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Chinese company blacklisted by the US will build Melbourne’s new trains

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chinese company blacklisted by the us will build melbournes new trains

A Chinese company which was banned in the US over security fears and tied to the nation’s Belt and Road Initiative will build Melbourne‘s new trains. 

CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles won the bid to build 65 new high-capacity metro trains in 2016, just a week before Premier Daniel Andrews travelled to China.

Mr Andrews then went on to strike a deal with the communist country under the Belt and Road Initiative, which allows China to invest in huge infrastructure projects around the world.

Manufacturing company CRRC has been identified as a potential cyber-security threat by the US Defence Department because of its involvement in critical infrastructure, The Age reported. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reacts during a press conference at the Carrum Train Station construction site in Carrum, Melbourne, in January

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reacts during a press conference at the Carrum Train Station construction site in Carrum, Melbourne, in January

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reacts during a press conference at the Carrum Train Station construction site in Carrum, Melbourne, in January

A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in March also found the manufacturer is one of 82 companies benefiting from the use of Uighur workers.

CRRC was launched in 2015 and employs about 180,000 workers at more than 40 subsidiaries. The company made more than $44billion in 2018.

The train program is more than 18 months behind schedule. CRRC was chosen ahead of local manufacturers. 

Mr Andrews maintains Victoria’s Belt and Road deal, along with many others the state has with China, is ‘all about jobs’.

Chinese companies which have been investing in Victorian projects such as the Metro Tunnel have been employing tens of thousands of local workers, he said.

The leader stressed that doesn’t mean he is turning a blind eye to China’s human rights record.

Daniel Andrews (pictured in China's Tiananmen Square) signed a deal with China under the country's controversial Belt and Road Initiative in October 2018

Daniel Andrews (pictured in China's Tiananmen Square) signed a deal with China under the country's controversial Belt and Road Initiative in October 2018

Daniel Andrews (pictured in China’s Tiananmen Square) signed a deal with China under the country’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative in October 2018

‘We don’t agree with China on everything,’ Mr Andrews told reporters in June.

‘But if you want a good trading relationship, if you want to send more Victorian-made product to China, to create jobs here in Victoria, then a good relationship on the things you can agree on is very, very important.’

CRRC has built trains for Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles but faces increased scrutiny in the US.

The manufacturer was identified on a list of Chinese companies working in the US with close links to the Chinese government created by the US Defence Department.

Those on the list could face emergency economic powers and sanctions by the US president. 

Mr Andrews is pictured with Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye

Mr Andrews is pictured with Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye

Mr Andrews is pictured with Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye

Daniel Andrews’ deal with China 

In October 2018, the Victorian Labor government signed a memo of understanding with China under the country’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The BRI is a Chinese plan to establish maritime trade routes and invest in infrastructure projects around the world.

More than 170 memos of understanding have been signed with 125 countries. 

Premier Andrews said he wanted to increase Chinese participation in Victorian building projects, manufacturing, and trade. 

Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang on May 22

Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang on May 22

Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang on May 22

In October 2019, Mr Andrews reached a ‘framework agreement‘ with China that vowed to make a roadmap for cooperation on specific initiatives.

So far the roadmap has not been published. 

Critics say the BRI is a tool to expand influence and power across the globe. 

Federal Liberal MP Andrew Hastie told Daily Mail Australia that Mr Andrews had ‘gone off the reservation by conducting his own foreign policy with China’.  

As trade tensions with China mount, Mr Andrews has been urged to scrap the agreement, which he claims creates jobs for Victorians.  

Michael Schoebridge of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said: ‘The Victorian government’s BRI activities are simply out of step with the new international and economic environment, including the now openly coercive directions that Beijing is taking with Canberra over trade and in government relations.’ 

Victorian Labor senator Kimberley Kitching, chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade References Committee, said: ‘The Victorian government should not have entered into an agreement with the Chinese government on the Belt and Road Initiative – it is bad policy and bad optics.’  

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Australia

Fears Queensland’s incompetent snake catchers putting their lives and those of customers at risk 

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fears queenslands incompetent snake catchers putting their lives and those of customers at risk

Snake catchers with very little understanding of their trade are putting their lives – and those of homeowners – at risk because of lax regulations governing the industry, experts have warned. 

Seasoned Brisbane herpetologist Jonathan Lucas said aspiring snake handlers and re-locators can now get automatically approved to respond to call-outs by the Queensland government’s online system.

He said the application would go through straight away even if the person submitting had uploaded blank documents into the portal.

‘Basically you submit your first aid certificate and accreditation from a snake handling course to an online portal and it’s approved straight away,’ the Fauna Solutions director told Daily Mail Australia.

