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Australia Bans Chinese Tech Huawei From Selling 5G Tech Over Security Concerns

Huawei has repeatedly rejected the security concerns, insisting that it is "a private company, owned by our employees with no other shareholders"

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Chinese tech company Huawei said on Thursday that the Australian government has blocked it from providing 5G technology for the country’s wireless networks.

Huawei, one of the world’s biggest makers of smartphones and telecommunications equipment, said that the government had informed it of the decision, reports CNN.

“This is an extremely disappointing result for consumers. Huawei is a world leader in 5G,” the Chinese company said on Twitter.

The announcement follows reports that the Australian national security agencies were concerned about alleged ties between Huawei and the Chinese government.

The Australian government said in a statement on Thursday that the involvement of telecom equipment suppliers “who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law” could mean the country’s wireless carriers are unable “to adequately protect a 5G network from unauthorised access or interference”.

Huawei
Huawei, one of the world’s biggest makers of smartphones and telecommunications equipment, said that the government had informed it of the decision, reports CNN. (IANS)

The statement however, did not mention China or Huawei by name.

Huawei has repeatedly rejected the security concerns, insisting that it is “a private company, owned by our employees with no other shareholders”.

Australia’s relationship with China has come under considerable strain in the past 18 months as Canberra’s focus on Beijing’s influence in domestic affairs has increased, the Guardian reported.

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In March 2017, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop gave a speech in Singapore in which she warned China that “democracy and democratic institutions are essential for nations if they are to reach their economic potential”.

That December, Australia introduced its foreign interference and espionage bills to parliament, both of which were explicitly tied to fears of Chinese influence. (IANS)

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Queensland in Australia to Combat Diseases And Deaths Caused by Climate-change

Forecasters say southeastern Australia can expect more unusually warm and dry conditions in the coming months

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FILE - A dead tree stands near a water tank in a drought-stricken paddock located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

The Queensland state government in Australia is to fund a new program to help combat killer heatwaves and outbreaks of disease caused by climate change. Authorities are even discussing imposing tobacco-style taxes against carbon polluters. The initiative comes as the United Nation chief warned that if the world does not take serious action by 2020, it risks the fallout from “runaway climate change.”

The plan to tackle climate-related disease and deaths from heatwaves is part of the Queensland government’s efforts to cut the state’s carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

The strategy urges bureaucrats and executives to consider health impacts when assessing mining and energy projects. It also encourages the government not to subsidize “activities harmful to health and climate stability”.

It identifies heat stress among children and the elderly as the main concern for the future. Heatwaves are Australia’s biggest natural hazard, killing more people than droughts, floods and bush fires put together.

Other climate-driven health fears are “food and water insecurity, malnutrition, worsening [and] cardiovascular and respiratory” illnesses.

Fiona Armstrong, the head of the Climate and Health Alliance, which helped draw up the plan, said wild conditions can kill.

“You only need to look at the example of thunderstorm asthma in Melbourne a couple of years ago to see how these kinds of events, even though they might be predicted, can really take the sector and the community by surprise,” Armstrong said.

Australia
Tire tracks left by a truck can be seen in a drought-stricken paddock on Kahmoo Station property, located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

Thunderstorm asthma can be triggered when storms play havoc with pollen, causing potentially fatal respiratory problems.

The Queensland plan also identifies the increased risk of mental illness among those affected by a worsening drought that has gripped much of eastern Australia, including much of Queensland and the entire state of New South Wales.

Queensland farmer Sid Plant said federal authorities are not doing enough.

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“Politicians do not seem to want to recognize that climate change is affecting Australia’s farmers. We are feeling the pain as early as anybody in the world. We are not living in the same climate that we were 20 years ago or 50 years ago,” said Plant.

Forecasters say southeastern Australia can expect more unusually warm and dry conditions in the coming months.

Some Australians doubt man’s influence on the climate, insisting that a shifting climate is part of a natural cycle. However, that remains a minority view. (VOA)