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Australia navy captains disciplined

Asylum seekers often head for Christmas Island, which is part of Australia, via Indonesia

An Australian navy captain has been removed from his command for violating Indonesia’s territorial waters.

Another commanding officer had been “administratively sanctioned” and five more would be given counselling, a defence department statement said.

The incursions took place as the navy took part in border operations under a policy aimed at preventing asylum seekers reaching Australian shores.

Australia has apologised, saying the incursions took place “inadvertently”.

“The Chief of Navy accepts that none of the commanding officers involved deliberately contravened orders not to enter Indonesian territorial waters,” a statement said.

“Notwithstanding, there were, in the Chief of Navy’s view, lapses in professional conduct that required action to be taken.”

In each case, there had been a “clear operational direction not to proceed within 12 nautical miles from the Indonesian archipelagic baseline”.

The positioning of each ship was considered and each commanding officer’s perspective was heard, the statement said.

The government has not revealed details of the incidents, but they are believed to have taken place as navy vessels forced Australia-bound boats carrying asylum seekers back to Indonesia, under a new policy called Operation Sovereign Borders.

Indonesia has described the policy as unhelpful and the issue has strained ties between the two economic allies.

Indonesia serves as a transit point for people smugglers, who ferry asylum seekers to Christmas Island, the closest part of Australian territory, on rickety and over-crowded boats. Many people have died making the journey.

The Australian government says its tough new policy is successfully deterring asylum boats, with no new arrivals since December.

Rights groups have accused Australia of shirking its international obligations, however.

Its asylum policy is also in the spotlight after a young Iranian man died in violence at an Australian immigration detention centre in Papua New Guinea in February.

Several inquiries into who caused the young man’s death are under way.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-27061191#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Australian NSW leader resigns

Mr O’Farrell says he has accepted the consequences of his “massive memory fail”

The leader of Australia’s most populous state has announced his resignation after failing to declare a gift of A$3,000 ($2,800; £1,680) wine.

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell admitted to a “massive memory fail” after telling a corruption inquiry that he never received the wine.

Mr O’Farrell said he could not remember calling businessman Nick Di Girolamo, who sent him the gift in 2011.

He acted after investigators unveiled a handwritten thank you note from him.

‘No recollection’

Mr O’Farrell, leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party, announced his resignation at a press conference in Sydney on Wednesday.

He told reporters that he “did not seek to mislead” the inquiry.

“I do accept there is a thank you note signed by me and as someone who believes in accountability, I accept the consequences of my action,” he said.

He added that a new premier would be elected at a parliamentary meeting next week.

“I still cannot explain either the arrival of a gift that I have no recollection of, or its absence which I certainly still cannot fathom. But I accept the consequences in an orderly way.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who leads the Liberal-National coalition, said Mr O’Farrell’s resignation was a sign of integrity, not corruption.

“Obviously, as we now know, he innocently and inadvertently misled ICAC yesterday and has taken the utterly honourable step of resigning as premier,” he said.

Opposition politician John Kaye said there was a broader lesson in Mr O’Farrell’s announcement.

“This is not about Barry O’Farrell, it is about the culture of politics in New South Wales,” he said.

“Barry O’Farrell was clearly inundated with gifts and donations with lobbyists but he just lost track of what was going on.”

Mr O’Farrell received the bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange Hermitage from businessman Nick Di Girolamo, whose company, Australia Water Holdings, is being investigated by the New South Wales corruption body.

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Australia: Second airport for Sydney

Sydney’s second airport will cost $2.4bn to build and create thousands of jobs

Australia has approved the construction of a second international airport in Sydney at the cost of $2.4bn (£1.4bn).

The new facility will be located at Badgerys Creek, in western Sydney.

Planning and design work would start immediately, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, with construction expected to begin in 2016. Funding would come mostly from the private sector.

The green light from Mr Abbott’s government comes nearly 70 years after the idea was first debated.

