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Covid-19 coronavirus: Australia reports its first case of the South African virus variant | Instant News


World

A highly contagious variant of Covid-19 that authorities have called “very concerning” has made its way to Australia.

A mutant strain of the virus that originated in South Africa and has spread across the UK was identified in a returning traveler who tested positive for COVID-19 in Queensland on December 22.

The woman’s positive test result is a genome sequencing subject identified as 501.V2, considered to be more infectious than the other strains.

The patient was transferred to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, said Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeanette Young.

The state has recorded two coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, both identified in hotel quarantines and acquired overseas.

Dr Young said it was “too risky” to allow interstate travelers to enter the state because a new strain had been discovered. It came a day after a case of a strain of the virus originating in Britain was recorded in South Australia at a medical hotel.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said: “This will be the first positive case of the South African variant in Australia. We have seen other jurisdictions take note of the British variant. But this is the first time South African opinion has been identified in Australia.”

He continued: “The good news about these individuals – is that they were in hotel quarantine at the time they were tested and they have been transferred to hospital.”

Dr Young added that the variant of the virus meant the risk had increased.

“Unfortunately, the risk over the last few months has increased. We are seeing more and more positive cases in people being discharged from abroad and now we have two variants which are quite worrying, developing in the UK and those variants already spreading to other parts of the world, and the South African variant, it increases the risk even more. “

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GO NZ: Te Araroa changed my life walking across New Zealand | Instant News


Travel

Laura Waters, pictured at Masons Hut, the last shack on the South Island on the Te Araroa Trail. Photo / Laura Waters

My eyes cloud as I think about the time I walked from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Here it is again, my friends must be thinking as I talk about the joys, tribulations, and amazing sights encountered during a 3000 km journey through this country. As far as a once-in-a-lifetime trip, setting foot in Te Araroa has been transformative, and its long-term effects on my life have only made it even more memorable. With the challenges of today’s world, fleeing into the wild is again a tantalizing choice.

Long-distance lines are gaining popularity around the world and in 2011 New Zealand launched its own line, a linear route connecting many pre-existing lines with several new links. In the north it winds from the west coast to the east and back again, via secluded beaches, mossy forest, the volcanic desert of Tongariro National Park, and knife-tipped ridges across the Tararua Mountains. To the south, a more direct route up and along the dramatic Southern Alps is required. About once a week, sometimes more often, the walkway intersects the city where hot showers and general stores offer the opportunity to refresh and recharge.

The Te Araroa Trail takes hikers across the country, from remote beaches in the North, to country tracks in the South.  Photo / Laura Waters
The Te Araroa Trail takes hikers across the country, from remote beaches in the North, to country tracks in the South. Photo / Laura Waters

When I left in 2013, Te Araroa was an unknown quantity, a trail that few people have managed to complete. Even though I had walked a dozen or more days under my belt, none were even more than 65 km so it was an experiment with fire on body and mind. I need it. After the closure of toxic relationships and the stress of city life, my world has been taken over by crippling anxiety and depression, the symptoms miraculously and magically disappearing within weeks of being immersed in the peace and simplicity of nature.

Then I fixed a problem I wasn’t even aware of. Walking the trails, I face countless challenges: steep, open mountains, sudden blizzards, a number of unobstructed river crossings, dubious trail signs, shoulder dislocations and, not least, loss of hiking companions. I got injured on the second day. But in overcoming this challenge I found a hitherto untapped inner intellect and courage. I learned to adapt to the environment, listen to my heart’s content and overcome fear. I found I was able to do more than I realized and I noticed how little you need to be happy – food, shelter, and a bag of belongings is enough. It is clear that life can be fun if you simplify it and eliminate the “noise.” The insights gained during those five months changed my life forever, leading to a career change and a substantial re-establishment of personal beliefs and worldviews.

Upper Travers Hut in Nelson Lakes National Park, one of the DoC huts on the Te Araroa trail.  Photo / Laura Waters
Upper Travers Hut in Nelson Lakes National Park, one of the DoC huts on the Te Araroa trail. Photo / Laura Waters

Taking the entire route will give you an experience like no other, but if you can’t spare the time or energy to wade the 3000 km, consider climbing the section, taking bite-sized stages over a long period of time. Alternatively, choose an interesting part of the cherry. The stretch from St Arnaud to Boyle Village, across from Nelson’s Lake National Park on the South Island, really evokes a few tears from me as I see its beautiful snow-capped mountains, fast-flowing rivers and vast boulder fields.

