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Australia PM Julia Gillard rescued by police amid protests

Australian PM Julia Gillard and leader of the opposition Tony Abbott have been rescued by the police after becoming trapped by an angry mob of protesters in Canberra.

(BBC NEWS) Canberra - About 50 police escorted the pair from Canberra's Lobby restaurant after it was surrounded by some 200 supporters of the city's Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Mr Abbott had reportedly angered them by suggesting it was time for the camp - marking its 40th year - to come down.

The pair had been at a ceremony for the inaugural National Emergency Medals.

The honours - presented as the country marked Australia Day - were introduced to recognise those who served their communities during events such as the 2009 bushfires in Victoria and the floods in Queensland in 2010 and 2011.

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Coronavirus

Xi's Burden — Why China Is Sticking With Zero COVID

Too much has been put in to the state-sponsored truth that minimal spread of the virus is the at-all-cost objective. But if the Chinese economy continues to suffer, Xi Jinping may have no choice but to second guess himself.

COVID testing in Guiyang, China

Cfoto/DDP via ZUMA
Deng Yuwen

The tragic bus accident in Guiyang last month — in which 27 people being sent to quarantine were killed — was one of the worst examples of collateral damage since the COVID-19 pandemic began in China nearly three years ago. While the crash can ultimately be traced back to bad government policy, the local authorities did not register it as a Zero COVID related casualty. It was, for them, a simple traffic accident.

The officials in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, of course, had no alternative. Drawing a link between the deadly crash and the strict policy of Zero COVID, touted by President Xi Jinping, would have revealed the absurdity of the government's choices.

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