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Former Australian PMs Criticism Nasty, Personal, Vindictive: Treasurer

Josh Frydenberg, Australias federal treasurer, has defended the Reserve Bank of Australia against criticisms launched by Paul Keating, a former Labor prime minister, that it isnt doing enough to help amid the COVID-19 economic crisis. “This was a very nasty, personal, vindictive, unnecessary, misguided attack by Paul Keating,” Frydenberg told ABC News Breakfast on Sept. 24. “The Reserve Bank has done very well through this crisis. Unlike other crises they didnt have room to move on monetary policy.” Frydenberg said the Reserve Bank pumped $75 billion worth of liquidity into the banking system to stabilise it and purchased $60 billion worth of government bonds from secondary markets. Keating, however, wants the Reserve Bank to purchase bonds directly from Treasury. But doing this would “undermine the credibility of the central bank,” according to Warrick McKibben, a former RBA board member. “This is a recession­ where its fiscal policy that really needs to take the lead,” Prof. McK..

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Westpac to Pay Australias Largest Fine for Breaching Laws That Stop Terrorism, Child Exploitation

Westpac has agreed to pay the largest fine in Australian corporate history, settling a case brought against it for breaching international money transfer laws which could have funded terrorism or child exploitation. The latest fine eclipses the record $700 million penalty against fellow major bank Commonwealth in 2018. The $1.3 billion was agreed to between Westpac and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), an intelligence agency set up to monitor the countrys finance industry so it plays no part in money laundering, terrorism financing, tax evasion, or organised crime. AUSTRAC monitors over 15,000 individuals, businesses, and organisations in Australia. “This is a very significant penalty, and it reflects the significance of the offences here,” Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told ABC Radio Melbourne on Sept. 24. “This should not have happened,” he added. A pedestrian looks at his phone as he walks past a logo for Australias Westpac Banking Corp loc..

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McCann Suspect May Face More Jail Time After EU Court Ruling

BRUSSELS: A German man whom investigators suspect of murdering British toddler Madeleine McCann and currently jailed for drug dealing may face more prison time after Europe's top court retroactively cleared his extradition to Germany for a rape charge. There had been concerns that Christian B, who is seeking parole, may disappear once he has served his sentence for drug dealing in a prison in Kiel in the north of Germany. Advertisement Advertisement The 43-year-old German, who lived in the Algarve region of Portugal when 3-year-old Madeleine vanished from her bedroom in 2007, had disputed the validity of the European arrest warrant issued by Germany when he was in Italy because it cited a drugs conviction but not the 2005 rape charge. The man challenged the warrant even though Germany had in 2018 obtained Italy's agreement for his extradition to be prosecuted and tried for rape and extortion. A German court had subsequently sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based Cour..

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Belaruss Lukashenko Sworn In at Secretive Ceremony

KYIV, Ukraine—Leader Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus was sworn in to his sixth term in office at an inaugural ceremony that wasnt announced in advance, amid weeks of protests against the authoritarian leaders reelection, which the opposition says was rigged. One opposition leader called the secretive Sept. 23 ceremony “a farce,” and several European countries reiterated that they dont recognize the results of the election and refuse to regard Lukashenko as the legitimate leader. In the evening, thousands of people took to the streets in the capital of Minsk to protest the inauguration and were met with a strong response from the police. The ceremony was held in front of several hundred dignitaries at the ornate Palace of Independence in Minsk, the state news agency BelTA said. Police and other security forces blocked off parts of the city and public transportation was suspended. Lukashenko, 66, took the oath of office in Belarusian with his right hand on the constitution, and the he..

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Lebanons Fractious Politics Puts French Lifeline at Risk

BEIRUT—Lebanons sectarian politicians have overshot one deadline with France and missing more may put at risk a lifeline from Paris to haul the Middle East nation out of its worst crisis since a 1975-1990 civil war. France has drawn up a timeline for Lebanon to tackle corruption and deliver reforms to help secure billions of dollars in foreign aid to save a country drowning in debt. But the leaders who oversaw years of wasted state spending and corruption have stumbled at the first hurdle by failing to deliver on a promise to French President Emmanuel Macron to form a new cabinet by mid-September. Choosing a cabinet may prove the easy part. Once named, the ministers have a mountain of challenges, ranging from reviving a paralyzed banking industry to fixing a power sector that cant keep the lights on in a nation of about 6 million. Macron, who visited Beirut after a devastating port blast in August, has told politicians they could face sanctions if graft gets in the way. And Paris h..