A solitary prostitute descending towards Lake Tekapo on the Te Araroa Line.  Photo / Laura Waters
A solitary prostitute descending towards Lake Tekapo on the Te Araroa Line. Photo / Laura Waters

If you’re curious to know what it’s like to have the beach all to yourself for four days, the first 100 kilometers south of Cape Reinga follows the secluded golden trail of Ninety Mile Beach. Mount Pirongia, in Waikato, marks the first true mountain range for hikers to the south and a two-day portion of its steep green mossy cliffs. Real delights are lesser-known finds such as the stunning jungle on North Island Hakarimata Road or Telford Tops on the Takitimu Trail to the south. The four-day Mavora Walkway, south of Queenstown, is also renowned for its lakes, mountains, beech forest and amazing sense of isolation.

The highlight of the trail – which incidentally doesn’t involve walking – is the 200 kilometers paddling up the Whanganui River. Kayaks and canoes can be rented at Taumarunui for a six-day paddle out to sea in Whanganui. About 200 rapids are scattered along the route, light enough for beginners to traverse yet foamy enough to get their heart racing. In some places, the river carves its way through steep-sided canyon walls dotted with ferns and gushing waterfalls, and campsites overlooking snaking water are some of the most beautiful places I have ever come across.

The Te Araroa Trail passes through the misty and misty forests of the Tararua Mountains.  Photo / Laura Waters
The Te Araroa Trail passes through the misty and misty forests of the Tararua Mountains. Photo / Laura Waters

Most of the nights on the North Island are spent in tents, but on the South Island, hikers can make use of many DoC huts on their way, especially when the weather turns challenging. Buying an inland cottage entry ticket will give you access to all the huts on the trail and while some have all the sophistication and comfort of a garden shed, others are double-layered masterpieces with cozy wood-burning stoves and five-star views.

I’m not going to cover it with sugar, walk all day, every day, need a little energy. I made it past the 10kg Whittakers in the five months it took me to complete the trail and I’m still losing weight (ah, those were the days). Te Araroa is also not for the faint of heart. The terrain is quite challenging at times and can be exposed to bad weather, but nothing compares to the feeling of being completely connected to the mainland as you peer through your flying tent as the moon rises over the remote Ahuriri River Valley. Or the shadow of a killer whale’s dorsal fin slicing through the surface of Queen Charlotte Sound as you follow the ridge trail above. Or a softer owl chirp in the dark northern forest night. Moments like magic make the trouble worth it.

Laura Waters is the author of Bewildered’s memoir, about her 3,000km hike along New Zealand.

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ROAD WAY
The Te Araroa Trail stretches 3000km from Cape Reinga to Bluff and takes between 4-6 months to complete. Topographic maps, track records and further information can be downloaded from teararoa.org.nz

For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newzealand.com

This story was first published in the New Zealand Herald Travel on October 1

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Switzerland hopes to reopen its embassy in Baghdad | Instant News


(MENAFN – Iraq Business News) By John Lee.

Switzerland hopes to reopen its embassy in Baghdad early next year.

The announcement was made after the Head of the Iraqi Protocol Department, Ali Shamran, met with the Swiss Ambassador to Iraq in Amman, Mr. Lukas Gasser, and discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and how to develop them.

Mr Shamran said the reopening of the embassy was important in strengthening cooperation between the two countries, and said that the Ministry would provide all the facilities needed to achieve this goal.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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Kiwi’s father, Craig MacLugash, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Brazil | Instant News


Kiwi Craig MacLugash, second from right, lives in Brazil with his wife Simone MacLugash, son Braedyn MacLugash, 11, and daughter Islay-Karyn MacLugash, 14. Photo / Provided

A Kiwi who dies while riding a motorbike with friends in Brazil is remembered as a loving father and husband who made friends around the world.

Former Auckland business owner Craig MacLugash died on November 7 after colliding with a water truck near his home in Votuporanga, 500 km inland from Sao Paulo.

The 52-year-old is survived by his wife, Simone, daughter Islay-Karyn, 14, and son Braedyn, 11.

MacLugash’s mother and stepfather, Joclyn and Ian Trethowen, spoke with the Herald from their home in Auckland today.

Her son, a successful entrepreneur who retired early, was someone who always worked hard, and who won many friendships, said Joclyn Trethowen.

“He has lots of friends … [and] he is a good father. Children were taken to many places. “

Auckland couple Joclyn and Ian Trethowen lost their son and stepson, Craig MacLugash, in a motorcycle crash in Brazil on November 7.  Photo / Cherie Howie
Auckland couple Joclyn and Ian Trethowen lost their son and stepson, Craig MacLugash, in a motorcycle accident in Brazil on November 7. Photo / Cherie Howie

Māngere College-educated MacLugash has a passion for rugby league, starting in his youth as central midfielder for the Manukau Magpies and then playing in the club’s rugby league in England, and also has deep ties to his father’s home country of Scotland, says Ian Trethowen.

