North Korea missile capable of reaching Australia: Bishop

North Korea’s latest missile test is a “serious escalation” which may be capable of reaching Australia, according to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

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“We have been saying for some time North Korea is not just a regional threat it’s a global threat,” Ms Bishop told Sky News. 

The foreign minister said the concern is that North Korea will master the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile. 

“It’s the scale and the pace of North Korea’s testing and the development of its ballistic missile program that makes it a threat not just to South Korea and nations in the region but to the United States and directly to Australia,” the Foreign Minister said.  

0:00 Julie Bishop on the possible threat to Australia Share Julie Bishop on the possible threat to Australia

Ms Bishop once again called on China, a North Korean ally, to take stronger action against the regime ahead of further meetings of the United Nations Security Council on the issue.

“The regime must get a global message that its behaviour is unacceptable,” she said.

The US government has said all options are on the table to deal with North Korea, but the foreign minister said any action would require a “risk assessment”.

“It would mean assured destruction of North Korea if it were to be so provocative and foolhardy as to seek to dump a nuclear payload on the United States.”

Ms Bishop said the US will work with coalition partners, including Australia, on any response but “all options” have to be considered to ensure stability and security in the region.

0:00 Australia in firing line of North Korea missile: analyst Share Australia in firing line of North Korea missile: analyst

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd said the ICBM test,now president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, described the launch as “right up there in the league of provocative activity”.

But Mr Rudd warned against an escalating trade war.

“It’s now entering into the vocabulary of every nation-state that we can take action and counteraction, tariff and counter-tariff,” he told ABC Radio.

“It all heads in a very bad, spiraling direction.”

He urged prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to use the imminent G20 Summit to “argue passionately in favour of keeping the open arteries of trade functioning around the world”.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test believed to have been launched from Panghyon, 100km northwest of the North Korean capital Pyongyang.

The missile flew for almost 1000km over 40 minutes before landing in Japanese waters.

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Peru reveals face of ancient female ruler

She died in her 20s about 1700 years ago and is believed to have ruled over a desert valley in ancient Peru, where her elaborately tattooed body was buried with weapons and gold objects.

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But a glimpse of the former priestess, the Lady of Cao, can now be seen in a replica of her face, which was unveiled in Lima on Monday.

Using 3D imaging technology and forensics archaeology, the replica was based on the mummified remains of the Lady of Cao’s skull and ethnographic research, and took 10 months to create, Peru’s culture ministry says.

Culture Minister Salvador del Solar says the goal was to bring the world closer to one of Peru’s best archaeological finds and remind Peruvians of their rich cultural heritage.

“Its relevance is really incalculable,” del Solar said of the oval-shaped face with high cheekbones on display under a golden crown.

“We can now show the world her face, a face that Peruvians see ourselves in.”

The discovery of the Lady of Cao’s mummified remains in 2005 shattered the belief the ancient Moche society, which occupied the Chicama Valley from about AD100 to AD700, was patriarchal.

Several Moche female mummies have been found since in graves with objects denoting a high political and religious standing.

Archaeologists believe the Lady of Cao died due to complications of childbirth but otherwise lived a healthy life.

Her arms and legs were covered with tattoos of snakes, spiders and other supernatural motifs.

Discovered near her funerary bundle was a strangled adolescent, who might have been a sacrifice to guide her into the afterlife, according to the museum at the El Brujo archaeological site where she was found.

The replica, made by a collaboration of archaeologists, the Wiese Foundation and global imaging company FARO Technologies, will be displayed in Peru’s culture ministry in Lima and then at the museum at El Brujo.

Millions in compensation for former Canadian Guantanamo Bay detainee

Canada’s Liberal government will apologise to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr and pay him around C$10 million  in compensation, two sources close to the matter said on Tuesday, prompting opposition protests.

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A Canadian citizen, Khadr was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 at age 15 after a firefight with US soldiers. He pleaded guilty to killing a US Army medic and became the youngest inmate held at the military prison in Cuba.

Khadr later recanted and his lawyers said he had been grossly mistreated. In 2010, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Canada breached his rights by sending intelligence agents to interrogate him and sharing the results with the United States.

The case proved divisive: defenders called Khadr a child soldier while the then-Conservative government dismissed calls to seek leniency, noting he had pleaded guilty to a serious crime.

“Meet Canada’s newest multi-millionaire – Omar Khadr,” said the Conservatives as they unveiled a protest petition.

