THURSDAY, November 11
The world’s two biggest carbon-polluting countries, China and the United States, have agreed to work together to redouble efforts to fight climate change.
In a surprise joint statement issued at the COP26 climate talks in Scotland, the two countries said the deal called for “enhanced climate action in the 2020s” using the 2015 Paris climate deal’s guidelines, including a new stronger emission cuts target in 2025.
The announcement from the geopolitical rivals adds further weight to a draft agreement released as the talks near their end, and could put further pressure on Australia to boost its commitments.
The agreement vows to ramp up cooperation tackling climate change, including by cutting methane emissions, phasing out coal consumption and protecting forests.
“Both sides recognise that there is a gap between the current effort and the Paris agreement,” China’s chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua said.
“So we will jointly strengthen climate action and cooperation with respect to our respective national situations.”
The Glasgow talks are seen as one of the world’s last opportunities to halt global warming at between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius on pre-industrial levels.
The world is currently on track to hit 2.7 C of warming by 2100, UN analysis released before the Glasgow summit said. The effects of such warming would be catastrophic for the planet, with many of the effects already being felt.
“We both see that the challenge of climate change is an existential and severe one,” Mr Xie said.
“We will take our due responsibilities and work together.”
US climate envoy John Kerry said the agreement was a statement of support for a successful climate summit, with both countries taking a step towards closing the emissions gap.
*The Asia-Pacific region must not return to the tensions of the Cold War era, Chinese President Xi Jinping has told a meeting of regional diplomats and business leaders.
In a recorded video message to the CEO forum that is taking place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Mr Xi said the region should “be forward-looking, move ahead and reject practices of discrimination and exclusion of others”.
“Attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail,” he said.
“The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.”
Mr Xi’s remarks were an apparent reference to US efforts with allies and partners in the region — such as Australia — to blunt what Washington sees as China’s growing economic and military influence.
Australia is a member of several regional groupings with the US, including the Quad with Japan and India, the ANZUS alliance with New Zealand and the recently formed AUKUS alliance with the United Kingdom.
Combative US diplomatic exchanges with China early in Joe Biden’s administration unnerved some allies.
US officials believe direct engagement with Mr Xi is the best way to prevent the relationship between the world’s two biggest economies from spiralling toward conflict.
A date has not been announced for a planned meeting between Mr Xi and Mr Biden, but a person briefed on the matter told Reuters it was expected to be as soon as next week.
China’s military said on Tuesday that it conducted a combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, after its defence ministry condemned a visit by a US congressional delegation to Taiwan.
Australians stopped in cities and towns across the country to mark Remembrance Day at 11:00am today, on what is also the 80th anniversary of the opening of the War Memorial in Canberra.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this is the second year in a row that large-scale events were not possible in Canberra and at other locations.
Instead, people were encouraged to commemorate the occasion at their homes in smaller groups, on what is the 103rd anniversary of Armistice, and the end of World War I.
The memorial also marked its 80th year obscured from view, as construction continues on the $500 million expansion of the historic building.
Due to the construction, both the event and the Stone of Remembrance — a 9-tonne slab of rock — were relocated to a position elsewhere in the memorial grounds.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has threatened to reinstate restrictions on the Gold Coast after an Uber driver was revealed as a new unlinked local infection.
The driver is one of two new local cases recorded in Queensland on Thursday, prompting health authorities to urgently begin tracing the driver’s passengers.
The Uber driver, a man in his 50s, was vaccinated but the Queensland Premier expressed concern for community transmission given the driver’s access to a wide number of residents while infectious for three days.
“If we see more unlinked community transmission on the Gold Coast in the next 24 to 48 hours, we may have to put in some further restrictions,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Thursday morning.
“People should consider wearing a mask on public transport on the Gold Coast but also if they are in crowded situations.
“We want to protect people on the Gold Coast but we do have two more unlinked cases there.”
The Premier said the high vaccination rate on the Gold Coast meant her team had not enforced a lockdown yet but authorities would monitor how the outbreak progresses.
