Joe Biden says Donald Trump wrote a ‘very generous’ letter before departing WH, plans to talk to him


US President Joe Biden has said his predecessor Donald Trump has left him a “very generous” letter in the Oval Office before departing the White House. It is customary for outgoing presidents to write their successors a letter and leave it for them on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

However, given that the former president broke several of the past traditions, including by opting to skip Biden’s inauguration ceremony and never formally congratulated him on his election win, it was unclear until Wednesday whether Trump would maintain the tradition of outgoing presidents leaving notes for their successors.

“The President wrote a very generous letter. Because it was private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him. But it was generous,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday.

The president said he plans to talk to Trump.

In her maiden news briefing on Wednesday night, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that she was with Biden when he was reading the letter in the Oval Office right before he signed the executive actions.

However, she declined to offer more details on the letter, saying, it “was private, as he (Biden) said to you all”.

“It was both generous and gracious, and it was just a reflection of him not planning to release the letter unilaterally, but I wouldn’t take it as an indication of a pending call with the former president,” Psaki said.



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How to Think About President Biden’s Big Climate Plans


This represents a break with the past two Democratic administrations, and it flips the issue’s polarity: Climate policy will become no longer about dampening prosperity and chastening growth, but giving people stuff and expanding the economy.

Whether such an effort will be as economically effective as a carbon tax remains to be seen. But for now, at least, it seems more politically palatable.

The White House will not stand in the way of climate policy.

Immediately after the election, I wrote that Biden’s climate policy would be governed less by whom he chooses to lead major agencies, such as the EPA, than by whom he surrounds himself with in the White House—in particular, his economic advisers.

Since then, Biden has responded to this concern more directly than I anticipated. He has hired Brian Deese, who led federal climate policy in Obama’s White House, to direct the National Economic Council. Essentially, Biden named a climate person one of his top economic advisers.

Deese has a singular résumé: He is probably the only alumnus of BlackRock, one of the world’s largest financial-asset managers, who can win the endorsement of Bill McKibben, the godfather of American climate activism. (Deese led BlackRock’s sustainable-investing unit.)

Nor will Deese be the only “climate person” at 1600 Pennsylvania. Biden has appointed Gina McCarthy, one of Obama’s former EPA administrators, to lead domestic climate policy, and John Kerry, the former secretary of state, to serve as a global climate envoy.

My concern, at this point, is no longer that the Biden administration tries to do too little on climate, but that Biden’s many climate advisers will crash into one another on their way into the Oval Office.

The EPA will have a crucial decision to make.

In this all-in climate strategy, the EPA will still spearhead a fair amount of the effort. But its leaders will quickly face an important choice: Should it first try to regulate power plants, or cars and trucks? The answer will set the tone for the rest of the administration.

The most powerful bazooka in the federal government’s arsenal, the Clean Air Act, allows the EPA to directly regulate carbon-dioxide emissions. The EPA is the only federal agency with such clear authority to address the root cause of climate change.

But the Clean Air Act is not an easy weapon to wield. The law sorts every type of air polluter into two categories: fixed sources,” which do not move (these are factories and power plants), and “mobile sources,” which do (cars and trucks). A landmark piece of Clean Air Act regulation demands the full attention of the agency’s air regulators and takes about one presidential term to study, write, and implement, according to Michael Wara, a legal scholar at Stanford University. So the agency’s new administrator, Michael Regan, will have to decide which category to focus on.



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Victoria plans for international students’ return with special quarantine housing | Australian universities


The Victorian state government is hoping to bring international students back into the state in 2021, as student advocates say they are happy to pay for quarantine and accommodation in a similar set-up to the 1,200 people allowed in for the Australian Open.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for the premier, Daniel Andrews, said the state was “working closely” with the federal government to bring international students back into Victoria, where they contribute $13.7bn a year to the state’s economy.

Despite the national cabinet announcing earlier in the month that arrival caps would be reduced, the Australian newspaper has reported that a potential plan to bring in students will be discussed at a meeting of the national cabinet on 5 February.

While the Victorian government has not shared any details of how many students it hopes to bring in, or how they would be quarantined, Phil Honeywood, the CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, said students and universities were willing to pay.

“We put to the Victorian government a plan for separate quarantine in purpose-built student accommodation,” Honeywood told Guardian Australia. “We wouldn’t take up any hotel beds. The international students and the education providers would pay. The taxpayer wouldn’t pay anything.”