Pictured: Brisbane herpetologist Jonathan Lucas. He said lax government checks meant snake catchers could get approved to respond to call-outs

Pictured: Brisbane herpetologist Jonathan Lucas. He said lax government checks meant snake catchers could get approved to respond to call-outs

Pictured: Brisbane herpetologist Jonathan Lucas. He said lax government checks meant snake catchers could get approved to respond to call-outs

‘No-one contacts the course either so there’s no checks and balances – it’s all trust. Any man and his dog can get approval.’

Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science has conceded it does not routinely inspect snake handlers in the field, saying it is up to the permit holder to manage safety issues for themselves and their customers. 

The department said though authorised snake catchers were generally ‘highly knowledgeable and provide a high-quality service’. 

‘It’s like getting your driving licence. You’re getting your P-plates but you’re not going to drive a Formula One car – you have to understand the limitations of your training,’ Mr Lucas said.  

The veteran snake handler added the issue also stemmed from inadequate vetting for course providers, who he claimed were setting up shop without having enough knowledge about the dangers involved.

When Mr Lucas started offering handling courses in 2006, he said the accreditation process was rigorous and featured an in-person interview but that had softened in the years since for the standard one or two-day courses.

‘People signing up to some of these lacklustre courses are trusting they’re going to be competent,’ he said. 

‘There’s definitely a group of providers who are not experts on the topic. People I’ve trained have been approved the next year to run their own courses.’

Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation handler Steven Brown said snake catching courses did not cover enough in-field situations that could happen in the field. Pictured is one of Mr Brown's catches

Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation handler Steven Brown said snake catching courses did not cover enough in-field situations that could happen in the field. Pictured is one of Mr Brown's catches

Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation handler Steven Brown said snake catching courses did not cover enough in-field situations that could happen in the field. Pictured is one of Mr Brown’s catches

One Brisbane snake handler said many one-day courses did not cover enough situations they would encounter in the field, and only taught students how to use snake hooks.

Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation handler Steven Brown said the hook technique did not work in hotter months when brown snakes are more active and can easily evade the devices.

‘You need to use your bare hands — gloves make it hard to feel what they’re going to do,’ he told Westside News.

Mr Lucas (pictured) said snake catchers needed to understand the limitations of their training.  'You're getting your P-plates but you're not going to drive a Formula One car,' he said

Mr Lucas (pictured) said snake catchers needed to understand the limitations of their training.  'You're getting your P-plates but you're not going to drive a Formula One car,' he said

Mr Lucas (pictured) said snake catchers needed to understand the limitations of their training.  ‘You’re getting your P-plates but you’re not going to drive a Formula One car,’ he said

The state’s Department of Environment and Science told Daily Mail Australia would-be handlers must submit evidence they have passed an approved snake handling course and have valid first aid training.

‘There is no routine inspection or review of operators in the field but, generally, authorised snake catchers are highly knowledgeable and provide a high-quality service,’ a spokesman said.

‘It is the responsibility of the authority holder to take appropriate steps to manage all the relevant safety issues for themselves and their customers during the removal of the snake.

‘That responsibility is subject to the obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act, which can carry considerable penalties for any breaches of that Act.’ 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Australian cyclist Jai Hindley finishes second in Giro d’Italia after breakthrough performance

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australian cyclist jai hindley finishes second in giro ditalia after breakthrough performance

Jai Hindley has agonisingly missed out on his bid to become the first Australian cyclist to win the prestigious Giro d’Italia.

The 24-year-old from Perth finished entered Sunday’s final stage with a narrow lead but wound up 39 seconds behind his British friend Tao Geoghegan Hart after the decisive final-day time-trial.

In one of the closest finishes ever seen in the race, Hindley – who had only been expected to be a ‘domestique’ who does the hard work to set up a teammate for victory – almost became the second Australian ever to win on of Europe’s ‘grand tours’, following 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.

Hindley and Geoghegan Hart had started the final 21st stage on effectively level on time with the Australian just 0.86 seconds ahead of his British rival, and with the advantage of riding last in the 15.7km time trial.

Cyclist Jai Hindley (pictured left with Tao Geoghegan Hart and Wilco Kelderman) finished runner up at the Giro d'Italia in Italy

Cyclist Jai Hindley (pictured left with Tao Geoghegan Hart and Wilco Kelderman) finished runner up at the Giro d'Italia in Italy

Cyclist Jai Hindley (pictured left with Tao Geoghegan Hart and Wilco Kelderman) finished runner up at the Giro d’Italia in Italy

The West Australian gave everything in a courageous ride as he powered through the streets of Milan yet it was quickly evident at the interim time checks that he was losing time to Geoghegan Hart.

The Briton had beaten Hindley 7-2 in their previous time trials and once again proved too accomplished when it mattered.

It all left Hindley, who could only finish 38th in the time trial, feeling downcast as he reflected on how he had almost joined the winner’s list on the historic event.

‘It’s pretty hard to take because I was so close,’ he said. ‘But when I look back, I’ll be super-proud of what I’ve achieved.

