Sidney Powell files lawsuit claiming Iranian, Chinese operatives potentially targeted Dominion Voting Systems


A November 19, 2020 photo shows Sidney Powell speaking during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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UPDATED 2:55 PM PT – Friday, November 27, 2020

Sidney Powell’s lawsuit in Georgia reveals Iran and China appear to have tampered with U.S. elections in order to help Joe Biden.

Powell’s ally, attorney Abigail Frye, said Iranian and Chinese operatives had access to ‘Dominion Voting Systems’ in several key states.

The suit found Iran and China were monitoring and manipulating U.S. elections to get their desired outcome this year. The attorney cited the data provided by the 305th U.S. Military Intelligence Battalion.

Powell’s lawsuit is investigating the connections between Iran and Biden, a relationship that potentially grew during his time as vice president.

Journalist Heshmat Alavi recently shared a thread of reports on Twitter, which showcase the potential relationship between Iran and U.S. politics.

According to reports, a pro-Tehran official allegedly visited the White House 33 times to lobby for Iranian interests with former president Barack Obama.

The tweets also point out recent alliances made at the start of 2020 when Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) hosted a pro-Tehran lobby group.

Powell’s argument sounds very similar to recent reports that came from the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe. In a briefing before the election, Ratcliffe warned of foreign interference.

“We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia,” Ratcliffe stated. “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion and undermine your confidence…in American democracy.”

Ratcliffe also warned of other tactics used in an attempt to push President Trump out of office.

“We have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump,” Ratcliffe added. “These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries.”

RELATED: Sidney Powell Launches Election Lawsuits In Mich. And Ga.





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Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh dies in hospital after being shot in targeted attack


An Iranian nuclear scientist long suspected by the West of masterminding a secret atomic weapons programme was assassinated near Tehran.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh died of injuries in hospital after armed assassins fired on his car, Iranian media reported.

“Unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving [Fakhrizadeh], and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist achieved the high status of martyrdom after years of effort and struggle,” Iran’s armed forces said in a statement.

The semi-official Fars news agency said the attack happened in Absard, a small city just east of the capital, Tehran.

It said witnesses heard the sound of an explosion and then machine gun fire. The attack targeted a car that Fakhrizadeh was in, the agency said.

Tasnim news agency said that “terrorists blew up another car” before firing on a vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh and his bodyguards in an ambush outside the capital.

Those wounded, including Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguards, were later taken to a local hospital.

A photo of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.(Twitter: Iran International English)

Fakhrizadeh has long been described by Western, Israeli and Iranian exile foes of Iran’s clerical rulers as a leader of a covert atomic bomb programme halted in 2003.

Iranian officials respond

Adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and military leader Hossein Dehghan said that Iran would strike back against the killers.

“In the last days of the political life of their … ally (US President Donald Trump), the Zionists (Israel) seek to intensify pressure on Iran and create a full-blown war,” he tweeted.

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Israel alleged that Fakhrizadeh was the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program until its disbanding in the early 2000s.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the killing had “serious indications” of Israeli involvement.

Israel declined to immediately comment on the killing of Fakhrizadeh, who Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called out in a news conference saying: “Remember that name”.

Reuters reported that in the United States, The Pentagon declined to comment on the killing when asked for a response.

No comment has been forthcoming from the White House either, although President Trump retweeted several posts about the killing.

Israel has long been suspected of carrying out a series of targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists nearly a decade ago.

Iran has long denied seeking to weaponise nuclear energy.

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Fakhrizadeh has the rare distinction of being the only Iranian scientist named in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 2015 “final assessment” of open questions about Iran’s nuclear programme and whether it was aimed at developing a nuclear bomb.

Reuters/AP



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Indigenous children as young as 11 disproportionately targeted by strip-searches in NSW



Indigenous children continue to be disproportionately targetted with strip-searches, making up about 21 per cent of all people aged between 10 and 17 years old strip-searched in the past financial year. 

The police data, obtained under freedom of information laws by the Redfern Legal Centre and seen by SBS News, shows 96 children were strip-searched in 2019-20, representing 2.5 per cent of the total number of people searched during the year. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 20 per cent of all children searched, up from 13 per cent the previous year.

Seven strip searches were conducted on children aged between 11 and 14 years old, which a police spokesperson said “were reviewed and found to comply with policy and legislative requirements”.

“The disproportionate number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that have been strip-searched is definitely a standout issue,” said Sam Lee, a solicitor with Redfern Legal Centre specialising in police accountability practices.