“Very little he doesn’t know about the league. And he is very proud of his Scottish heritage. When he went there, he learned Gaelic, and he was very involved in the Highland Games here.

“She even married in a skirt.”

MacLugash worked as baggage handler for Air New Zealand prior to his electrical apprenticeship and in his 30s has started, with co-owner, construction and maintenance company Total Property Worx.

MacLugash sold half of his business three years ago and is following his dream of moving his family to Simone’s home country of Brazil.

But he’s starting to think about moving closer to home, says Ian Trethowen.

“He’s determined to buy property on the Gold Coast next year.”

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His stepson loved Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bought his own motorbike from the United States.

“He goes horse riding every weekend and enjoys life.”

His family doesn’t know what caused the accident because MacLugash was speeding ahead of others in his motorbike social group when he crashed into a water truck. He was dead by the time his friends called him.

“There are no witnesses and we don’t think there will be a police report, which is pretty tough for us.”

MacLugash has already been cremated and it is likely that Simone will bring his body back to New Zealand next year, said Ian Trethowen.

“Our hope is to take him home.”

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Trump vs Biden: How will it affect Pakistan? | Instant News


(MENAFN – Gulf Times) The race over the White House between US President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden has made history even before voting day. More than 91 million people have cast their votes in the weekend before Election Day.
That’s about 43 percent of all registered voters in the country and two-thirds of the total vote tally in the 2016 poll. Never before have so many people cast their ballots early using the incoming ballot to make sure their votes were counted.
Apparently, the Americans believed that the two candidates made the right choice. But can the outcome of this contest be as important as Pakistan’s?
When the Trump administration took office, bilateral relations between Washington and Islamabad were languid. They stayed that way for at least Trump’s first two years in office.
But a reset was in the works at the end of 2018. And in July of the following year, Prime Minister Imran Khan sat in the White House as President Trump praised Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan and announced its intention to increase bilateral trade by 20 times its current level.
But big talk is fruitless, if any. Obsessed with trimming the runaway U.S. trade deficit, the Trump administration has taken no practical action to increase trade with its trading partners, including Islamabad.
Pakistan’s exports to the US have continued to increase at the same rate for a decade, aid flows to Pakistan have shrunk while imports from the US have continued to increase.
Expected investment flows, such as Exxon Mobil’s return to the domestic market after a two-decade absence, also appear uncertain. The company’s plans for offshore oil and gas exploration stalled and were withdrawn from the LNG terminal project.
What’s more, there isn’t much desire for a deal that breaks doors, at least among Pakistani businesses. The Pakistan Business Council recommended a limited trade deal that could help US soybean farmers and Pakistani textile companies.
The trade body does not support an all-encompassing free trade agreement that it says will open floodgates to imports but does not lead to a proportionate increase in overseas sales for Pakistani businesses.
In short, diplomatic relations have improved greatly in the Trump era but they have not had a major positive impact on economic relations.
Could this trend change significantly if Biden took the lead?
After all, he differs from Trump in a number of policies. Trump lowered taxes for people and companies and wants to extend those cuts from 2025 to 2030.
He has pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement and weakened the World Trade Organization. On the other hand, Biden wants to raise taxes, especially for the rich and says his administration will honor US commitments to climate change.
But the incumbent and the challenger are not very different in their views on foreign trade. President Trump appears much more confrontational with China. His first presidential campaign focused heavily on the scapegoat for Beijing because of the US’s declining competitiveness in manufacturing.
During his tenure, Washington has imposed higher tariffs on Chinese exports worth more than $ 350 billion. The Trump administration is also aiming for Chinese tech giants like Huawei which are pioneers in global 5G technology.
But be tough on China, not just Trump’s doctrine. Biden also showed no intention of being more lenient.
Although he has said he wants to involve US allies in dealing with China, he has made no commitments to cancel US tariffs or other measures against China taken during the Trump era. Biden is also in no rush to sign trade deals or distribute more concessions to trading partners.
He said he would prioritize increasing the competitiveness of domestic companies before signing more international trade deals.
In a recent interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, Prime Minister Imran Khan was asked whom he would prefer to deal with as the next US president. Khan responded by describing the similarities between his own political career and his American counterpart. But he didn’t mention favorites. Is that a diplomatic response?
Maybe, but as far as economic relations are concerned, it’s an accurate assessment.

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Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We are not responsible or liable for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have a complaint or copyright issue related to this article, please contact the provider above.

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