“Not (a lockdown) at the moment, but let’s see how it goes. Let’s see how the next 24-48 hours go,” she said.
“The good news here is the Uber driver was fully vaccinated.
“We are not at 10 per cent or 20 per cent, the Gold Coast is nearly at 80 per cent but we just need to see what the transmission is like in the next 24-48 hours.”
But despite the high vaccination rate in the southeast Queensland city, Ms Palaszczuk said there was still a relatively high number of those who were vulnerable because they were yet to receive their jab.
“I do have concerns and that’s why I’m saying very clearly today we really need to see Gold Coast residents get vaccinated and get tested,” she said.
*Victoria has recorded 1,313 new local COVID-19 cases and four deaths.
There are now 15,675 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 394 people have died during the current Delta outbreak.
The new cases were detected from 67,105 test results received yesterday.
There were 457 people in hospital, of whom 79 were in intensive care with 48 on a ventilator.
There were 10,358 doses of vaccine given at state-run centres yesterday, as well as more vaccinations at GP clinics and other venues.
*Daniel Andrews was advised by police to cancel a press conference amid fears for his safety after a small group of demonstrators protesting vaccine mandates and his new pandemic laws greeted him during a visit to a country town.
The Victorian Premier was visiting Bendigo, about 150km northwest of Melbourne, on Wednesday to unveil the redevelopment of a TAFE college.
However, upon arrival he was greeted by a crowd of demonstrators. News.com.au understands that police were assessing the situation throughout Mr Andrews’ visit and advised him to leave.
He was then swiftly escorted from the campus alongside Victoria Police officers shortly after receiving the advice. It is understood Mr Andrews left Bendigo shortly after.
*An illegal house party held in Canberra’s south over Halloween and attended largely by ACT school students has become a COVID-19 super-spreader event.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said that 33 of the ACT’s COVID-19 cases could be linked to the party, held at a private residence in Wanniassa on October 30.
“ACT Health advised yesterday that 33 cases have now been linked to an event and that is a matter for ACT Policing in terms of the investigation around that event,” she told ABC Radio Canberra this morning.
“Anecdotal reports [are] of a very large house party that clearly would have been in breach of COVID-19 rules.
“I understand from ACT Policing that one person has received an infringement notice in relation to that event, and that police investigations around that are still ongoing.”
At the time, the territory’s COVID-19 restrictions dictated house gatherings of 10 people or less.
A US district attorney has dismissed claims from lawyers that an act of sabotage may have caused the fatal shooting on the set of the film Rust, saying there was no proof for the “conspiracy theories”.
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies revealed investigators still had no idea how live rounds made their way onto the set of the Alec Baldwin film, reports the ABC and Reuters.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded when Baldwin fired a live bullet from a gun he had been told was safe, investigators have said.
Other live rounds were also found on the set.
Last week, lawyers for movie armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed said an act of “sabotage” by disgruntled crew members may have caused the fatal shooting.
“I know that some defence attorneys have come up with conspiracy theories and have used the word sabotage. We do not have any proof,” Ms Carmack-Altwies told Good Morning America.
Asked whether she thought sabotage was a possibility, she said “No.”
Prosecutors have refused to rule out criminal charges over the death of Ms Hutchins.
Heavy rain, storms and flooding are expected in parts of the country as a low pressure system sloshes its way across the country over the next few days.
Weather warnings are currently out for South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Many changing warnings are expected over the next few days, so please keep up to date with your local warnings at ABC Emergency.
So far, major flood levels have been reached on an upper tributary of the Macintyre River at Kettle Swamp Creek on the Queensland, New South Wales border between Warwick and Goondiwindi.
Eighty-nine millimetres of rain have hit the nearby gauge since 9am yesterday.
A general flood warning is out for the border rivers with moderate flood levels expected at Texas later Thursday and minor flood levels likely at Inglewood.
Many locations in Queensland have recorded over 50 millimetres since 9am Wednesday, with widespread falls of over 25mm through the southern border regions and central Queensland.
Most locations in eastern New South Wales have seen some sort of rain since 9am Wednesday, with many over 50mm, including Scone and Moree with 53mm.
