Australia to force Facebook, Google to pay media companies for content

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020   •   427

Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move on Friday (July 31) to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world.

Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

The move comes as the tech giants fend off calls around the world for greater regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook took a battering for alleged abuse of market power from U.S. lawmakers in a congressional hearing.

Following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the U.S. platforms, the Australian government late last year told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content. (Reuters)

(Production: Cordelia Hsu)

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Brisbane, Australia under 3-day lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19 strain

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2021

Australian authorities have implemented a 3-day lockdown in Brisbane to prevent the further spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

This was after a quarantine hotel worker tested positive for the UK COVID-19 variant. The 79 individuals in close contact with the quarantine hotel worker are currently isolated and under quarantine.

Residents are also advised to wear face masks when leaving the house.

Wedding and funeral ceremonies are still allowed but with limited attendees.

Around 2 million residents will have to stay home unless they have to leave due to essential business.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the lockdown will be done “to enable Queensland health authorities to get on top of the UK strain case in Brisbane.”

90 pilot whales die after mass whale stranding in Australia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 22, 2020

At least 90 pilot whales are reportedly dead after around 270 whales washed up on a sandbar in the coast of Tasmania in Australia.

Marine rescue teams arrived on Monday (September 21) to save the whales, however, authorities estimated there will be more casualties due to difficulty in getting the whales back to the ocean.

“We’ve got animals spread over a large area and in really challenging locations. We’re going to take the animals with the best chance to start with and the ones that we are able to deal with,” according to Parks and Wildlife Services marine biologist Dr. Kris Carlyon.

Carlyon also reported that authorities began its large scale operation on Tuesday (September 22), however, he said it will still take days. Experts are still investigating the cause of the mass stranding but it might be due to food hunting. AAC (with reports from Nina Bascon)

Australia extends international travel ban to December 17

Marje Pelayo   •   September 8, 2020

The Australian government has extended the implementation of international border restrictions for at least three more months until December 17. 

This was the decision of the country’s Health Protection Principal Committee given the prevailing global health risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

Australia closed its borders in March to prevent the entry of COVID-19 in the country. 

In July, the Australian government allowed the return of around 4,000 of its citizens and permanent residents. 

To date, only those covered by travel exemptions are allowed to leave or enter the country. 

Travel exemptions can be processed online through the Australian Border Force but only qualified individuals will be granted.

These included those working in essential industries and businesses, those needing immediate medical treatment outside Australia, unavoidable personal circumstance, compassionate or humanitarian grounds or anything related to national security. 

Meanwhile, temporary visa holders need not acquire travel exemptions from authorities as they may leave anytime to be able to return to their home country.

They have to make sure, however, that their country of destination will accept them once they leave Australia.

For list of exempted individuals, travelers may check on the official webpage of the Australian Department of Home Affairs. MNP (with inputs from Danny Delleva)

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