Honeywood said Victoria had agreed to allow tennis players in for the Australian Open, and the federal government had allowed cricketers in – but that international students posed less of a virus risk, and contributed more to the economy over more years.

“While the sector understands the need for Australian citizens to be given priority, what we find hard to understand is 1,200 tennis players including their entourages, hundreds of cricket players and their entourages, and thousands of military personnel invited for training purposes have been able to come in,” he said.

“Those professional sportspeople are only here for three weeks. They have got much more [Covid] safety issues attached to them, compared to international students who are here for three to four years.”

Under the arrangements for the Australian Open, Victoria opened up three new hotels for quarantining tennis players and associated people, paid for by Tennis Australia. And in November, some international students returned to the Northern Territory and quarantined in the Howard Springs former mining camp after the territory government struck a deal with the federal government.

“The frustration is the Northern Territory government were able to prove it can be done,” Honeywood said. “They brought 63 returning international students from five different countries into Darwin in November. None of them had Covid. All of them went straight from the airport to quarantine and they have been happily studying at Charles Darwin University.”

Honeywood welcomed the Victorian government’s plan to bring students back, but said the federal and state governments needed to provide a “logistical or definite plan”.

“We have a virtual game of pass the parcel between different levels of government,” he said.

“When we speak to the federal government about border openings and pilot programs, they tell us to speak to the state government. State government tells us to speak to federal – because they control [the Australian] border force. The national cabinet’s decision only a week ago to cut the number of international arrivals by half clearly has not assisted our sector, our industry.”

The South Australian government had also arranged a program to bring in 300 international students in November, which was put on hold when the state had its short-lived second Covid wave.

Honeywood said the South Australian government had indicated that the students could be brought back in February but “there has been no announcement made by the state government”.

“In Victoria, apart from the headline in the Australian, the premier hasn’t given any indicative date or information. They haven’t indicated to us how many students they take in, or when. We are hoping it is not another state government giving a nod in our direction and not backing it up with any logistical or definite plan.”

According to the Victorian government, international students brought in $13.7bn for the state in 2019 and supported 79,000 jobs.

In 2019, the state had 250,000 international students, but that number halved to 120,000 due to the border closures brought on by the pandemic.

Honeywood said letting international students back into the country would have a multiplier effect on the country’s economy.

“According to government figures, 240,000 Australians work in the international education industry,” he said. “These are not just teaching jobs; they include people who work in student accommodation, in marketing and student support services. Already we have seen thousands of these jobs made redundant.

“Semester one is our main intake. If we don’t have any intake of any remaining students, it’s estimated to be an $8bn hit to the national economy, over the year.”

A spokesman for Andrews said: “The Victorian government is working closely with education providers and the Australian government to welcome international students back to Victoria when it is safe to do so.

“We will follow all protocols and preconditions set by the Australian government and adhere to the public health advice and directions set by the Victorian chief health officer.”

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’BEST NEWS’: Lismore Speedway plans massive night of racing



Motor racing fans will enjoy an extra shot of high-octane action at the Lismore Speedway on Saturday night.

Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway promoter David Lander announced that Production Sedans have been added to the starting line-up program for January 16.

Lander said although there was initially some uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 situation, the good news early this week confirms next Saturday night’s fixture, which will also feature the running of the Junior Sedan Nationals.

He said being given the green light to running an expanded race card was sensational news.

“We are definitely running and that’s the best piece of news I can pass on today,” Lander said.

“I know late last week there were some concerns with news we were hearing out of Brisbane and the lockdown, but that has now been erased.”

According to Lander, being able to host interstate entries will only add to the prestige of the event.

“We have Queensland competitors on our program this weekend, which is another big variety meeting, so it’s all looking very much on the positive and the countdown is on in earnest for this coming weekend and the January 16 fixture,” he said.

Lander said a good number of Production Sedans were expected to enter while, in addition to the Junior Sedans, there will be racing for Street Stocks, Wingless Sprintcars, Compact Speedcars and AMCA National.

Lander said a highlight will be the return of the super fast Compact Speedcars for one of their several appearances this season.

“It’s also an important night for the Wingless Sprintcar division with a round of their domestic series set to go under the flag,” he said.

“The tournament, which also features Queensland competitors, sees six of the seven rounds held at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway.”

The other venue involved is the Grafton Speedway.

Lander said it was now anticipated the washed out January 9 final of the Mr Modified Series will be held as part of the 2012 Easter two-night show (April 3 and 4).