“And also the ongoing strip-searches of children, which is always a big problem because of the impact it has on them psychologically and physically.”

During the same period, the total number of Indigenous people being searched increased from 9 per cent to almost 13 per cent, despite only making up 3.4 per cent of the wider NSW population.

But the total number of strip searches for 2019-20 was down by 30 per cent on the previous year – 5,366 to 3,750 – with Ms Lee suggesting this is due to the cancellation of music festivals due to COVID-19.

For example, the data shows strip-searches at Sydney Olympic Park, where a number of large music festivals are usually held, to be down 78 per cent from the previous year. At Sydney’s Moore Park, also usually used a venue for music festivals, the number of strip-searches dropped by 64 per cent over the same period. 

“Before COVID, a massive number of strip-searches were being conducted at music festivals. Now since music festivals have not been occurring,” she said.

“But what we have seen is that the focus has shifted from music festivals to an increase of strip-searches amongst First Nations people and this is incredibly disturbing.” 

In the majority of searches conducted during 2019-20 (54 per cent), no illegal items were found.

An NSW Police spokesperson said a number of changes to policies, processes, and training had been implemented, including a new Person Search Manual and updated music festival procedures, following findings of unlawful searches by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission earlier this year

The Commission is set to release its final report into the review of strip-searches later this year.

“We understand the importance of this review and will take a considered approach when the findings are tabled in Parliament later this year,” the spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. 

“A strip-search can only be undertaken when a police officer has the state of mind required by the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (LEPRA).

“The legislation contains safeguards to preserve the privacy and dignity of members of the public. There are additional safeguards for children and vulnerable people with which police must comply.”

Redfern Legal Centre has teamed up with Slater and Gordon Lawyers to look into a potential class action for people who have been unlawfully strip-searched by NSW Police.

The legal action seeks to obtain compensation for potentially thousands of people who may have been unlawfully searched by NSW Police over the past six years.



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Australian measure of poverty unnecessary because welfare is ‘comprehensive and targeted’ | Welfare


Australia does not need an official poverty measure because its welfare system is “comprehensive” and “targeted”, according to the social services minister.

At a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday, Anne Ruston faced questions about the government’s plans for the permanent rate of the jobseeker payment, temporarily set at $815 a fortnight, up from the pre-pandemic level of $565.

Ruston gave her strongest indication that the supplement would be extended beyond 1 January, although it was unlikely the government would announce a permanent increase before the end of the year.

Quizzed about the role of poverty measurements in setting welfare payments, department officials suggested they were generally “very theoretical” or “academic”.

And in an exchange with Labor’s Katy Gallagher, Ruston dismissed the need for an agreed way to measure poverty.

“The government doesn’t have a measure of poverty, which has been the practice of successive governments, because our payments system is very comprehensive and specifically targeted towards providing the policy outcomes that are defined by the particular [support] measures,” Ruston said.

“The suite of determining factors in those particular payments is specific to those payments.

“A narrow definition of ‘poverty’, as I said, is not something the government has ever sought, doesn’t have.”

Asked by Gallagher whether people should receive payments that left them in “poverty”, Ruston replied: “You’re returning to the word poverty again.

“But what I would say is that income support payments are put in place as a safety net to assist people.”

Kathryn Campbell, secretary of the social services department, said officials did not “frame” advice on the adequacy of welfare payments based on measures of poverty.

“It’s about what does the word poverty mean and it’s about how much income, how much support is provided to people,” Campbell said.

“What are their expenses versus their support base. Those are the issues. We haven’t provided advice about a definition of poverty.”

Campbell said the Productivity Commission had found there was no one indicator of poverty that was relevant in an Australian context.

Ruston declined to answer when asked whether payments were adequate for a dignified life or whether people on welfare lived in poverty.

“I can see why you run a mile from having a definition of poverty,” Gallagher said. “You don’t have to deal with the issue of adequacy then.”

Asked by Greens senator Rachel Siewert how she would describe the lives of people on welfare, Ruston said: “I am not disputing the fact that living without a job is not a desirable situation to find yourself in.”

Siewart said: “Just because you haven’t got a definition doesn’t mean people aren’t living in poverty.”

Until the $550 coronavirus supplement, the base rate of jobseeker payment – $280 a week – was well below commonly used relative poverty measures. It fell back below this line when the supplement was reduced to $250.