The debate on the need for a second airport in Australia’s largest city dates back to 1946. Badgerys Creek was a proposed site but the idea was then shelved for fear of backlash from local voters.

‘Nationwide benefit’

Around 20 sites were considered before the government gave the green light for the new facility about 45km west of Sydney’s central business district.

Based on early estimates, the first flights in and out of the airport are not expected until the mid-2020s.

Speaking outside the parliament in Canberra, the prime minister said Sydney’s second airport will create up to 60,000 jobs when it becomes fully operational.

Mr Abbott has made it clear he wants a curfew-free airport. Sydney’s current Kingsford Smith Airport is only 8km away from the city and it operates with a curfew between 23:00 and 06:00.

Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, welcomed the announcement.

Chief Executive Alan Joyce said in a statement: “Sydney is the key gateway for air traffic in and out of Australia and the benefits of having two major airports will be felt nationwide.”

“We look forward to being part of this process as Badgerys Creek moves closer to reality.”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27030815#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Get the best travel news here curated by Lonely Planet Destination Editors, who use their expertise to bring you the stories that matter from all over the world. In today’s edition: category-5 Cyclone Ita is expected to hit Queensland on Friday, roots music arrives in New Orleans with the opening of the French Quarter Festival and prehistoric Viking logboats and axes have been uncovered in Ireland’s Lough Corrib.

Europe
Asia the Pacific
The Americas
Middle East Africa
Weird, odd just plain fun

YOUR WORLD TODAY

10 April is…
Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland
Feria de Puebla, Mexico
French Quarter Festival, New Orleans

EUROPE

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Europe Destination Editors: Jo CookeJames SmartBrana VladisavljevicKate MorganAnna Tyler and Gemma Graham.


Lough Corrib. Image by Eoin Gardiner / CC BY 2.0

Prehistoric logboats Viking axes uncovered in Ireland
Ancient logboats and weapons have been found in Lough Corrib in County Galway. The weapons include axes and spears, some of which will be displayed at the National Museum’s Battle of Clontarf exhibition, which launches later this month. The logboats – one of which is 4500 years old – remain at the bottom of the lake, and it’s hoped some can be recovered and preserved. Read more: rte.ie

Renovated Pope John Paul II Museum opens to the public
The former home of Pope John Paul II has reopened in Wadowice, Poland, following a multi-million euro project to renovate it. The museum now features multimedia exhibits and artifacts, including the pistol used in the assassination attempt against him in 1981. The museum’s opening ceremony comes ahead of the late pontiff’s canonization on 27 April. Read more: thenews.pl

Aşk-ı Nebi exhibition opens at Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace
An exhibition of Islamic art opened at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul this week as part of celebrations for Holy Week. The exhibition runs until 15 July and features calligraphy and artwork from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries that has not been displayed before. Read more: todayszaman.com


The English Garden, Munich. Image by thoughtbecontact / CC BY 2.0

Munich designates ‘nudist bathing’ areas
Following the expiry of a law requiring sunbathers to cover up in all but a few areas of the city, authorities in Munich have stepped in to declare the areas in which people can sunbathe free of clothes. FKK (Frei Körper Kultur), as its known in Germany, will be permitted in six areas of Munich, including the English Garden. Read more: thelocal.de

Bomb explodes in Athens, Greece
A car bomb exploded outside the Bank of Greece in Athens on Thursday morning, hours before Greece began borrowing international bonds. Several windows were blown out and there was minor damage to surrounding buildings from the blast, but no injuries were reported. Read more: abcnews.go.com

Danube Island Festival announces first acts
The 31st Danube Island Festival (Donauinselfest) held in Vienna has announced its first acts, which include Macy Gray, The Commodores, Kosheen and Count Basic. The free event is one of Europe’s largest open air festivals and is held from 27–29 June. Read more: austriantimes.at

ASIA THE PACIFIC

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Asia the Pacific Destination Editors: Megan EavesSarah ReidJoe BindlossLaura Crawford and Tasmin Waby.