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$6 million plans for long-vacant waterfront pub property



The site of a long disused Tweed venue could have a major overhaul, if a development application lodged this week is approved.

14 Fraser Drive in Tweed Heads South was once home to Club Watersports.

That venue was renovated in 2004 but closed not long afterwards.

The Taphouse Group bought the site in about 2013 and floated plans for a total revamp and new pub two years later.

At the time, Taphouse GM Angus Southwell said they hoped to open the venue that December.

But this didn’t eventuate at the time.

A DA for $6.05 million worth of works was lodged with Tweed Shire Council recently on behalf of private company Mormatsal Investments Pty Ltd which, according to council documents, is associated with Taphouse.

The company had already gained approval for a general store.

The DA proposes a new venue on the northern section of the property, involving a pub, restaurant, cafe, takeaway facility, and extensions to the approved general store in the southern area of the site to allow for a new bottle shop with drive-through capacity.

In 2018, Sheep Station Creek Pty Ltd, as trustee for the Affinity Tweed Heads Lifestyle Community Trust, gained approval for a $6.5 million manufactured home estate on an adjacent block.

This followed the council’s approval of a subdivision to separate those lots, on the corner of Fraser Drive and Dry Dock Rd.



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What President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks say about how he plans to govern America


WASHINGTON: Joe Biden promised that his presidency would mean a return to normalcy. His Cabinet picks help demonstrate how he plans to deliver.

The president-elect announced his final nominees this past week, completing a diverse team of two dozen people. He noted Friday that this will be the “first Cabinet ever” to reach gender parity and include a majority of people of color, notable given earlier concerns that he was leaning largely on white men.

Some nominees have decades of experience in their respective agencies. Many held prominent roles in the Obama administration. Many have already begun meeting with interest groups and advocacy organizations, and his transition team has had what’s been described as an “open-door policy” toward advocacy groups for months.

It’s a sharp contrast to President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, which was dominated largely by white men with little experience in Washington. Biden’s aides say that was one of the goals he set in filling out his Cabinet: to signal that his presidency means a return to competent, stable leadership government.

That’s especially important, Democrats say, as the pandemic and economic turmoil rage and the country navigates through the aftermath of last week’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“Joe Biden is taking office under the most challenging circumstances in a century,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama White House senior adviser. “There is no time for on the job training. He needs people who can hit the ground running because what happens in the first six months of his presidency will likely determine the trajectory of all four years.”

Biden’s Cabinet is unlikely to be in place when he assumes the presidency on Jan. 20. The Senate, which must confirm the nominees, hasn’t scheduled hearings for many of the picks. One exception is Lloyd Austin, Biden’s nominee for defense secretary, who is expected to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 19.

Some nominees faced early questions about their confirmation prospects, particularly Neera Tanden, Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Tanden has angered Republicans with her outspoken criticism of them on Twitter.

But the confirmation process for many of the nominees may be smoother after Democrats picked up two Senate seats in Georgia last week, leaving the chamber evenly divided. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be the tie-breaking vote, giving Democrats the edge.

Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said that the president-elect is “working in good faith with both parties in Congress toward swift confirmation because with so much at stake, with our national security on the line and lives and jobs being lost every day, our nation cannot afford to waste any time.”

But many nominees may face unprecedented levels of scrutiny as they work to dig their departments out of both the erosion in public trust in government and an erosion of morale from within. Many department budgets and staff were gutted during the Trump administration.

That hollowing out is part of why it’s so important for Biden to choose seasoned veterans for his Cabinet, according to Eric Schultz, a former senior White House adviser.

“One of the problems that Biden faces that Obama did not in 2009 is how the Trump administration has treated federal agencies and departments,” he said. “Rebuilding – just, operationally – these agencies, to get that back up and running, is going to take a lot of work. So it wouldn’t make sense to put in a bunch of newbies.”

They’ll also have to navigate demands from progressives looking for major changes from leaders at agencies ranging from the the Department of Homeland Security to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department. Many of them will be on the front lines of addressing a pandemic that’s killed more than 371,000 people in the United States, while taking action on the issues of race and inequality and climate change that have prompted national movements for change in recent years.

To get ahead of those problems, Biden’s transition team has spent months meeting with trade, advocacy and interest groups across Washington and beyond, looking to reestablish relationships that had atrophied during the Trump administration. Now that his team has been named, his nominees have begun their own meetings with key groups as they prepare to take office.

