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Australian Antarctic supply ship erupts in flames

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An investigation is underway after an Australian Antarctic resupply vessel erupted in flames with more than 100 crew on board.The MPV Everest was making its way to Hobart, Tasmania when a fire began in the engine room just after 2pm on Monday.The ship was located about 550 nautical miles north-east of Mawson Station in Australian…

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An investigation is underway after an Australian Antarctic resupply vessel erupted in flames with more than 100 crew on board.

The MPV Everest was making its way to Hobart, Tasmania when a fire began in the engine room just after 2pm on Monday.

The ship was located about 550 nautical miles north-east of Mawson Station in Australian Antarctic Territory and had 109 crew and expedition staff on board at the time.

LIVE UPDATES: Australia asks for immediate advice on AstraZeneca vaccine

The ship’s crew activated the engine room’s water-mist fire suppression system to extinguish the fire.

Roughly three hours later, the fire had been put out with no injured during the incident.

The ship was diverted but has since resumed passage to Tasmania at a reduced speed.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) have begun an investigation into the cuase of the fire.


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Indonesian Navy loses contact with submarine near Bali

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Indonesia’s navy is searching for a submarine that went missing north of Bali with 53 people on board, the military says.Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto on Wednesday said the KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a training exercise when it missed a scheduled reporting call.The submarine was believed to have disappeared in waters about 95 kilometres…

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Indonesia’s navy is searching for a submarine that went missing north of Bali with 53 people on board, the military says.

Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto on Wednesday said the KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a training exercise when it missed a scheduled reporting call.

The submarine was believed to have disappeared in waters about 95 kilometres north of Bali, he said.

READ MORE: ‘Sour Grapes’ wine fraud conman deported to Indonesia

Tjahjanto said the navy had deployed ships to search the area and asked for help from Singapore and Australia, which have submarine rescue vessels.

Local media reports said the navy believed the ship sank into a trough at a depth of 700 metres. There was no immediate information about why it went missing.

The German-built submarine, which has been in service since the early 1980s, was rehearsing for a missile-firing exercise that was to take place on Thursday. Tjahjanto and other military leaders were to attend.

Indonesia currently has a fleet of five submarines and plans to operate at least eight by 2024.

The country has faced growing challenges to its maritime claims in recent years, including numerous incidents involving Chinese vessels near the Natuna Islands.


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Pfizer and Moderna could be produced in Australia

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Coronavirus vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna could be produced in Australia for the first time as the Victorian Government invests $50 million into the domestic manufacturing of mRNA vaccine technology.The state government will work closely with the Commonwealth and world-leading experts to develop the first mRNA manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere, which would be…

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Coronavirus vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna could be produced in Australia for the first time as the Victorian Government invests $50 million into the domestic manufacturing of mRNA vaccine technology.

The state government will work closely with the Commonwealth and world-leading experts to develop the first mRNA manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere, which would be based in Melbourne.

In a statement, the government said mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, were a “promising alternative” to traditional vaccines because of their high efficacy, capacity for rapid development, low-cost manufacture and safe administration.

LIVE UPDATES: Vaccinated man in Brisbane hospital over blood clot concerns

Growing evidence also suggests Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are manufactured in Europe and the United States, will be easier to re-engineer to cover new viral variants than conventional inoculations such as AstraZeneca.

Australia is currently only capable of manufacturing AstraZeneca, with the country’s CSL facility set to make more than 50 million doses.

“This is a very significant announcement, not just for Victoria but for Australia,” Acting Victoria Premier James Merlino said.

The development of the mRNA manufacturing capability would provide vaccine security, ensuring vials can be made locally to avoid global supply chain issues.

Other forms of RNA nanomedicines and mRNA can also be used in the treatment of cancer, rare diseases, cellular engineering and protein-replacement therapy.

Mr Merlino said it would take at least 12 months for any of the vaccines to be manufactured.

READ MORE: Under-50s cancelling COVID-19 vaccine appointments

“It’s vital that we can develop and manufacture mRNA vaccines and treatments locally to ensure we have vaccine security here in Australia and across our region,” he said.

Monash University researcher Professor Colin Pouton said mRNA vaccination was the best way to quickly respond to emerging viruses.

“We are very keen to push ahead with the second generation COVID-19 vaccine we are working on, and looking to the future, we’re collaborating with a number of researchers who are interested in how the mRNA platform could be used for other medical applications,” Professor Pouton said.

It comes as Victoria’s mass vaccination sites opened their doors today to make COVID-19 jabs more accessible.

READ MORE: Australians over 50 to be given access to COVID vaccine

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Eligible Victorians under phase 1a and 1b of the rollout can visit one of the four vaccination hubs at the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and the old Ford Factory in Geelong.

People aged over 70, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 55 and adults with underlying medical conditions are eligible to get the AstraZeneca jab.

Adults aged under 50 who are eligible will also be given the option of receiving AstraZeneca after the two-week pause due to blood clot concerns lifted today.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said he was “delighted” to get the AstraZeneca vaccine today and “couldn’t be happier”.

READ MORE: Man in Brisbane hospital with blood clots after Pfizer vaccine

https://twitter.com/VictorianCHO/status/1384685818929811459

“Caring, professional and efficient approach of everyone at the Royal Exhibition Buildings, especially the ⁦St Vincent’s staff,” he wrote on Twitter.

COVID-10 vaccinations will still be offered at GP clinics.

People who want to get their vaccine at one of the mass sites can make an appointment over the phone or walk-in if they are willing to wait.


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Defence Minister scraps Victoria’s controversial China deal

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Foreign Minister Marise Payne has shredded four state government deals with foreign nations in the first audit of major projects of its kind.All four are in Victoria and include two with China as part of the nation’s Belt and Road Initiative. The other two are with Syria and Iran.”I consider these four arrangements to be…

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Foreign Minister Marise Payne has shredded four state government deals with foreign nations in the first audit of major projects of its kind.

All four are in Victoria and include two with China as part of the nation’s Belt and Road Initiative. The other two are with Syria and Iran.

“I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations in line with the relevant test in Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020,” Ms Payne said in a statement tonight.

The four arrangements are:

– Memorandum of understanding between the Department of Education and Training (Victoria) and the Technical and Vocational Training Organisation, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Islamic Republic of Iran, signed 25 November 2004.

– Protocol of scientific cooperation between the Ministry of Higher Education in the Syrian Arab Republic and the Ministry of Tertiary Education and Training of Victoria, signed 31 March 1999.

– Memorandum of understanding between the government of Victoria and the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, signed 8 October 2018.

– Framework agreement between the government of Victoria and the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China on jointly promoting the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, signed on 23 October 2019.

Victoria’s involvement with the Belt and Road Initiative has come under increasing scrutiny given Australia’s tensions with China in recent months.

Premier Daniel Andrews has defended his state’s agreement with China to support the $1.5 trillion plan from 2018.

The veto scheme giving the Foreign Minister the power to audit deals with foreign nations was introduced in December.

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More than 1000 arrangements between states, territories, local governments and Australian public universities have already been submitted to the minister for consideration.

“The more than 1000 notified so far reflect the richness and breadth of Australia’s international interests and demonstrate the important role played by Australia’s states, territories, universities and local governments in advancing Australia’s interests abroad,” Ms Payne said.

Ms Payne said she would continue to consider submissions made under the scheme and “expect the overwhelming majority of them to remain unaffected”.

As part of the first-ever audit, Ms Payne said she had approved a proposed memorandum of understanding on cooperation on human resources development in energy and mineral resources sector between the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation of the Government of Western Australia and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia.


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