Port Taeha on Ulleung Island. Image by Republic of Korea / CC BY-SA 2.0

Korea plans airports for two tourist islands
Two of South Korea’s most popular tourist islands will get airports that can handle small, 50-seater planes. The airports are planned to open by 2020 on Heuksan, off the country’s southwest coast, and Ulleung, a gateway to the disputed Liancourt Rocks. Currently, it takes seven hours by ferry to reach these islands. Read more: english.chosun.com

Nepal air crash families call for safety warning
Families of the travellers killed in the Sita Airlines crash near Kathmandu in 2012 have called for tour agencies to warn travellers of the safety risks of air travel in Nepal. The country has suffered more than 70 fatal accidents since 1949, with most attributed to poor weather, lax aircraft maintenance and the reliance on line-of-sight landings and take-offs. Read more: bbc.co.uk

Oil spill may force Thai seafood off the menu
Tests are being conducted to determine if an oil spill caused by the sinking of a tanker near Maha Chai, 36km from Bangkok, has contaminated crab and shellfish farms in the area. If toxic substances are found in levels harmful to human health, authorities will advise against consuming seafood that originated in the area. Read more: bangkokpost.com

First 24hr bookstore opens in Beijing
The first bookshop to stay open 24hrs has opened in Beijing. Sanlian Taofen, located in the Meishuguan district, has become the city’s first non-stop bookshop by extending its hours all night. The new hours will be trialled until 18 April, and extended if successful. The store is popular with visitors and expats as it offers a large foreign language section and a cafe. Read more: news.xinhuanet.com

Cyclone Ita expected to hit Queensland
Far north Queensland residents from Cook Town to Port Douglas are preparing for the category-5 cyclone that is expected to hit on Friday. As well as rains and 220km/hr winds, flooding is also a serious risk as the cyclone is expected to arrive at high tide. Read more: couriermail.com.au


Barking deer. Image by Shrikant Rao / CC BY 2.0

Hunting reserve threatened by encroachment
Dhorpatan, Nepal’s only hunting reserve, is increasingly threatened by human encroachment according to a new report. The controversial reserve is a popular destination for hunters from India, Europe and America, who come to hunt Himalayan tahr, blue sheep, wild boar, barking deer and spotted deer. Read more: ekantipur.com

Vietnam’s Hue Festival 2014 begins this weekend
The biggest cultural event in Vietnam kicks off Saturday 12 April in the historic citadel of Hue. The biennial Hue Festival runs until 20 April and features music, dance, street performances, art and traditional boat racing, with both local and international acts. Read more: huefestival.com

Kyoto Imperial Palace spring open days
Kyoto Imperial Palace has opened its gates for visitors to enter without reservations until 13 April. The palace usually requires visitors to apply in advance to enter as part of a guided tour, but waives this process for a few days each year in spring and autumn. Read more: kunaicho.go.jp

THE AMERICAS

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Americas Destination Editors: Clifton WilkinsonDora WhitakerAlex Howard and MaSovaida Morgan.


Puebla, Mexico. Image by Russ Bowling / CC BY 2.0

Puebla begins its Cinco de Mayo celebrations
The annual feria (fair) and international festival in the Mexican city of Puebla has begun. The month-long series of events commemorate the famous battle that took place in the city on 5 May 1862 when Mexican forces defeated a French army. On offer is an international mix of music, dance and theatre performances. Read more: 5demayopuebla.mx

The ‘phablet’ has landed at Delta Air Lines
US carrier Delta is giving 20,000 of its flight attendants ‘phablets’ to help provide better customer service. The devices (the name is a mix of phone and tablet) will ‘further personalise the on-board experience’ according to Delta’s spokesperson, and will be rolled out in October. Read more: usatoday.com

