund ambitious plans for Ukraine, Israel and U.S. border security. Republicans control the House of Representatives with a slim majority, and funding for Ukraine has become politically controversial with some right-leaning lawmakers. Young said in a letter released by the White House that cutting off funding and a flow of weapons to Ukraine would increase the likelihood of Russian victories. We are out of money — and nearly out of time."
Persons: Shalanda Young, Mike Johnson, Joe Biden's, Young, , Jeff Mason, Jamie Freed Organizations: White House, Republican, Republicans, White, Thomson Locations: United States, Ukraine, Russia, Israel, U.S
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko review the honour guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 1, 2023. cnsphoto via REUTERS/File photo Acquire Licensing RightsBEIJING, Dec 4 (Reuters) - China is willing to continue strengthening its strategic cooperation with Belarus, President Xi Jinping was cited as saying after meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday. Xi also said China is willing to enhance coordination and cooperation with Belarus in multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the official news agency Xinhua said. Xi told Lukashenko that both countries should improve cross-border transport facilitation and promote economic and trade ties as well as people-to-people exchanges, according to Xinhua. The Chinese leader also said Beijing and the Eastern European country should implement projects such as the China-Belarus industrial park and promote industrial cooperation. Reporting by Ella Cao and Liz Lee; Editing by Kim Coghill and Jamie FreedOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Persons: Xi Jinping, Alexander Lukashenko, Xi, Lukashenko, Ella Cao, Liz Lee, Kim Coghill, Jamie Freed Organizations: of, People, cnsphoto, REUTERS, Rights, United Nations, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Xinhua, Thomson Locations: Beijing, China, Rights BEIJING, Belarus, Xinhua
BEIJING (Reuters) - The China-EU summit will be held on Thursday in Beijing, China's foreign ministry said on Monday, where leaders of both sides will discuss strategic and global economic issues of common interest. "China and Europe are partners, not rivals ... our common interests far outweigh our differences," foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular press briefing. Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, state media reported. "We will explore ways to solve problems through dialogue and consultation," Wang said, adding that "we will cooperate to meet global challenges and inject new impetus into the world and increase stability in the international situation." (Reporting by Liz Lee and Beijing newsroom; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Tom Hogue and Jamie Freed)
Persons: Wang Wenbin, Xi Jinping, Charles Michel, Ursula von der, Wang, Liz Lee, Bernard Orr, Tom Hogue, Jamie Freed Organizations: European Locations: BEIJING, China, EU, Beijing, Europe
[1/2] A communal worker cleans snow at the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (VDNH) during a heavy snowfall in Moscow, Russia December 3, 2023. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov Acquire Licensing RightsMOSCOW, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Temperatures in parts of Siberia plummeted to minus 50 degrees Celsius (minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit) while blizzards blanketed Moscow in record snowfall and disrupted flights as winter weather swept across Russia. In the Sakha Republic, located in the northeastern part of Siberia and home to Yakutsk, one of the world's coldest cities, temperatures fell below minus 50 C, according to the region's weather stations. An abnormally early cold snap in Sakha pushed temperatures to even lower than minus 50 C in several areas of Sakha, a vast region just a little smaller than India. Temperatures in Moscow were forecast to fall to about minus 18 C later this week.
Persons: Maxim Shemetov, Lidia Kelly, Guy Faulconbridge, Jamie Freed Organizations: National, REUTERS, Rights, Thomson Locations: Moscow, Russia, Siberia, Sakha Republic, Yakutsk, Sakha, India, Russian, Melbourne
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo Acquire Licensing RightsSYDNEY, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The outcome of a Brookfield consortium's $10.6 billion bid for Australia's Origin Energy (ORG.AX) will be officially known on Monday, with investors expected to vote down its year-long attempt to buy the country's largest power retailer. Origin’s largest shareholder, A$300 billion ($198.36 billion) pension fund AustralianSuper, has said it would reject the A$9.39 per share offer. "If the Brookfield consortium comes back with a hostile off-market offer, there could be upside to the share price." "We will do this work before considering whether to continue pursuing a proposal to acquire Origin Energy or the Origin Energy Markets business," he said. The company's board last week rejected a revised back-up bid from the Brookfield consortium that the energy firm said was too complex and highly conditional.
Persons: Dado Ruvic, AustralianSuper, Adrian Atkins, Luke Edwards, Scott Murdoch, Jamie Freed Organizations: Brookfield, REUTERS, Rights, Origin Energy, Origin Energy Markets, Thomson Locations: Sydney, Brookfield, Brookfield Australia
As tech heavyweights such as Apple (AAPL.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) spend heavily on custom cutting-edge chips, companies using legacy chips are also looking to introduce custom silicon. Inverters adjust the speed of an air conditioner's motor to save energy. The custom chips, to be made by Taiwan's TSMC (2330.TW), cost more than off-the-shelf alternatives but offer better energy efficiency and allow a reduction in the use of other components, according to a Daikin executive. The company, which developed Japan's first packaged air conditioner in 1951, is also working on customised power modules, which help manage the air conditioner's electricity supply. The number of air conditioners globally is expected to more than triple to 5.6 billion units by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.
Persons: Sam Nussey, Taiwan's TSMC, Yuji Yoneda, Daikin, Jamie Freed Organizations: Daikin, REUTERS, Rights, Daikin Industries, Apple, European Union, International Energy Agency, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Japan, Osaka, United States
An employee works on a production line manufacturing steel structures at a factory in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, China May 17, 2020. The data shows that factories are producing less and hiring fewer people," Dan Wang, chief economist at Hang Seng Bank China, said of China's PMI readings, which have different samples. Export-reliant Japan, South Korea and Taiwan bore the brunt of sluggish global demand with their manufacturing activity remaining stagnant in November, surveys showed. Japan's final au Jibun Bank manufacturing PMI fell to 48.3 in November from 48.7 in October, shrinking at the fastest pace in nine months. Manufacturing activity also shrank in Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia, but expanded in Indonesia and the Philippines, the surveys showed.
Persons: Dan Wang, Toru Nishihama, Leika Kihara, Jamie Freed Organizations: REUTERS, PMI, Korea Soft, P Global, Hang Seng Bank, Dai, Research, Jibun Bank, Research Institute, Thomson Locations: Huzhou, Zhejiang province, China, Japan, S, TOKYO, Europe, United States, Hang Seng Bank China, South Korea, Taiwan, Asia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian investigators said on Friday a dual Russian-Italian national had been detained for planting bombs on railway tracks as part of a sabotage campaign orchestrated by Ukrainian military intelligence. After his arrest, the man, born in 1988 and a resident of Ryazan, confessed to planting home-made bombs that derailed a freight train in central Russia on Nov. 11, according to investigators. The Committee said the detained man admitted undergoing "sabotage training in Latvia with the direct participation of the Latvian special services." Ukrainian military intelligence could not be reached for immediate comment. (Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Jamie Freed)
Persons: Felix Light, Guy Faulconbridge, Jamie Freed Organizations: Main Intelligence, Ministry of Defense, Reuters Locations: MOSCOW, Russian, Ukrainian, Ryazan, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Latvian, Rybnoe, Moscow
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