Tony Clement, the Conservative Party’s public safety spokesman, said “it is one thing to acknowledge alleged mistreatment, but it is wrong to lavishly reward a convicted terrorist who murdered an allied soldier who had a wife and two children”.

Khadr spent a decade in Guantanamo before being returned to Canada in 2012 to serve the rest of his sentence. He was released on bail in 2015 and lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

The Canadian government and Khadr’s lawyers agreed on the compensation deal, said the sources, who asked to remain anonymous given the sensitivity. Canada has reached a series of expensive settlements with citizens imprisoned abroad who alleged Ottawa was complicit in their mistreatment.

Khadr, 30, had sued Ottawa for C$20 million on grounds of violating his human rights. News of the settlement was broken by the Globe and Mail newspaper.

A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale declined to comment. Khadr’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment. The US Embassy was closed for the July Fourth holiday.

Khadr was taken to Afghanistan by his father, an al Qaeda member, who apprenticed the boy to a group of bomb makers. The father died in a battle with Pakistani forces in 2003.

“It is the right decision in light of the callous and unlawful treatment meted out to Mr. Khadr with the complicity of Canadian officials,” said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

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Gambian schoolkids denied US visas for robotics competition

The group of five teenagers from the tiny West African nation were invited to attend the FIRST Global Challenge in Washington DC this month to show off their engineering skills in front of peers from 160 countries.

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“It is going to be sad if we cannot be in the US to exhibit the robots we built ourselves,” said Fatoumata Ceesay, 17, describing the team dedicating “six to seven hours a day on building the robots” during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The competition is aimed at building interest and confidence in engineering and technology in schools worldwide. Africa has an acute shortage of qualified engineers, according to experts.

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Although the group’s mentor has vowed to reapply for visas costing $170 a piece on their behalf, Ceesay said they could be forced to “ship the robots and follow the proceedings on Skype.”

The US embassy in Banjul did not respond to AFP calls for comment.

Forbes magazine reported last week that six girls from Herat, Afghanistan had faced a similar fate and would be blocked from attending the robot battle, despite two rounds of interviews for a one-week visa.

The US authorities’ decision to deny access to schoolchildren from Muslim-majority African and Asian nations from participating in the science competition follows several other high-profile examples of stricter visa policy since President Donald Trump took power.

In March, every single African due to attend the African Global Economic and Development Summit, a trade conference in California, had their visa request rejected, according to organisers.

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Meanwhile, a separate travel ban now explicitly targets visitors from six countries: Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen, but Afghanistan and The Gambia are unaffected by the travel ban.

The coordinator of the Gambia Robotics Team, Mohtarr Darboe, told AFP they had not given up. “We are reapplying for US visa tomorrow. The Gambian team now consists of five students and one mentor,” he said.

The United States blocked travel visas for Gambian government officials in October 2016 when former president Yahya Jammeh was still in power in a dispute over The Gambia’s refusal to take back illegal immigrants.

$1.1bln NT remote housing rollout begins

Work has begun to address the chronic housing shortages plaguing indigenous communities in the Northern Territory under the government’s 10-year $1.

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1 billion remote accommodation program.

Housing Minister Gerry McCarthy will today visit Titjikala in central Australia, one of 21 Aboriginal communities where Labor’s flagship election promise is rolling out for additional living, sleeping and cooking spaces for local families.

The NT has the worst rates of homelessness and overcrowding in the country, with Aboriginal families making up 98 per cent of those living in severely overcrowded conditions.

The NT royal commission has heard an Aboriginal “housing crisis”, where up to 30 people live under the same roof and kids sleep on the floor, is a key driver of youngsters entering the child protection and youth detention systems.

Crowded housing affects a child’s capacity to maintain hygiene, allows infections to pass quickly, and increases exposure to cigarette smoke and loud noises, while poverty limits nutrition, the commission was told.

This has created an “epidemic” of hearing loss in indigenous children that leads to learning difficulties, family breakdown and criminal involvement.

Mr McCarthy acknowledged the issue has been overlooked for too long.

He says a good home has lasting impacts on health and education outcomes that are key Closing the Gap targets.

“This massive project will create hundreds of jobs and improve thousands of lives,” Mr McCarthy said.

The scheme will be delivered by local workforces to strengthen community economies and will be guided by local decision-making, with tenders awarded to indigenous businesses.

Mr McCarthy concedes the record investment still isn’t enough and he wants federal funding support to match, or better, it.

$1.1 BILLION OVER A DECADE:

– $500m to build new homes.

– $200m to build additional living spaces on existing houses.