Latin American regatta arrives at historic Chilean port
Ships from six Latin American countries will be docked at the historic Valparaíso seaport for the next four days. The transnational Latin American regatta, Velas Latinoamérica, takes place every four years and the gigantic flags of Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Chile will wave in the harbour until the fleet sails north to Peru. The ships will be open and free to visit until Saturday. Read more: santiagotimes.cl

Urban cable car opens in Bolivia
The world’s highest cable car has opened in La Paz. The cable car will transport commuters from the Bolivian capital up to the city of El Alto, at an elevation of 4150m. Slated to run three lines, the system will be able to transport 18,000 passengers an hour, cutting road traffic down significantly. The red line is scheduled to be fully open to the public in May. Read more: theguardian.com

Rock Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday
Thursday night, in the 29th annual induction ceremony, the likes of Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, Nirvana and Kiss will be joining the hallowed ranks of the Rock Roll Hall of Fame. Held at the Barclay’s Center in New York, the ceremony is open to the public and will feature introductions to the inductees by musicians including Chris Martin, Michael Stipe and Bruce Springsteen. Read more: rockhall.com

Las Vegas stomach bug is identified as norovirus
Health officials in Las Vegas have identified a stomach bug affecting visitors and citizens in the area as norovirus. A recent rise in cases of gastrointestinal illnesses alerted officials of the contagion, which causes vomiting, diarrhoea and cramps, and can’t be treated by antibiotics. Read more: lasvegassun.com


New Orleans French Quarter Festival. Image by: Derek Bridges / CC BY 2.0

New Orleans French Quarter Festival opens
Around 500,000 people will descend on New Orleans from Thursday until Sunday for New Orleans French Quarter Festival – four days of jazz, Cajun, zydeco, gospel music and good times. Stages are erected all around the city’s historic French Quarter and over 1400 acts will be performing music that is indigenous to Louisiana. Food stalls will be serving turtle soup, po’boy sandwiches and lamb sliders. Best thing: the festival is free to enter. Read more: nola.com

Oregon doughnut shop makes Hillary Clinton confection
Voodoo Doughnut of Portland, Oregon, has created a doughnut frosted with a picture of Hillary Clinton after she mentioned the doughnut shop during a speaking engagement. The doughnut is not for sale, but is on display at the downtown shop. Read more: kptv.com

MIDDLE EAST AFRICA

Stories curated by Lonely Planet’s Middle East Africa Destination Editors: Helen Elfer and Matt Phillips.

International visitors flocking to Cape Town
Visitors from the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands flocked to Cape Town during the 2013/14 summer period, resulting in a 15% rise in international arrivals over the previous year. This in turn led to some of the city’s star attractions – Cape Point, Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, VA Waterfront, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – receiving record numbers of visitors over the period. Read more: news24.com

First Ebola survivors return home from hospital
The first group of patients in Guinea to recover from the Ebola virus have left hospital and returned home. There were cheers from members of staff when the patients came out of the treatment centre. This recent outbreak has killed two-thirds of those so far infected, but mortality rates can be as high as 90%. Read more: bbc.co.uk


The 2014 F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. Image by Habeed Hameed / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bahrain pays heed to sports tourism
With record 87% occupancy rates in four- and five-star hotels during the recent Formula 1 event, the Ministry of Culture in Bahrain has said it will continue to promote the area for sports tourism. Read more: traveldailymedia.com

WEIRD, ODD JUST PLAIN FUN

Icelandic cat returns home after seven years
A cat from Reykjavík called Örvar, who went missing in 2007, has been reunited with his owner. Örvar went missing after owner Birkir Fjalar Viðarsson introduced a puppy to his home. He’d given up hope that Örvar would return when he got a call from a cat sanctuary. ‘I think the universe decided to reunite us’, said Viðarsson, ‘so that he can enjoy his golden years in a dignified manner.’ Read more: icelandreview.com
James Smart

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Article source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/blog/2014/04/10/planeteer-cyclone-ita-headed-for-queensland-french-quarter-festival-opens-in-new-orleans-viking-relics-discovered-in-ireland/

Japan and Australia agree trade deal

Australia’s prime minister has called the trade agreement a historic one

Japan and Australia have agreed a trade deal which will see them lower tariffs on imports of key products.