Some meetings are aimed at assuaging concerns among critics, such as when Tom Vilsack, Biden’s pick for agriculture secretary, met with Black farm advocates. Vilsack has faced questions about what critics say was his failure to address discrimination against Black farmers within the agency while he was Obama’s agriculture chief.

But still others have included representatives from areas not typically seen as pet Democratic constituencies. Three of Biden’s top picks for health adviser positions met with interfaith leaders on Thursday, and the next day Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s pick at Homeland Security, met with 20 leaders who share his Jewish faith.

The Rev. Gabriel Salguero, a Florida-based pastor who founded the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said the Biden transition has made a “very robust and very intentional” effort to build relationships with faith leaders. Salguero recalled other faith-specific calls with Susan Rice, chosen as Biden’s domestic policy adviser, and Tanden.

While Salguero recalled meetings with the Trump administration on key issues, he said the Biden transition team’s outreach already has gone further.

Even those groups that may be more aligned with Trump and Republicans on their issues are already pleased with Biden’s approach to governing. Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf said that the reaction from his business clients and other Washington lobbyists has been, he said, “very positive” because “business likes certainly.”

“Business likes a plan,” Elmendorf said. “And while some of the outcomes under Donald Trump, people liked, they really didn’t like the government by tweet and Fox News.”

Even those who don’t agree with all of Biden’s policies, Elmendorf said, are relieved at the return to normal working order because “they believe that there will be a process that is know, and is transparent, and where stakeholders will have an opportunity to make their views known.”



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Mark Newnham has Sydney Cup plans for Spirit Ridge


Mark Newnham will let his impressive import Spirit Ridge shoot for Group 1 glory in the autumn after he won back-to-back cup races at Randwick.

The six-year-old was even better yesterday than he was when taking out the Summer Cup (2000m) a fortnight ago and that’s what Newnham needed to see.

“I thought he had more improvement because last start when he won the Summer Cup he was probably only at his top for the last 150m,” Newnham said.

“He was locked away and only got out late.

“The best part of his race was on the line. In the autumn he’ll get up to a 2400m and maybe even the Sydney Cup might be on the agenda.”

Spirit Ridge boasts a regal heritage having been bred by Juddmonte Farm, the breeding arm of Khalid Abdullah of Frankel fame.

The Form: Complete NSW Racing thoroughbred form, including video replays and all you need to know about every horse, jockey and trainer. Find a winner here!

Spirit Ridge is a son of Galileo’s King George winner Nathaniel who has sired more than 400 winners, none of them better than Juddmonte’s own two-time Arc de Triomphe winner, Enable.

On top of that, Spirit Ridge’s dam – Tates Creek – was a mare of the highest order winning Grade One races at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita.

Spirit Ridge won his first race at Catterick in England beating Loveisili who was himself in action at Royal Randwick forty minutes after Newnham’s gelding completed the Summer Cup/January Cup double.

Jockey Robbie Dolan made all the right moves to give him the best possible run in transit.

“It was another peach of a ride from Robbie,” Newnham said.

“As we discussed prior to the race, if we could get that position it would be the ideal spot and, like last start, it all went as expected and he executed well.

“He loves a fight and with the way they ran it they probably turned it into a sprint and he was at his top at the top of the straight but you could see his staying qualities shine late.”

Dolan had the $3.10 favourite stalking the speed set by Wolfe and didn’t let Laure Me In pocket him in when it made a move around him at the 500m.

Once they got into the straight he let his horse’s superior staying ability take over and he didn’t look like losing over the final 200m.

He beat home a brave Wolfe by three quarters of a length with Mr Marathon Man ($26) running above his odds in third.

‘’It was tricky on paper, obviously with Wolfe and Gone Bye drawn on the inside of us, it was going to be fifty-fifty whether I was able to get into a position,’’ Dolan said.

“Thankfully I had a nice horse under me and he jumped out well and brought me into a position himself.

“Jay (Ford) came upside me on the bend and nearly caught me napping on the bend but he is the superior horse in the race and he is going to go onto bigger and better things than that.

‘’He really enjoys himself and that is a big asset for him. He loves his racing, he loves a day out, he pricks his ears everywhere you go and that is a good sign.

“He has got a really good turn of foot for a horse that gets over a bit of ground and I would definitely be looking forward to seeing him get over further.”

Spirit Ridge was quickly inserted as a $51 chance in the Sydney Cup in April and will obviously have to go to another level to claim a major.

“It’s a stronger race these days because it’s worth $2 million and we’re getting more of these horses in it and he’s still improving,” Newnham said.