– $200m for repairs and maintenance

– $200m for new government employee housing

International markets roundup

NEW YORK: The New York Stock Exchange was closed on Tuesday because of the Independence Day public holiday.

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LONDON: A spate of dealmaking news swept European stocks on Tuesday, with share in Worldpay soaring after approaches to buy the company helped mitigate a broad based pull back from the previous session’s strong gains.

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.3 per cent, in line with a dip in euro zone stocks and Britain’s FTSE index.

The FTSE 100 ended the day 0.27 per cent lower at 7,357.23 points,

On Monday, European shares had their strongest day since April 24, when Emmanuel Macron won the first round of France’s presidential election.

The closure of the US market for the July 4 national holiday also meant volumes were lower than usual.

“Today is a consolidation day after gains yesterday, as we don’t have a US market,” said Angelo Meda, head of equities at Banor Capital.

But dealmaking was back with a vengeance as a key driver of individual share moves.

Payments company Worldpay shares soared 27.7 per cent to a record high after it received rival takeover approaches from credit card tech firm Vantiv and JPMorgan.

This came after Danish rival Nets said on Monday it had received offers. Nets and another German rival Wirecard rose more than four per cent.

“This is one of the most intriguing sub-sectors in the financials space. There are a lot of companies still, and we are probably going to have only one or two big leaders in the payments space,” said Meda.

A further boost to the sector came from news that the European Commission gave its blessing to a state bailout of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, paving the way for a deep restructure of the troubled lender.

TOKYO: Asian shares turned lower on Tuesday as earlier gains were quashed by tensions on the Korean peninsula after North Korea fired a missile that landed in Japanese waters, deepening concerns over the isolated nation’s nuclear capabilities.

European shares were also set to open in the red, with financial spreadbetters expecting Britain’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX to start off 0.2 per cent each, and France’s CAC 40 down 0.3 per cent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.6 per cent after rising earlier.

Japan’s Nikkei also surrendered earlier gains to drop 0.1 per cent, and South Korea’s KOSPI extended losses to trade 0.6 per cent lower.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 13.11 per cent to 3,182.80 points.

North Korea test-launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Tuesday, South Korean and US officials said, days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations are due to discuss steps to rein in Pyongyang’s weapons programs.

The missile flew 930 kilometres before landing in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the South Korean military and Japanese government said.

Tokyo strongly protested what it called a clear violation of UN resolutions, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will ask the presidents of China and Russia to play more constructive roles in efforts to stop Pyongyang’s arms program.

The South Korean won dropped 0.4 per cent to 1,151 won to the dollar as of 0532 GMT.

The nervous mood pushed the safe-haven yen up 0.4 per cent to 113.02 yen per dollar.

“As concerns surrounding the firing of ballistic missiles brewed midday, we are seeing the slide in the Japanese market spreading across to the rest of Asia,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand shares were higher on Tuesday, led by Spark New Zealand and Westpac Banking Corp.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 0.4 per cent, or 32.21 points, to 7,620.64.

Asian stars of Hawaii Five-0 quit the show after being offered less money than white co-stars

Their characters, Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua, will not appear in the upcoming eighth season.

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The characters’ absence will be referenced in the season premiere.

Sources tell Variety that Park and Kim had been seeking pay equality with stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan, but were unable to reach satisfactory deals with CBS Television Studios, which produces the series.

CBS’s final offer to Kim and Park was believed to have been 10-15% lower than what O’Loughlin and Caan make in salary.

O’Laughlin and Caan each have deals that also provide them percentage points on the show’s back end.

“I will never forget meeting Daniel while still writing the pilot and being certain there was no other actor who I’d want to play Chin Ho Kelly,” said executive producer Peter Lenkov.

“Needless to say, Daniel has been an instrumental part of the success of ‘Hawaii Five-0’ over the past 7 seasons and it has personally been a privilege to know him.

Grace’s presence gave ‘Hawaii Five-0’ a beauty and serenity to each episode.

She was the consummate collaborator, helping build her character from day 1.

“They will always be ohana to us, we will miss them and we wish them both all the best.”

A CBS spokesperson said in a statement: “We are so appreciative of Daniel and Grace’s enormous talents, professional excellence and the aloha spirit they brought to each and every one of our 168 episodes.

They’ve helped us build an exciting new Hawaii Five-0, and we wish them all the best and much success in their next chapters. Mahalo and a hui hou…”

Kim and Park have both been cast members on “Hawaii Five-O” alongside O’Loughlin and Caan since CBS premiered a rebooted version of the classic television cop show in 2010.