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Britain Announces New Job Protection Measures as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Britains finance minister announced new job protection measures on Thursday, including a new wage subsidy scheme, to limit unemployment in the pandemic-ravaged economy after existing safeguards expire at the end of October. In a statement given in the House of Commons, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his new Winter Economy Plan, which includes subsidizing wages instead of providing full furlough pay for part-time returns to work. He also announced an extension of a 15 percent sales tax cut until the end of March 2021 for the hospitality and tourism industries, which are among the hardest-hit by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. A woman walks past a closed shop in Leicester, central England, on July 17, 2020. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images) The new measures, which will commence in November as the current furlough scheme ends, will allow employers facing “depressed demand” to retain workers on shorter hours as an alternative to making them redundant. Sunak..

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China insider: Australian Correspondents Escape China; Fear of Being Disappeared

Australian Correspondents Escape China; Fear of Being Disappeared Recently, two Australian journalists stationed in China were raided by the Chinese National Security Police in the middle of the night and were restricted from leaving China. The CCP did not explain the reason for such action, but after the Foreign Ministry of Australia stepped in, two journalists have returned to Australia safely. This unprecedented event accelerated the deterioration of the relationship between Australia and China. Presently, there is no Australian journalist stationed in China. Due to the pandemic, the Australian-China relation took a turn for the worse earlier this year. The CCP is unsatisfied with Australia calling for an independent investigation into the origin of the CCP virus and thus has been repeatedly retaliating against Australia. Recently, the Australian government has raised a travel alert, warning Australian nationals in China of the risk of arbitrary arrest. After receiving advice fro..

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Earthquake Measuring 4.2 Shakes Turkish Megacity of Istanbul

People walk in the district of Eminonu, next to bread and fish street vendors, as the Suleymaniye Mosque is seen in the background during a sunny day in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 3, 2018. (Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images) ISTANBUL—An earthquake measuring magnitude 4.2 hit near Istanbul on Thursday, a Turkish government agency reported, causing some residents to rush outdoors in fear. There was no immediate report of damage or casualties. The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said the quake was centered in the Sea of Marmara, off the town of Marmaraereglisi. It struck at 04:38 pm (13:38 GMT) and was felt in Istanbul, a city of more than 15 million, and other regions. Many people poured out of their homes or offices, the state-rRead More – Source [contf] [contfnew] The Epoch Times [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

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Home Grown Gap Year Could Give School Leavers University Discount

School leavers and university graduates who take a gap year on an Australian farm to pick fruits and vegetables could get a university loan discount under a bipartisan parliamentary inquiry. Liberal, Nationals, and Labor members of the committee proposed a “Gap Year at Home” (pdf) to address the urgent labour shortages for the upcoming harvest season as a result of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. The pandemic has dramatically reduced the number of migrant and seasonal workers who typically pick up 60 percent of the fruit and vegetables on Australian farms. National Farmers Federation Chief Executive Tony Mahar said in a media release that farmers across the board were very concerned about the workforce shortages given the lack of overseas holiday workers. The number of working holidaymakers plummeted from approximately 150,000 at the start of the year to 70,000 in June 2020. Mr Mahar said doing more to attract Australians to farm jobs ..

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Pompeo Shores up Support of Venezuelas Neighbors to Pressure Maduros Regime

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shored up the support of Venezuelas neighbors during a visit Sept. 17-20, to pressure Venezuelas President Nicolas Maduro to resign. Pompeos visit to Guyana, Brazil, and Colombia comes as international efforts to advance democratic change in the country that appear to have stalled recently. In January 2019, Venezuelan Congress head Juan Guaido proclaimed himself an interim president of the country until new free, transparent, and credible presidential elections could be held. Guaido has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the United States. Maduro has asserted his grip on power and overseen a six-year economic collapse of his country that drove 5 million Venezuelans to flee. A report this week by United Nations investigators found Maduros government has committed systematic human rights violations, including murder and torture amounting to crimes against humanity. Brazil Pompeo visited on Sept. 18 a triage center for receiving Venezu..

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