Australian researchers generally use the relative poverty measure of 50% of median income, set at $457 a week for a single adult living alone or $960 a week for a couple with two children. Using that measure, Acoss and the UNSW said this year there were 3.24m people living in poverty.

There is also the Henderson poverty line, which emerged from a 1973 inquiry of the same name, and is set at a higher level of about about $550 a week for single people.

While poverty measures are the subject of debate, other OECD countries have adopted an agreed poverty line and the Australian government has been urged to do the same.

The US adopted a poverty measure during its “war on poverty” in the 1960s, though it has been criticised as outdated. The Canadian government has an official legislated poverty line, and the UK produces poverty statistics.

Amid Jacinda Ardern’s crusade against child poverty, New Zealand’s statistics agency publishes child poverty statistics after legislation passed in 2018.

Fresh debate about a poverty measure came as the social services department confirmed it expected about 1.8m people to be receiving jobseeker payments at Christmas.

That was an increase of about 300,000 on July forecasts, which officials attributed in part to the second wave in Victoria and an expected influx of people from jobkeeper payments on to welfare.

Though describing the situation as “volatile”, officials forecast 1.3m on payments in 2021-22, falling to 1m in 2022-23 and 900,000 in 2023-24.

Labor said there were 813,000 on the equivalent payments in December 2019.

There are about 1.4m on jobseeker and youth allowance (other).

Asked multiple times about the possibility of a permanent increase to jobseeker, Ruston emphasised the government’s priority was setting further temporary supports through the coronavirus supplement.

“There is very likely to be continued elevated levels of support recognising we are still in a pandemic and we still don’t know when and where this pandemic is going to end,” she said.

An announcement is expected in December.



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Exclusive: Russian hackers targeted California, Indiana Democratic parties


October 30, 2020

By Raphael Satter, Christopher Bing and Joel Schectman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The group of Russian hackers accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election earlier this year targeted the email accounts of Democratic state parties in California and Indiana, and influential think tanks in Washington and New York, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The attempted intrusions, many of which were internally flagged by Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> over the summer, were carried out by a group often nicknamed “Fancy Bear.” The hackers’ activity provides insight into how Russian intelligence is targeting the United States in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election.

The targets identified by Reuters, which include the Center for American Progress, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said they had not seen any evidence of successful hacking attempts.

Fancy Bear is controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency and was responsible for hacking the email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s staff in the run-up to the 2016 election, according to a Department of Justice indictment filed in 2018.

News of the Russian hacking activity follows last month’s announcement https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-cyber-microsoft/microsoft-foreign-hackers-are-targeting-biden-and-trump-camps-idUSKBN26136Z by Microsoft that Fancy Bear had attempted to hack more than 200 organizations, many of which the software company said were tied to the 2020 election. Microsoft was able to link this year’s cyber espionage campaign to the Russian hackers through an apparent programming error that allowed the company to identify a pattern of attack unique to Fancy Bear, according to a Microsoft assessment reviewed by Reuters.

Microsoft declined to comment on Reuters’ findings.

The thrust of espionage operations could not be determined by Reuters. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in August https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-interference/u-s-counterspy-chief-warns-russia-china-iran-trying-to-meddle-in-2020-election-idUSKCN253304 that Russian operations were attempting to undermine the campaign of presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Democratic National Committee spokesman Chris Meagher said it was “no surprise” that foreign actors were attempting to interfere with the election.

The Russian Embassy in Washington said it does not interfere in America’s internal affairs and denied any link to “Fancy Bear,” calling the allegation “fake news.”

The Trump campaign did not return messages.

Over the summer, a specialized cybersecurity unit at Microsoft and federal law enforcement agents notified many of the targets who were in Fancy Bear’s crosshairs, according to six people with knowledge of the matter. Reuters identified SKDKnickerbocker, a lobbying firm allied with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, as one of them last month.

The targeting of Democrats in Indiana and California – confirmed by four people familiar with the matter – suggests that the Russians are “casting their net wide,” said Don Smith of cybersecurity company Secureworks.

The Indiana Democratic Party said in a statement it was “unaware of any successful intrusions.” California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks acknowledged being targeted, but stopped short of naming Fancy Bear, saying in an email that “the effort by the foreign entity was unsuccessful.”

The FBI declined comment.

ATTACKS ON INFLUENTIAL NON-PROFITS

Fancy Bear also targeted think tanks and foreign policy organizations that hold sway in Washington and have, in the past, provided staff for presidential administrations.