“His level of improvement from the middle of last year until now has been great and I think he’s got more left in him. He was going away on the line.”

Newnham will take him to the Manion Cup on the way to the Sydney Cup.

“He’ll have a couple of weeks out. He’s a real European stayer who is clean winded and doesn’t take long to come up,” he said.

“Even off a two-week break I might kick him over an 1800m race. He showed today that further than 2000m isn’t going to be an issue.”

AT THE TRACK

PRINCE OFF TO PADDOCK

Pinnacle Prince will not be aimed at this year’s Country Championships but his trainer Brett Cavanough has a plan that could get him to the $1.3 million Kosciuszko (1200m) in the spring.

The Hinchinbrook colt won his second Highway race in as many weeks and Jason Collett said he’d love to ride him in Tamworth’s Country Championships qualifier on March 7.

“He’ll go for a spell,” Cavanough said. “The Country Championships might be coming too quick for him.

“You definitely won’t see him inside the next 21 days.” He’ll come back to racing later in the winter and if he keeps winning he’ll get his shot at the Kosciuszko.

Jason Collett’s winning ride on Pinnacle Prince came at a cost after he was suspended for careless riding when making the winning move to shift out on the horse and cause interference.

As he was waiting to talk to his manager chief steward Marc van Gestel said: “Are you happy to have the charge against you? “Yes, well I’m not really happy about it, but yes,” Collett replied. The hoop got three meetings and will miss next week’s racing.

WINX STAND WORKS UNDERWAY

Here’s the work currently going on to complete the new Winx Stand at Randwick. The facility will be completed in early 2022.

STABLE LIFE ON HOLD FOR FOREIGN WORKERS

While stables are generally always looking for an extra staff member, the pandemic has made it even harder to get workers.

“Usually, at this time of the year you’re inundated with people from the UK on working visas coming over here to get away from their winter,” Newnham said.

It meant Newnham, like many trainers, had to work on Christmas Day.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said.

“We’ve only got one son and he’s 23 so it’s not like we’ve got little kids. My wife and son came to the stables and helped feed the horses then we had a later lunch.”

McEVOY IN NO HURRY TO SACK PAIR

Kerrin McEvoy wasn’t about to give up on Greek Hero and Handspun winning races again soon.

He said Greek Hero, who ran seventh to stablemate Ulysses, needed an easier race.

“I thought he ran fine, I told the connections that he’s finding it hard in Saturday grade to give them a start and win the race.”

I told them to go back to Wednesday grade,” he said.

Handspun just didn’t get a race run to suit.

“I was happy enough. It was a case of the race being run quite quick which had me gassed over the last furlong but I was still happy with the run,” McEvoy said.

CAVANOUGH APPLAUDS RACING NSW

Racing NSW changed the conditions for the Country Championships and Provincial Championships.

Horses that are stable returned for the first time (previously unraced) must have been legitimately under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer by September 1, 2020.

And horses must remain under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer for a period of 12 months after the series Final.

Some trainers don’t like it but Brett Cavanough isn’t one of them.

“When do Racing NSW bring in a rule that’s not good? I think it’s a great rule and you can quote me on that,” Cavanagh said.

The Scone trainer’s son Jack is doing well since a track work fall in July when suffering a bleed to the brain and took Another Sin to the Gold Coast.

“He’s in Toowomba with a couple of horses. He’s not allowed to ride for a year but he’s getting back involved,” Cavanough said.

***

Follow: Fifteen Aria (on the way up), Subedar (nice return), Brutality (still going well)

Sack: Greek Hero (disappointing), Matowatakpe (struggling)

Ride: Robbie Dolan on Spirit Ridge (ripper)

Quote: “That was a 12 out of 10 ride.” – Mark Newnham to Robbie Dolan after winning the January Cup.



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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un admits his economic development plans have failed at ruling party congress


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says his economic development plans have failed as he opened the nation’s first full ruling party congress in five years, according to state media.

Mr Kim said that “almost all sectors fell a long way short of the set objectives” under a previous five-year development plan established at the 2016 congress, reports the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“We should further promote and expand the victories and successes we have gained at the cost of sweat and blood, and prevent the painful lessons from being repeated,” Mr Kim is quoted as saying.

The Workers’ Party Congress — one of the country’s biggest propaganda spectacles — is designed to help Mr Kim show a worried nation that he’s firmly in control and to boost unity behind his leadership in the face of COVID-19 and other growing economic challenges.