Japan has agreed to lower duties on Australian beef and raise the duty-free quota on cheese – Australia’s biggest dairy export to Japan.

Australia will cut tariffs on Japanese electronics, cars and white goods.

The deal, agreed after seven years of negotiations, is expected to be finalised later this year when Japan’s prime minister visits Australia.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is currently visiting Japan, called the pact a historic one.

“This is the first time that Japan has negotiated a comprehensive economic partnership agreement or free trade agreement with a major economy, particularly a major economy with a strong agricultural sector,” Mr Abbott said.

Broader deal

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Japan knows that America wants it on board, because TPP without Japan is not much worth all that much”

End Quote
Aurelia George Mulgan
University of New South Wales

The pact between the two countries comes as officials are trying to push for an ambitious US-led 12-nation free trade plan, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Negotiations between representatives of the various nations, which include Australia and Japan, hit a roadblock earlier this year.

Differences on the issues of tariffs on imported goods, particularly between the US and Japan, were among the issues that were unresolved.

Agricultural tariffs have become a sticking point for Japan, which is keen to protect its rice, wheat, beef and pork producers from outside competition.

Some analysts suggested that the Australian and Japan deal may help spur progress on the TPP talks.

Aurelia George Mulgan, a professor of Japanese politics at University of New South Wales said the bilateral deal means that “Australia gets preferential treatment over the US.”

She said that US would be under pressure to agree a deal that puts it “on a level playing field with Australia”.

“Japan knows that America wants it on board, because TPP without Japan is not much worth all that much. Japan is playing hardball,” she added.

US President Barack Obama is scheduled to tour the region, including Japan, in the coming weeks and is expected to discuss the issue.

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VIDEO: Royals arrive in New Zealand

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have carried Prince George off the plane at the start of their three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia.

It is the first official tour for the eight-month-old prince, who was awake as the family disembarked in Wellington to be met by waiting dignitaries.

Nicholas Witchell reports.

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Royal trio touch down in New Zealand



Royals in New Zealand

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Prince George was carried off the plane by his mother

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have carried Prince George off the plane at the start of a three-week visit to New Zealand and Australia.

It is the first official tour for the eight-month-old prince, who was awake in his mother’s arms as the trio were greeted at Wellington airport by Prime Minister John Key and waiting media.

It was only the second time the baby has faced the press.

The party were met with cold, wet and windy weather.

After greeting them on the tarmac, Mr Key tweeted: “The Royals have landed in Wellington. Let’s make them very welcome, New Zealand.”

Fashion choices

The couple were then taken to Government House, the official residence of the governor general, where they received a traditional Maori welcome.

They were greeted with a nose-press, called a hongi, and met Maori warriors.

A minor controversy marked the start of the trip – which ends in Canberra on 25 April.

Plunket, New Zealand’s national childcare agency, published photos of a baby seat facing forwards in the royal car, with critics claiming this contradicted Plunket’s advice that children of the prince’s age should face the rear window.

Prince George will only accompany his parents on a few engagements

The couple were greeted with a nose-press, called a hongi

Prince William inspected the New Zealand Air Force Band

Maori warriors greeted the royals at Government House

The duchess’s fashion choices are expected to be closely scrutinised during the tour and she arrived in New Zealand wearing a red coat with gold buttons – from British designer Catherine Walker, who was a firm favourite of Diana, Princess of Wales.

She teamed her outfit with a red pillbox hat designed by Gina Foster and a silver fern-shaped brooch, a symbol of New Zealand.

She has been loaned the diamond and platinum piece by the Queen, who had herself received it as a gift during a visit to Auckland 60 years ago.

Prince George wore a cream cardigan and matching shoes.