‘These are massive steps forward in my career. These are three weeks that I’ll never forget.’

Hindley said he was thrilled with all the messages of support he had received from fans throughout Australia. 

‘I want to thank everyone who stayed up to watch me,’ he said. ‘It’s really unbelievable the support I’ve had.’

By achieving the best-ever result by an Australian in the Giro, Hindley has transformed his standing in the sport over the past week.

As he cycled into sight of Milan’s famous Duomo cathedral, Britain’s former Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins, commentating on Eurosport, declared: ‘We’re going to be talking about this man a lot for the next 10 years. He’s been fantastic.’

Hindley rides past the gothic cathedral in Milan during the final stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday

Hindley rides past the gothic cathedral in Milan during the final stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday

Hindley rides past the gothic cathedral in Milan during the final stage of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday

Hindley’s Team Sunweb teammate Wilco Kelderman of the Netherlands was third overall at the end of the three-week race.

Geoghegan Hart’s Ineos Grenadiers teammate Filippo Ganna won Sunday’s stage in a time of 17 minutes 16 seconds.

Like Hindley, Geoghegan Hart, who finished 13th on the stage, had expected only to play a support role for his Ineos team leader Geraint Thomas but when the Welshman crashed out, everything changed.

‘It’s incredible,’ he said. ‘It was impossible for me to even think about winning the Giro when we started in Sicily.

‘All of my career I have dreamt of being top 10 or top five in a race like this. During the ITT (individual time trial) my DS (sports director) told me I was faster than Jai Hindley.

‘When my DS told me not to take risks in the final part I understood I was close to the victory.’

Hindley (pictured during the second last stage) started the final day less than one-second ahead of rival Tao Geoghegan Hart

Hindley (pictured during the second last stage) started the final day less than one-second ahead of rival Tao Geoghegan Hart

Hindley (pictured during the second last stage) started the final day less than one-second ahead of rival Tao Geoghegan Hart

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Fridges, TVs and iPads are set to sell for just $10 in an online auction but there’s a catch 

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fridges tvs and ipads are set to sell for just 10 in an online auction but theres a catch

A haul of fridges, TVs, iPads and dishwashers are selling in an online auction for as little as $10 each after their packaging was infested by beetles – but they are no longer under warranty.

More than 2,000 items worth $2million – including washing machines and dryers – will go up for sale on Monday at 7pm.   

The appliances were shipped from Thailand to Australia earlier this year but couldn’t be sold in department stores once beetles were discovered in the containers.

Chief Operating Officer for Hilco Global Michael Hayes, who has been charged with  auctioning the items, said the products were in perfect condition and have been safely fumigated.

‘We’ve got everything from refrigerators to Apple iPads, earphones, we’ve got freezers, 82-inch TVs, dishwashers and washing machines,’ Hayes told Sunrise

At least $2million worth of white goods and electronics (pictured) will be auctioned off online for as little as $10 after a beetle infestation was discovered in their shipping containers

At least $2million worth of white goods and electronics (pictured) will be auctioned off online for as little as $10 after a beetle infestation was discovered in their shipping containers

At least $2million worth of white goods and electronics (pictured) will be auctioned off online for as little as $10 after a beetle infestation was discovered in their shipping containers 

The beetle infestation was only discovered when a woman from Canberra purchased one of the fridges and opened the packaging at home to find it was full of insects.     

Retailers were forced to pull both the infested stock and the goods stored with those items from store shelves.   

All of the products were then inspected and cleared by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.  

‘If you were an expat moving to Australia they would fumigate your household products with the same thing they’ve done here,’ Hayes said. 

The appliances include TVs, fridges, freezers, washing machines and dryers and include well-known brands like Apple, Samsung, KitchenAid and Phillips (pictured above)

The appliances include TVs, fridges, freezers, washing machines and dryers and include well-known brands like Apple, Samsung, KitchenAid and Phillips (pictured above)

The appliances include TVs, fridges, freezers, washing machines and dryers and include well-known brands like Apple, Samsung, KitchenAid and Phillips (pictured above)

Shoppers can expect to purchase goods from beloved brands like Apple, Sony, Samsung, Canon, Bosch and KitchenAid. 

Customers preparing to purchase the goods at a reduced rate will be given the original boxes they were shipped in but they won’t be covered by the original warranty. 

‘There’s no reserves, everything starts at $10. There’s no warranty, hence no reserve,’ he said.

Hayes urged potential buyers to register on the Hilco Global website in order to participate and said purchasing an item was as simple as ‘highest bidder wins’. 

The goods will be auctioned off on the Hilco Global website from 7pm AEDT on Monday until 9pm on Saturday.  

The auction (appliances pictured) will run from Monday evening through to Saturday night

The auction (appliances pictured) will run from Monday evening through to Saturday night

The auction (appliances pictured) will run from Monday evening through to Saturday night 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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