Among them was the Center for American Progress (CAP), a left-leaning group whose founder, John Podesta, was at the center of the 2016 Russian hack and leak operation, according to a person with direct knowledge of the incident.

A CAP spokesperson said the organization had not been breached and declined further comment.

The Open Society Foundations, one of the first organizations to see its correspondence leaked to the public by Fancy Bear in 2016, was targeted by the Kremlin again earlier this year, according to two people briefed on the matter. The group’s founder, George Soros, has provided substantial funding to pro-democracy causes and is a regular target of Russian disinformation as well as domestic conspiracy theories.

In a statement, the Open Society said “obviously tensions are extraordinarily high heading into this election, and we are taking many steps to ensure the safety of our staff.”

Others targeted by Fancy Bear in 2020 included the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) – all of whom were notified by Microsoft, according to people familiar with the respective organizations.

A CSIS spokesman declined comment on the hacking activity. A Carnegie spokeswoman confirmed the targeting, but declined to provide further detail. A spokeswoman with the Council on Foreign Relations said they had not been breached.

(editing by Jonathan Weber, Chris Sanders and Edward Tobin)





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‘Targeted’ shooting in new Canberra suburb not gang related, ACT police say


Police believe a shooting in Canberra’s south overnight, in which multiple shots were fired into a car, was a targeted attack.

A handful of shots were fired into a car window at a house on Fairhall Street in Coombs in the early hours of Friday morning, while the family was inside the home.

Residents reported seeing a car speeding away, and it was last seen travelling east on John Gorton Drive.

Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Steel said AFP Forensic Services had been to the scene on Friday to examine the area.

“ACT Policing recovered three spent shotgun casings at the crime scene which are being forensically examined,” he said.

“It’s important to recognise this was a targeted attack rather than a random incident. Our detectives are making a number of enquiries.”

The family was inside the home when multiple shots were fired into a car at Coombs.(Supplied: ACT Policing)

Police rule out weapon was gun stolen from AFP car

Police said at this time they had no reason to believe the shooting was orchestrated by any criminal gang.

Police had initially investigated the possibility the attack was linked to a theft last week, when an Australian Federal Police car was broken into.

A duty belt and a police firearm were stolen from the car.

A car with multiple bullet holes in the window and door.
Police believe a shotgun was used to fire several times into the car.(ABC News: Selby Stewart)

But an examination of the shotgun casings found at the scene determined the weapon was not the same as the firearms issued to AFP officers.

Several residents gathered to listen to police, but did not speak to media.

Locals in the Molonglo Valley have recently expressed concern for community safety in the area.

A shotgun casing on the ground next to an evidence marker.
Police ruled out the weapon used was the same as that stolen from a police car last week.(Supplied: ACT Policing)

Last month, a teenager was stabbed to death at a skate park in Weston Creek. Police are yet to charge anyone over the stabbing.

The death prompted residents to establish a neighbourhood watch, and renew calls for a police station to be established in the area.

Detective Acting Superintendent Steel reassured residents that crime in the area was not worsening.

“Crime in the Molonglo Valley is down on previous years, but this is serious, and we are treating as such,” he said.



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NRL players to be targeted by new rugby franchise


Rugby’s strategic push into NRL heartland could be about to take off with moves to introduce a Pacific Island Super Rugby team into Western Sydney.

No formal talks have taken place yet but Rugby Australia is ready to pounce and host a team in Sydney’s most populated suburbs after New Zealand “shafted” the Pacific Islanders by reneging on their promise to allow them to join the Kiwi competition.

The Pacific Rugby Players (PRP) union has approached Australia about setting up in Sydney and the move has already been enthusiastically welcomed, with Wallaby Matt Toomua predicting it will lead to fresh raids on NRL players with Pacific Island heritage.

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“There’s many reasons why it hasn’t happened but in terms of pure desire and wanting it to happen, from a player’s point of view we would absolutely love it,” said Toomua, whose father is Samoan.

“I think it would bring a new flavour to the game, we’ve seen the success of the Fijian Drua in NRC and we’ve seen more and more Fijian guys, particularly in the NRL.

“I think it would be smart strategically to get some of those guys playing in our competition because we could probably poach a few as well.”

Rugby Australia has already been recruiting NRL players for years with Melbourne Storm’s Fijian winger Suliasi Vunivalu the next big name preparing to switch codes while the Waratahs and Wallabies have started playing regular matches in rugby league’s traditional stomping grounds.

Long overdue, the push for a Pacific Island team has gathered fresh momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic though talks for a new trans-Tasman competition remain on hold because of New Zealand’s stubborn approach to negotiating.