Continue reading the main story

Analysis

The reception that William, his wife and son receive over the next three weeks will say something about the vitality of the British crown and its relevance in 2014.

Clearly not everyone who turns out to cheer William, Catherine and George will necessarily subscribe to the view that, 50 years or so from now, when George might be expected to succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom, that he should also become king of Australia and king of New Zealand.

But as ambassadors for the system of hereditary, constitutional monarchy, this trio exert a powerful force.

He will be taken to a few specific engagements throughout the trip, and the programme stops on most days in the late afternoon to allow his parents to get back to him.

The royals flew on a scheduled Qantas flight from Heathrow Airport, via Dubai, to Sydney where they transferred to a military plane.

Their engagements in New Zealand will see them take in a yacht race and visit a Maori tribe, a rugby stadium and a vineyard.

In Australia, their destinations include Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Queensland, Adelaide and Canberra.

Helping oversee the care of Prince George will be his newly-appointed nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, who stayed in the background as the royals received their official welcome to New Zealand.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26917413#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Royal couple arrive in New Zealand



Royals in New Zealand

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Prince George was carried off the plane by his mother

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have carried Prince George off the plane at the start of their three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia.

It is the first official tour for eight-month-old Prince George, who was awake as the royals disembarked in Wellington to be met by waiting dignitaries.

The royal party was greeted by strong winds and rain, the AFP news agency reported.

The tour ends in Canberra on 25 April.

One of the welcoming party was New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, who tweeted: “The Royals have landed in Wellington. Let’s make them very welcome, New Zealand.”

The duchess’s fashion choices are expected to be closely scrutinised during the tour and she arrived in New Zealand wearing a red coat with gold buttons – from British designer Catherine Walker, who was a firm favourite of Diana, Princess of Wales.

She teamed her outfit with a red pillbox hat designed by Gina Foster and a silver fern-shaped brooch, a symbol of New Zealand.

She had been lent the diamond and platinum piece by the Queen, who had herself received it as a gift during a visit to Auckland 60 years ago.

Royals in New ZealandPrince George will only accompany his parents on a few engagements

Prince George was seen to be wearing a cream cardigan and matching shoes.

He will be taken to a few specific engagements throughout the trip, and the programme stops on most days in the late afternoon to allow his parents to get back to him.

The royals flew on a scheduled Qantas flight from Heathrow Airport, via Dubai, to Sydney where they transferred to a military plane.

Their engagements in New Zealand will see them take in a yacht race and visit a Maori tribe, a rugby stadium and a vineyard.

In Australia, their destinations include Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Queensland, Adelaide and Canberra.

Helping oversee the care of Prince George will be his newly-appointed nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo who stayed in the background as the royals received their official welcome to New Zealand.

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26917413#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Boeing to cut 300 Australia jobs

Boeing airplane on tarmac in SydneyBoeing said the cuts were part of its planned financial forecast for 2014

Aerospace giant Boeing says it will cut 300 jobs in Australia, primarily fixed-term contractors, as its aircraft programmes mature in the country.

“This was always our intention when the company’s aircraft programmes stabilised at full production rates,” said Boeing in a statement.

It said the job losses were a “natural part of the manufacturing cycle”.

The cuts come just after other large firms, from Toyota to BP, announced job losses in the country.

Boeing said it would try to minimise job losses by not filling open positions.

The company’s Australia unit employs 1,300 people.

The cuts come a day after Philip Morris announced it would cease cigarette production in Australia and oil giant BP said it would be shuttering a refinery in Brisbane.

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VIDEO: Shark kills woman in Australia

A woman has been killed by a shark while on a popular beach in Australia’s New South Wales.

Christine Armstrong, 63, was swimming between the wharf and the beach in Tathra village when she was attacked.

Inspector Jason Edmunds of New South Wales State Police said there was “no trace” of her body, despite extensive search efforts.

Silvia Costeloe reports.

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