The “Hawaii Five-0” changes represent the latest in a series of cast overhauls at returning broadcast dramas.

NBC’s “Taken” and ABC’s “Quantico” and “Once Upon a Time” have also parted ways with veteran cast members in the lead up to the coming season.

Rudd says Abbott and Turnbull are ‘tweedledee and tweedledum’ on policy

The government’s policies on climate change, healthcare and the NBN are likely to stay the same even if a leadership spill one day replaces Malcolm Turnbull with Tony Abbott, according to former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

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Speaking on ABC Radio this morning, the former Labor leader was asked whether friction between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott was proof the Liberals had failed to learn from the leadership tussle that plagued Mr Rudd’s own prime ministership.

He said the differences between the two men were superficial on the “big policy changes facing Australia”.

Among those policies were “the future of the national broadband network, the future of climate change action, the future of a sustainable economic growth strategy, NDIS and the future of health reform,” Mr Rudd said.

“Frankly if I look at Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull it just seems to be tweedledum or tweedledee.”

It comes following a week in which Mr Abbott made frequent media appearances, suggesting changes to government policy.

Mr Abbott has also blasted his Liberal colleague Christopher Pyne for a recently leaked recording in which the Turnbull Government minister promised swift action on same-sex marriage and said his moderate faction had gained control of the party.

Mr Abbott has denied claims he is seeking to topple Malcolm Turnbull to regain the prime ministership. 

“I am very happy being a backbench member of the government because it gives me the freedom to speak as I think best, and it gives me more time to be a very conscientious local member,” he said in an interview published in The Manly Daily  on Wednesday.

Vocus shares up as KKR moves closer

US private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has moved a step closer to a takeover of Vocus Group with the telco’s board opening its books to a non-exclusive due diligence.

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KKR had announced a conditional $3.50 a share takeover proposal for Vocus on June 7, valuing the telecom operator at $A3.3 billion, a far cry from the almost nine dollars a share Vocus was commanding in August last year.

At 1020 AEST, Vocus shares were ahead by three per cent, at $3.41.

On Wednesday, Vocus said its board had carefully reviewed KKR’s proposal and decided to allow due diligence in order to establish whether an acceptable transaction could be agreed.

“While we are confident that the management team can deliver on the strategic plan, we believe it is in the best interests of shareholders to grant KKR due diligence to explore whether a potential whole of company proposal is available that takes into account the benefits that the plan delivers,” Vocus chairman David Spence said.

Vocus said it will update shareholders in due course.

KKR’s offer is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, including a nod from the Foreign Investment Review Board; due diligence and a unanimous Board recommendation.

Vocus, which has expanded to become Australia’s fourth-biggest telecommunications company through a series of mergers and acquisitions, cut its full year profit guidance in May, for the second time in six months.

The company, however, reaffirmed the revised guidance in early June, with full-year underlying profit expected to come in between $160 million and $165 million.

Medicare breach: Government criticises fearmongers, says exposure is limited

It’s believed someone breached the security surrounding Medicare details, potentially exposing Australians to fraud.

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Federal police are now investigating the “traditional criminal activity”, which was revealed on Tuesday.

A report on ‘The Guardian Online’ website detailed how one of its own reporters was able to buy his Medicare card number from a darknet trader for less than $30.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge declined to elaborate on the “most likely problem”, but cited previous cases of doctors’ surgeries being broken into.

“I have my strong suspicions but we’re leaving it obviously up to the police to do a proper investigation,” he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

He again admitted the government wasn’t aware Medicare details were being sold on the dark web until the report.

But he insisted personal health records aren’t at risk and those saying otherwise were indulging in fear-mongering and being irresponsible.

“Someone hasn’t hacked into a database,” Mr Tudge said.

“There is no indication this is widespread.”

At least 75 files are believed to have been sold since October last year.

However, Mr Tudge couldn’t confirm this, saying only that the government believed the number of those affected was a “small number in the dozens”.

“The people that we know had a Medicare card number breach, we have contacted,” he said.

Doctors are seeking government assurances that patient records are secure.

“This is a deeply concerning,” Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon said.

The AMA fears the Medicare issue might dissuade Australians from taking part in the government’s ‘My Health Record’ online patient health information program.

“It is so important for the success of the My Health Record that doctors and patients both have absolute confidence in the integrity of the system,” Dr Gannon said.

Mr Tudge later told Sky News he had given the AMA president a confidential briefing.