Formidable on the field but paper tigers in the boardroom, New Zealand’s Kiwis-first style has left them increasingly isolated and squealing after being stripped as host of this year’s Rugby Championship and replaced by Australia.

Even now, the Kiwis are making hollow threats to boycott the last round on December 12 in the unlikely event their players have to serve two weeks’ quarantine on returning home — which would include Christmas Day.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster told the New Zealand radio he had even been approached by a player refusing to represent his country if it meant missing Christmas with his family.

“I‘ve had one player that has barged in my door and said ’I’m not playing at Christmas’,” Foster said.

“We‘ve got a whole lot of players saying ’what is happening — where are we at?’

“The players also need to make sure they have a decent period at the end of the year ready for what is looking like another early start and big campaign next year.”

While Rugby Australia has publicly supported New Zealand’s request to have the date changes, the boycott threats from highly-paid players has not been welcomed by everyone.

Plenty of professional athletes — including cricketers and tennis players — travel to New Zealand each year and spend Christmas away from their families while doctors, nurses, police and emergency services frequently work during holidays.

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Farm labour, water security and new farm equipment for rural Australia targeted in Federal Budget


The Federal Budget includes billions of dollars for water infrastructure, and an extended instant asset write-off to help rural Australia lead the country out of the COVID-19 recession.

But those hoping for a clear plan to address the desperate worker shortage on farms or deal with increasing global trade tensions may be disappointed.

With a forecast labour shortage of almost 30,000 workers this harvest, the Federal Government has committed $17.4 million over two years for relocation assistance.

The money will be spent providing one-off relocation rebates of up to $6,000 for those workers prepared to go regional for at least six weeks.

Industry group, Australian Fresh Produce Alliance, had been seeking a $1,200 relocation payment for both business and employee.

Access to workers for farmers

The Budget has responded to calls to address a forecast farm labour shortage.(ABC Landline: Courtney Wilson)

Farmers who employ young, out-of-work Australians could also benefit from a new Government wage subsidy.

JobMaker will provide employers with $200 a week for each new job created for 16 to 29-year-olds, and $100 a week for any new job created for 30 to 35-year-olds.

To be eligible, the employee must have received JobSeeker, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment for at least one of three months prior to employment.

JobMaker applies nationwide, but farmers will be hoping it is more successful than the 2017 Seasonal Worker Incentive that encouraged welfare recipients to work on farms.

Over 18 months that program attracted just 333 workers, falling far short of the 7,600 places it had been expected to fill.

Youth Allowance changes

In this year’s Budget, there are also changes to the Youth Allowance eligibility threshold, with $16.3 million allocated over three years to encourage young people to work on farms.

Under the changes, any young person who earns up to $15,000 in agriculture before December 30 next year, will qualify for Youth Allowance.

The Government has also budgeted to waive $275 million, over four years, in visa application fees of temporary visa holders, including backpackers and workers on the seasonal and Pacific worker schemes, due to international border closures.

There is also $9 million over the next three years to ensure the welfare of workers on the Seasonal Worker program, but it is not clear how that will be spent.

Budget backs new equipment

In a win for rural businesses, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has expanded the instant asset write-off until June 2022, so that almost all business with a turnover of up to $5 billion are now eligible.

Water and drought

Despite a return to better seasons across large parts of Australia, spending on water infrastructure is a significant focus of the 2020–21 Federal Budget.

The Government has scrapped the National Water Infrastructure loans facility, making way for $2 billion of new funding for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

That brings the total fund — which fast-tracks projects such as dams, weirs, pipelines, and water recycling plants by helping states and territories pay for them — to $3.5 billion.

It is part of the Coalition’s 10-year plan to see the National Water Grid Authority identify significant projects to help secure water supplies.

This year’s Budget includes $50 million for the on-farm emergency water rebate scheme that provides farmers with a rebate of up to $25,000 to clean dams and drill bores, although the funding is contingent on being matched by the states.

Budget backs water schemes
Projects that ensure long-term water security are supported in the Federal Budget.(Supplied: Cotton Australia)

While that drought measure continues, the Government has abandoned the Water for Fodder program.

Announced in December last year, it was to spend $100 million using Adelaide’s desalination plant to free-up water upstream so that irrigators in the southern Murray-Darling Basin could grow feed for livestock.

The Budget shows almost $50 million was spent on round one of the program, which was expected to deliver 40 gigalitres.

