Australia will spend A$1.1 billion ($725.9 million) to upgrade an airbase in the country's tropical north, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, a development that increases Canberra's military armory in the Pacific. The base in the regional town of Katherine in Australia's Northern Territory will be the home of the country's new fleet of F-35 strike fighters once the upgrade is finished in 2027. The development would also be used by U.S. troops, of whom there are 1,250 stationed in Australia's north.
One of Australia's leading universities said on Friday it is offering Chinese students A$1,500 ($992) if they travel through a third country as higher education providers seek to minimize the impact of a ban on foreigners arriving from mainland China. Australia has since Feb. 1 barred entry to foreigners arriving directly from mainland China, citing a need to stop the spread of the flu-like virus that emerged in China late last year. With the Australian academic year already underway, universities fear thousands of students will withdraw and look at international alternatives if they are unable to get to their classes within weeks.
Ukraine's effort to evacuate more than 70 people from China over the outbreak of a new virus faced setbacks Thursday as weather conditions delayed the return of the evacuees and protests broke out near a hospital where they were to be quarantined. Several hundred residents in Ukraine's Poltava region protested to stop officials from quarantining the evacuees in their village because they feared becoming infected. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy weighed in, saying the protests showed "not the best side of our character." He tried to reassure people that the quarantined evacuees wouldn't pose any danger to residents of the village of Novi Sarzhany.
Electric vehicles have charged up investments around the world, but Australia is revelling in a slew of deals involving old-school petrol stations, with a bidding battle developing for one of its top fuel retailers, Caltex Australia. A shake-up in the structure of the fuel industry over the past decade, sparked by refinery closures and oil major retreats, has produced deals worth $33 billion including offers for Caltex, according to Refinitiv data. "Australia is a high-quality 'short'," said a banker involved in the tussle for Caltex, using the industry term for a market short on fuel and referring to Australia's stable demand.
Following Uesi, which remained well east of Australia earlier in February, the next tropical cyclone to develop will most likely be closer to home.The potential exists for at least one tropical system to develop near Australia in the coming days, threatening northern parts of the country.Should the likely storm become a named tropical system by the Australia Bureau of Meteorology, it would gain the name Esther."The environment on the northern end of Australia is conducive for the development of tropical systems with light wind shear and warm waters will be in place," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls. Two separate areas of open water could produce a more...