But some observers are sceptical that the stage-managed congress will find any fundamental solutions to North Korea’s difficulties, many of which stem from decades of economic mismanagement and Mr Kim’s headlong pursuit of expensive nuclear weapons meant to target the US mainland.

Mr Kim, 36, is holding the congress, which is expected to last a few days, amid what may be the toughest challenge of his nine-year rule and what he has called “multiple crises.”

The authoritarian nation is one of the poorest countries in Asia.

The Workers’ Party Congress is one of the country’s biggest propaganda spectacles. It’s designed to show Kim Jong Un is in control.(Reuters: KCNA)

North Korea’s already besieged economy is being hammered by pandemic-related border closings with China, the North’s major economic lifeline, the fallout from a series of natural disasters last summer and persistent US-led sanctions over its nuclear program.

US president-elect Joe Biden, who takes office later this month, will likely maintain the sanctions and avoid any direct meeting with Mr Kim until North Korea takes significant steps toward denuclearisation.

The congress met in Pyongyang to determine “a fresh line of struggle and strategic and tactical policies,” with thousands of delegates and observers in attendance, KCNA reported.

In his speech, Mr Kim described the present difficulties facing his government as “the worst-ever” and “unprecedented”, according to KCNA.

Mr Kim called for a new five-year plan and reviewed the present status of North Korea’s metal, chemical, electric and other key industries and set unspecified tasks for future development, KCNA said.

It’s not the first time Kim has been candid about flawed systems and policies.

In August, he acknowledged economic “shortcomings” caused by “unexpected and inevitable challenges.”

Also last year, he said North Korea lacks modern medical facilities and that anti-disaster conditions in coastal areas is “poor.”

Few experts doubt Mr Kim’s grip on power. But a prolonged coronavirus-related lockdown may be further destabilising food and foreign exchange markets and aggravating livelihoods in North Korea.

That could possibly lessen Mr Kim’s authority, some observers say.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said that “the fundamental problem” is that “Kim wants regime-sustaining economic growth while retaining nuclear weapons.”

“Pyongyang is thus likely to demand sanctions relief for merely reducing tensions rather than making progress on denuclearisation,” he said.

US-led sanctions toughened after Mr Kim’s unusually aggressive run of nuclear and missile tests in 2016 and 2017.

They maintain a ban on major export items such as coal, textiles and seafood.

Nevertheless, Mr Kim has still repeatedly pushed for an expansion of his nuclear arsenal to cope with what he calls US hostility.

After the year-long closure of its border with China, bilateral trade volume plummeted by about 80 per cent in the first 11 months of last year, said analyst Song Jaeguk at Seoul’s IBK Economic Research Institute.

North Korea’s GDP was estimated to have contracted by 9.3 per cent in 2020, he said.

AP

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Tennis Australia says quarantine plans on track, chartered planes to fly at 20% capacity


As part of complex plans to bring a large cohort of tennis players to Melbourne to get the delayed Australian Open off the ground, TA is utilising a number of inner-city hotels for quarantine. Players secured the right to leave their hotel rooms for a daily five-hour block of training.

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The Age has previously reported that Crown Promenade was set to be one of the hotels used by Tennis Australia for quarantine.

The tennis season begins this week with a women’s event in Abu Dhabi and men’s tournaments in Florida and Turkey. Qualifying events for the Open are taking place in Doha (men’s) and Dubai (women’s) from this weekend.

Australian Open boss Craig Tiley confirmed overnight there had been delays finalising flight details for some of the players – who are set to arrive between January 15 and 17 – but pledged “we will get everyone to Melbourne”.

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“There have been some unavoidable delays finalising flight details for players and I’d like to take this opportunity to provide an update,” Mr Tiley said on Twitter.

“There are a lot of pieces to this logistical puzzle and the last few are being finalised right now. We will have as many as 18 planes and each will be limited to 20 per cent capacity to ensure the flights are as safe as possible for everyone.

“We appreciate your patience and are conscious that time timelines are very tight. We are doing our utmost to get the flight details to the entire playing group as soon as possible. Thank you for bearing with us, we will get everyone to Melbourne.”

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Qantas plans US, UK flights for July



Qantas has brought forward international ticket sales for destinations including the US and UK despite growing coronavirus rates overseas.

Thanks for checking this news article involving Australian Business and Political news published as “Qantas plans US, UK flights for July”. This story is brought to you by My Local Pages Australia as part of our local and national news services.

#Qantas #plans #flights #July



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