This year’s Budget invests $250 million in the Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast and warning service.

Exports drive streamlined in Budget

Despite negotiating a new free trade agreement with Indonesia and beginning trade talks on new deals with the European Union and United Kingdom, it was Australia’s trade with China that dominated the headlines this past year.

The Budget commits $328 million over four years to “turbocharge” agricultural exports, claiming it will cut red tape and make export approvals more efficient.

The funding includes $222 million to upgrade digital trade services, $14 million for case managers to help exporters expand markets and up to $20 million to support red meat and plant-product exporters.

The Budget also provides $317 million to extend the International Freight Mechanism until the middle of next year, providing flights for Australian exporters to send fresh produce overseas and return with medical supplies.

Barley growers had been seeking a $20 million industry recovery fund after China introduced hefty tariffs earlier this year but have missed out.



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Pub forced to close amid barrage of targeted attacks from ‘barred thugs’


A pub has been forced to close after punters who had been barred from the boozer began ‘targeting’ it, police say.

West Midlands Police are hunting a group of masked thugs who repeatedly targeted a city pub in a campaign of violence after being barred.

Dramatic footage at the George V pub in Sheldon shows two balaclava-clad men hurling rocks at the venue in one of several attacks.

Within the first fortnight of the establishment reopening, windows were smashed, paint was hurled over the car park and the landlady was threatened, reports Birmingham Live.

Paula Taylor took over the George V pub in Sheldon in August

The venue has now been forced to close temporarily and is being guarded by security personnel, after the incidents spanning September 3 to 13.

West Midlands Police stepped up patrols in the area as officers confirmed there had been a series of “targeted incidents from individuals barred from the pubs”.

A man was arrested in relation to the attacks, but was released on police bail while CCTV trawls and forensic analysis are carried out.

Anyone who has information is urged to get in touch with the force as soon as possible.

The pub in Sheldon has been targeted by vandals

A statement from the force read: “Officers are investigating a number incidents involving criminal damage and threats being made to a landlady of a pub in Sheldon and a pub in Solihull over the past fortnight.

“We take all matters of threats, harassment and criminal damage very seriously, and have assured the landlady that we are doing all we can to find those responsible.

“A man has been arrested in relation to the attacks and has been released on bail while investigations continue. We are currently forensically examining evidence and CCTV enquiries are continuing.

The pub’s windows were smashed and paint thrown around the car park

“We have visited the landlady, who is understandably distressed by these targeted incidents from individuals she has barred from the pubs and we continue to support and keep her updated on our enquiries.

“The local neighbourhood team have also advised her on security, and patrols have been stepped up in the area.”

Star Pubs & Bars said it hoped the boozer could one day be restored as the ‘great community local’ it was in the past.

“We are doing everything we can to resolve this situation,” a spokesman said

The landlady had to get the windows boarded up

“We have taken the decision to temporarily close The George V and have organised heightened security measures, which will remain in place throughout the pub’s closure.

“Looking to the future, we would like to re-establish The George V as the great community local that it was in the past.”

West Midlands Police encouraged anyone who noticed any suspicious behaviour or who can help with our enquiries to contact the force via Live Chat at www.west-midlands.police.uk between 8am – midnight or call 101 anytime. Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111.





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Afghanistan vice president survives targeted bomb attack that killed 4 others – National


A roadside bomb in Kabul targeted First Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Wednesday morning, but he escaped unharmed, his spokesman after the attack which killed and wounded at least 20 people, including some of his bodyguards.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which comes just ahead of long-awaited peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar’s capital of Doha.

Read more:
Afghanistan’s president appoints council for peace deal with Taliban

“Today, once again the enemy of Afghanistan tried to harm Saleh, but they failed in their evil aim, and Saleh escaped the attack unharmed,” Razwan Murad, a spokesman for Saleh’s office, wrote on Facebook.

He told Reuters the bomb targeted Saleh’s convoy and some of his bodyguards were injured.

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Saleh, a former intelligence chief, has survived several assassination attempts, including one on his office last year that killed 20 people.






Judge says investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan can proceed


Judge says investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan can proceed

The blast killed at least four people and wounded 16, a Health Ministry spokesman said .

Officials and diplomats have warned that rising violence is sapping trust needed for the success of talks aimed at ending an insurgency that began when the Taliban was ousted from power in Kabul by U.S.-back forces in late 2001.

(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Additional reporting by Orooj Hakimi; Writing by Gibran Peshimam and Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)








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