WEDNESDAY NOV 25
The NSW Government has eased coronavirus restrictions, with up to 50 people allowed to gather at private residences and work-from-home orders to be repealed.
From December 1, up to 50 people will be able to gather at a private residence as long as they’re outdoors.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she “recommended” no more than 30 people gathered indoors at homes, but wanted people to use common sense when planning functions.
Up to 50 people will be able to gather in public spaces (previously the limit was 30), while caps at hospitality venues are also increasing.
Restaurants, bars and cafe with up to 200 square metres of floor space will be able to apply the 2-square-metre rule indoors.
From December 14, the public health order requiring employers to allow employees to work from home will also be repealed.
“Hopefully businesses and other organisations can consider having more people in the workplace in a COVID-safe way,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Ms Berejiklian said people who lived in apartments or dwellings without outdoor areas were being “strongly recommended” to keep gatherings to 30 people.
“The health order will say 50 you are allowed, as long as you are utilising an outdoor space,” she said.
“We are really relying on the community’s common sense and good will.”
It’s been 18 consecutive days since the last locally acquired coronavirus infection was found in NSW, although in the 24 hours to 8.00pm yesterday there were four new cases recorded in the state’s hotel quarantine program.
Ms Berejiklian said the community had done “an incredible job this year under trying circumstances”.
Deep in the Mars-like landscape of Utah’s red-rock desert lies a mystery: a gleaming metal monolith in one of the most remote parts of the state, the ABC and Reuters report.
The report said the smooth, tall, three-sided structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in south-eastern Utah, officials said on Monday (local time).
A crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air on November 18 and landed to check it out during a break from their work.
They discovered a stainless-steel object standing 3 to 4 metres high, evoking a similar thing that appears in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The structure is estimated to be more than 3 metres tall.
“We were joking around that if one of us disappears, the rest of us make a run for it,” pilot Bret Hutchings told local TV station KSL.
“We were, like, thinking is this something NASA stuck up there or something? Are they bouncing satellites off it or something?
“I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big 2001: A Space Odyssey fan.”
The object has drawn comparisons to a similar one in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The crew discovered no clues about who might have driven it into the ground among the undulating red rocks, or why.
The surface appears to have screws or other fastenings, indicating it is not a solid piece of metal.
“This thing is not from another world,” said Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety.
Still, it is clear that it took some planning and work to construct the monolith and embed it in the rock.
The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued.
Because it is on federal public land, the object was placed illegally without authorisation.
Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long it has been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it.
US president-elect Joe Biden says his foreign policy agenda will see the United States retake its global leadership role and strengthen its alliances in the Asia-Pacific.
Speaking as he introduced his cabinet picks to the nation, Mr Biden said his selection for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, would rebuild morale and trust in the US State Department.
He said his team would pursue the belief “that America is strongest when it works with its allies”.
“It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it,” he told reporters in Delaware.
In addition to Mr Blinken, Mr Biden’s security team includes Obama White House veteran Jake Sullivan as national security adviser; veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as US ambassador to the United Nations; lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas to be homeland security secretary; and Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, to serve as director of national intelligence.
Ms Haines, if confirmed in the Senate, will be the first woman to hold that post.
Former secretary of state John Kerry will be special envoy on climate change.
Speaking about his calls with world leaders, Mr Biden said he had been struck by “how much they’re looking forward to the United States reasserting its historic role as a global leader over the Pacific, as well as the Atlantic, all across the world.”
He also vowed to strengthen alliances in the Asia-Pacific while touting the diplomatic experience of his team, which he said had secured “some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory” with American allies.
“That’s how we truly keep America safe. Without engaging in needless military conflicts, and our adversaries in check,” he said.
Mr Blinken also stressed the need to work with allies, who Mr Trump often made a target for public criticism as part of his “America First” approach to foreign policy.
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