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Australia's Victoria to toughen coronavirus lockdown: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Victoria state will toughen its social distancing measures in the coming days as the country’s second-most populous state struggles to contain the novel coronavirus, media reported on Sunday.

Victoria’s capital of Melbourne is already under a reimposed six-week stay-home order and reported record numbers of new infections last week. Authorities warned of more restrictions ahead.

Melbourne newspapers reported that plans going into effect on Wednesday would restrict movement for six weeks and close all but essential businesses.

Australia has fared far better than many other countries in keeping the coronavirus from spreading, at a high economic cost. The country has recorded around 17,300 cases total and 200 deaths, but the recent surge in Victoria has proven difficult to contain.

At present, Melbournians are allowed to go out for work, essential shopping, medical care and exercise, but under the new restrictions they would have to stay within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of their homes, with only one person from each household allowed to go to grocery shopping.

The measures would limit public transport options and restaurants, which allow now for delivery and take-away options would be limited to contactless pick-up orders, the newspapers reported.

Movement restrictions and business operations would also be limited in the rest of the state, but not to the same level as in Melbourne.

The Age newspaper reported, citing sources, that Victoria officials and politicians worked late into Saturday on the details of the next stage of the restrictions, which could be announced Sunday or Monday.

The state’s media office was not immediately available to comment, but Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews was expected to hold his daily briefing later on Sunday.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Japan unsuccessful in lifting auto tariffs early in UK trade deal: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan and Britain agreed to lift auto tariffs for a post-Brexit trade agreement in 2026 despite Japan’s push to lift the tariffs earlier, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Sunday.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi is currently in negotiations with British Trade Minister Liz Truss in London.

British Trade Minister Lizz Truss said in a statement that they “have reached consensus on the major elements of a deal,” and both have announced that they will agree on the principles of a trade deal by the end of August.

However, despite reassurances that the two countries had by and large reached an agreement, auto tariffs and agricultural products have proven to be a sticking point in the negotiations.

Japan had hoped to lift tariffs on auto and auto parts earlier than in the current trade deal between the EU and Japan, which will phase out import tariffs on Japanese vehicles by 2026.

“Japan agreed to phasing auto tariffs on Japanese vehicles out in 2026 in line with the EU trade deal, despite asking to hasten the timing,” Nikkei reported on Sunday.

Britain, on the other hand, is hoping to secure better terms on agriculture, Financial Times reporter George Parker tweeted on Friday.

“UK-Japan trade talks close to agreement but @trussliz said by Brits to be holding out on agricultural access,” he said, referring to Truss’s Twitter handle.

Britain, which left the European Union in January, is seeking to clinch a trade agreement with Japan based on the 2019 EU-Japan agreement by the end of the year, when Britain’s no-change transition arrangement with the EU will expire.

The Japanese Trade Ministry and Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Letter: News media, stop lumping anti-abortion issues with LGBTQ rights – The Tri-City News

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The Editor,

Re. “Tri-Cities Pride rebuffs MLA over ‘continued silence’” (Tri-City News, July 29)

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I’m tired of the media throwing anti-abortion issues in with LGBTQ rights. 

While it’s understood that over 50% of Canadians support abortion rights there is also about 25% of Canadians who are pro-life and support some kind of protection for the unborn. This is a significant minority, more support than there is for many other minority issues in Canada today. 

Anti-abortion is also not just a religious issue as we know from a scientific viewpoint that we are dealing with a human life. 

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Let’s keep these issues separate and rationally discuss them on their own merits just like the issue of capital punishment or any other ethical issue in society instead of making it a partisan polarization.

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Vijayan bursts out at media for the second day running – CanIndia News

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Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 9 (IANS) For the second day in succession, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday lashed out at the media after facing a spate of questions on the role played by gold smuggling case prime accused Swapna Suresh in a key project of his government.

The latest revelation to come out from the Customs’ questioning of Suresh is that she had received a sum of Rs 1 crore, as commission from an agency, in Vijayan’s signature “Life Mission” project. This venture aims to provide the homeless their own dwelling, either directly through the government or through sponsors.

In response, Vijayan said that he will find out about this but added that this was a project funded by a UAE-based charity organisation.

However as questions on this point increased, Vijayan again lost his cool and said it was “unfortunate some media is taking up this for some others” who are out to wreck his government.

As a media person asked why he enjoys when he is praised by the media, but cannot accept probing questions, the Chief Minister responded: “Yes, this is because that is politics and this is part of a political conspiracy into which a section of the media also is a part.

“Do you want me to tell how the previous Chief Minister (Oommen Chandy) went about doing things. Do you want me to tell the dirty things that happened in that office. A section of the media wants to portray my government in such a manner.”

“This is also a way of using professionalism by the media… this is the wrong way…”

With this, Vijayan abruptly ended the press conference and left, saying that the time is up.

On Friday also, he lost his cool on questions about the gold smuggling case, accusing a section of the media to have an agenda of “removing him”.

–IANS

sg/vd

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