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Australia’s most populous state reports first COVID-19 case in more than a month By Reuters

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Australia’s most populous state reports first COVID-19 case in more than a month By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A medical worker swabs a member of the public at the Bondi Beach drive-through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing centre as the city experiences an outbreak in Sydney, Australia, December 21, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

By Colin Packham and Renju Jose

CANBERRA (Reuters) -Australia’s most populous state reported on Wednesday its first locally acquired conoranvirus infection in more than a month, with health authorities working to track down the source.

The first local infection in southeastern New South Wales since March 31 strengthens the prospect that it will resume social distancing curbs, many of which had been eased as cases dwindled.

Although Australia has largely eradicated COVID-19, a man in his 50s with no known links to hotels used to quarantine people who have arrived from overseas tested positive on Tuesday, the state’s health ministry said in a statement.

The unidentified man visited several spot in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, the state capital and Australia’s biggest city, the ministry said.

Testing showed a higher viral load than typically seen in infected people, potentially increasing the chance that the man has spread the disease, the ministry said. He is considered to have been infectious since April 30.

“That give us some cause for concern,” the state’s chief health officer, Kerry Chant, told reporters in Sydney, adding that all those who had been in close contact with the man had been told to self-isolate and get tested.

Authorities are testing to check if the case is genetically linked to anyone in the quarantine system or cases in other states, Chant said.

Australia’s hardline approach to rein in COVID-19, with measures including snap lockdowns, border controls and swift contact tracing has kept its tally of infections at just over 29,800, with 910 deaths since the pandemic began.

However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has drawn wide criticism for a decision to block all travel for two weeks from India, which is battling a massive second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Anger surged after the government vowed on Saturday to punish attempts to enter from India with jail terms of up to five years and fines.

For more than a year, Australia has allowed only citizens and permanent residents to return, though they must spend two weeks in strict quarantine.

Morrison defended the ban on Wednesday, saying it had prevented hotel quarantine sites from being overrun.

“This was a necessary step to ensure that we could help more Australian citizens and residents get home, safely, in a way that did not risk a third wave in Australia,” Morrison told a televised news briefing in the northeastern state of Queensland.

Academics and lawyers have questioned the validity of the India ban, despite the government’s assertion that it was temporary, and on Wednesday a legal challenge was launched.

Lawyers for Gary Newman, a 73-year-old who has been stuck in India since he travelled there in March 2020, will argue that Australia’s conservative government does not have the constitutional power to block people returning from India.

No ruling was given, with Justice Stephen Burley agreeing to set a hearing date within 48 hours.





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U.S. April budget deficit narrows as revenues rise, outlays fall – Treasury By Reuters

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U.S. April budget deficit narrows as revenues rise, outlays fall – Treasury By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The United States Department of the Treasury is seen in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government posted a $226 billion budget deficit in April, a drop of $512 billion or 69% from the gap in April 2020, the first full month of COVID-19 lockdowns, as pandemic-related outlays fell and revenues rose sharply.

The Treasury Department said that the deficit for the first seven months of fiscal 2021 still hit a new record of $1.932 trillion, a 30% increase from the same period of fiscal 2020.

April receipts rose 82% from a year earlier to $439 billion, but the increase is partly due to last year’s deferral of income tax payments to July. The Treasury deferred tax payments this year by only one month, until May 17, with no deferral for corporate taxes.

April outlays were $665 billion, a decrease of 32% from April 2020, as that month contained the bulk of payments to individuals in the first round of coronavirus rescue aid. Payments under President Joe Biden’s stimulus plan this year were mainly sent in March.

Year-to-date receipts for fiscal 2021 totaled $2.143 trillion, up 16% from the year-ago period, while year-to-date outlays totaled $4.075 trillion, up 22%.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Factbox-Republicans erect voting barriers across U.S. battleground states By Reuters

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Factbox-Republicans erect voting barriers across U.S. battleground states By Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Protesters gather outside of the Georgia State Capitol to protest HB 531, which would place tougher restrictions on voting in Georgia, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. March 4, 2021. Georgia enacted the restrictions on March 25. REUTERS/Dustin Chambe

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By Julia Harte

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers in election battleground states have passed a wave of new voting requirements and limits this year, saying the measures are needed to curb voter fraud despite scant evidence of it in the United States.

Backers of the measures cite former President Donald Trump’s baseless claim that fraud underlay his decisive presidential election loss to Democrat Joe Biden in November. Democrats and voting rights advocates have sued state officials over the new laws, denouncing the efforts as partisan power grabs that will disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.

ARIZONA

Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a law on Tuesday to stop counties from automatically mailing Arizonans early ballots if they do not use them often enough. The legislation, also passed on Tuesday, will remove voters from the state’s “Early Voting List” if they fail to submit an early ballot at least once every two election cycles.

Republican lawmakers in most other states have bundled voting restrictions into sweeping bills to pass them in one go, but they are taking a piecemeal approach in Arizona. The state’s legislature is expected to consider other voting hurdles in coming weeks, including a bill requiring absentee voters to provide more proof of identity.

TEXAS

The Texas House of Representatives passed new Republican-backed voting restrictions on May 7, barring officials from mass-mailing absentee ballot applications and giving partisan poll watchers more access to voting sites. The state Senate previously approved its own bill, which would eliminate extended voting hours and prohibit drive-through voting.

A bicameral committee is next expected to combine both bills into a final version, in a largely closed-door process controlled by Republicans. The final measure would then get one last vote from each chamber before heading to Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who has indicated he will sign it into law.

FLORIDA

A law signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on May 6 imposed additional requirements on requesting and submitting absentee ballots. Absentee voters must submit new proof of identity when requesting their ballots and reapply for absentee ballots in each new general election cycle, rather than every two cycles.

The law also limited the use of absentee drop boxes to the early voting period, gave partisan election observers more power to raise objections and required people offering voters assistance to stay at least 150 feet (45 meters) away from polling places, an increase from the previous 100-foot (30-meter) radius.

GEORGIA

One of the most controversial new voting measures passed in Georgia, where Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed a law on March 25 that tightened absentee ballot identification requirements, restricted ballot drop-box use and allowed a Republican-controlled state agency to take over local voting operations.

Critics said the legislation aims to disenfranchise Black voters, who helped propel Biden to the presidency and deliver Democrats two U.S. Senate victories in Georgia in January that gave them control of the chamber. Top U.S. companies also decried Georgia’s law, and Major League Baseball moved its All-Star game out of the state in protest.

IOWA

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law on March 9 that shortened the state’s early voting period and Election Day polling place hours, imposed tighter deadlines for absentee ballots to be submitted, and made it a felony for election officials to disobey guidance from Iowa’s secretary of state, who is currently a Republican.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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White House: Biden spent nearly two hours seeking collaboration in lawmaker meeting By Reuters

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U.S. April budget deficit narrows as revenues rise, outlays fall – Treasury By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the April jobs report from the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden held a “productive” meeting for nearly two hours with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday to identify areas where they could collaborate, especially with regard to infrastructure, the White House said.

“He expressed appreciation for the important priorities on which the parties had been able to work together so far, and that he wants to work diligently to build on those,” the White House said in a statement after the meeting.

“The president also emphasized that whatever differences exist between the parties, the real competition is between the United States and the rest of the world,” it said.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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