How the next few days play out will largely depend on where the low pressure system currently over the centre decides to go.(Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology)
It comes after widespread heavy falls for the west, centre, and Queensland on Tuesday.
Queenslanders are being told to prepare for an onslaught of erratic thunderstorms and torrential rain up to three times the November average from now into the weekend.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the state’s far west can also expect to see destructive winds and hail.
The widespread rain band is expected to cause flash flooding and riverine flooding across much of the state as heavy rainfall descends.
It comes after Ergon Energy reported homes had been badly damaged by extreme weather in and around Roma in central Queensland, where winds of nearly 100 kph hit on Wednesday.
BOM senior forecaster Laura Boekel urged residents in central-western and southern Queensland in particular to be on “high alert” and warned there will be no reprieve in the wild weather over the coming days.
Ms Boekel said while it was hard to predict where floodwaters would be dangerously high, border towns like Goondiwindi have been told to expect the worst.
The State Emergency Service said it received around half a dozen calls for help in Roma and the Southern Downs.
A couple in the US has taken legal action after a mix-up at a fertility clinic in California saw them with another family’s baby, reports the ABC and wire services.
According to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Monday, two couples spent months raising children that weren’t theirs before swapping the infants.
Daphna Cardinale said she and husband Alexander had immediate suspicions the girl she gave birth to in late 2019 wasn’t theirs because of her darker complexion.
They suppressed their doubts because they fell in love with the baby and trusted the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) process and their doctors, Ms Cardinale said.
Learning months later that she had been pregnant with another couple’s baby, and that another woman had been carrying her child, caused enduring trauma, she said.
“I was overwhelmed by feelings of fear, betrayal, anger and heartbreak,” Ms Cardinale said as she announced the lawsuit with her husband.
“I was robbed of the ability to carry my own child. I never had the opportunity to grow and bond with her during pregnancy, to feel her kick.”
The Cardinales’ complaint accuses the Los Angeles-based California Center for Reproductive Health (CCRH) and its owner, Eliran Mor, of medical malpractice, breach of contract, negligence and fraud.
It demands a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages.
Yvonne Telles, the office administrator for the centre, declined to comment on Monday, while Dr Mor could not be reached.
The two other parents involved in the alleged mix-up wish to remain anonymous and plan a similar lawsuit in the coming days, according to lawyer Adam Wolf, who represents all four parents.
Both babies were returned to their biological families in January 2020.
A leading women’s soccer player in France was detained by police in connection with a vicious street assault on a teammate and fellow French national player last week, her club said.
Paris Saint-Germain player Aminata Diallo was returning with fellow midfielder Kheira Hamraoui from a Paris dinner organised by PSG last Thursday when armed men held up their car and dragged out Hamraoui, who was then hit on the legs with an iron bar, L’Equipe newspaper reported.
Hamraoui, who required hospital treatment afterward, was notably absent from the PSG team on Tuesday evening for a Champions League game against Real Madrid at home, with Diallo playing in her place in central midfield.
PSG said it was working with police “to shed light on the facts. The club will be following the investigation and will look at the conclusions that need to be drawn”.
It said that since the attack it “had taken all the necessary measures to ensure the health, well-being and security of its players”.
Diallo, 26, was briefly held by the balaclava-wearing attackers during the assault near Hamraoui’s home, but was not injured, a source at the club told AFP.
The Grenoble-born player could not be reached for comment and neither police nor prosecutors gave any reason for her detention.
According to L’Equipe, Diallo is alleged to have played a role in the attack on Hamraoui.
She was detained by police specialised in organised crime at her home in Marly-le-Roi, a suburb west of Paris.
The development sent shockwaves through the club and the women’s game more broadly in France, with the two players considered friendly rivals for midfield positions at PSG and in the national team.
Hamraoui, 31, returned to PSG last summer from Barcelona, where she won three titles including the Champions League last year.
She was recalled to the French national team in October after a more than two-year absence, but pulled out because of injury.
Diallo, who has been capped seven times by France, was called up to replace her in the squad, but was not used by coach Corinne Diacre.
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