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Trump hits the links with Abe in Japan & Melania has tea

By Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent For In Tokyo, Japan
Published: 01:34..



By Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent For In Tokyo, Japan

Published: 01:34 EDT, 5 November 2017 | Updated: 01:34 EDT, 5 November 2017

President Donald Trump will hit the links this afternoon with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

Trump and Abe will golf together after a leisurely lunch, then break off and meet up again tonight for dinner.

Their wives met up separately this afternoon for tea. Mrs. Abe and Mrs. Trump are currently receiving a lesson on the history of pearl diving.

Donald and Melania Trump arrived in Tokyo on Sunday morning local time.

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold up hats they have both signed that read

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold up hats they have both signed that read "Donald and Shinzo, Make Alliance Even Greater" at Kasumigaseki Country Club on Sunday. They're going golfing this afternoon

President Trump delivered remarks to the troops at Yokoto Air Base near Tokyo, telling them the U.S. 'will never yield, never waver and never falter in defense of our people,' before he lifted off in Marine One.

'American soldiers are prepared to defend their nation using the full range of our unmatched capabilities,' he said at Yokota. 'No one – no dictator, no regime and no nation – should underestimate ever American resolve.’

Those that have underestimated in the U.S. in the past, 'it was not pleasant for them, was it,' Trump told American and Japanese troops stationed at the base in Western Tokyo.

The president and Japanese prime minister are due this afternoon to catch up over a round of golf.

Hideki Matsuyama, currently the No. 4 ranked pro golfer in the world, will join Trump and Abe on the course, where the U.S. president is likely to play with the golden driver Abe gifted him last year.

Mrs. Abe hosted Mrs. Trump for tea while her husband met with the U.S. president. The two women are taking in the culture of Japan this afternoon, the White House

In the evening, the couples will reunite for dinner at Ginza Ukai Tei, a Japanese fine-dining establishment that’s described on its English-language website as having an ‘atmosphere where art-nouveau and Japanese style meet, and it is just like a museum.’

Trump and Abe’s low-key Sunday precedes a day of rushed talks on Monday that will cover trade negotiations and North Korea’s unruliness. Trump will meet that afternoon with families of Japanese nationals whose loved ones were kidnapped by the North Korean government.

The U.S. president’s day begins with a state call to Japanese Emperor Akihito.

Tokyo is Trump's first overseas stop on a 12-day race around the region. The U.S. president left Washington on Friday for Honolulu, Hawaii, which he used as a stopover on his way to Japan.

Trump will travel to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines before he heads back to the U.S.

Trump and Abe became fast allies during an Oval Office meeting in February shortly after Trump took office. The U.S. president and his wife gave Mr. and Mrs. Abe a lift after that to the Palm Beach club that Trump retains ownership of.

The billionaire president's guest for the weekend, Abe played a round of golf with Trump at the private resort.

Trump was seen making use of the $3,755 gold golf driver that Abe gifted him when he won the presidency during their Mar-a-Lago excursion.

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Australia resists calls for tougher climate targets




Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has resisted pressure to set more ambitious carbon emission targets while other major nations vowed deeper reductions to tackle climate change.

Addressing a global climate summit, Mr Morrison said Australia was on a path to net zero emissions.

But he stopped short of setting a timeline, saying the country would get there “as soon as possible”.

It came as the US, Canada and Japan set new commitments for steeper cuts.

US President Joe Biden, who chaired the virtual summit, pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030. This new target essentially doubles the previous US promise.

By contrast, Australia will stick with its existing pledge of cutting carbon emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels, by 2030. That’s in line with the Paris climate agreement, though Mr Morrison said Australia was on a pathway to net zero emissions.

“Our goal is to get there as soon as we possibly can, through technology that enables and transforms our industries, not taxes that eliminate them and the jobs and livelihoods they support and create,” he told the summit.

“Future generations… will thank us not for what we have promised, but what we deliver.”

Australia is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters on a per capita basis. Mr Morrison, who has faced sustained criticism over climate policy, said action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would focus on technology.

The prime minister said Australia is deploying renewable energy 10 times faster than the global average per person, and has the highest uptake of rooftop solar panels in the world.

Mr Morrison added Australia would invest $20bn ($15.4bn; 11.1bn) “to achieve ambitious goals that will bring the cost of clean hydrogen, green steel, energy storage and carbon capture to commercial parity”.

“You can always be sure that the commitments Australia makes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are bankable.”

Australia has seen growing international pressure to step up its efforts to cut emissions and tackle global warming. The country has warmed on average by 1.4 degrees C since national records began in 1910, according to its science and weather agencies. That’s led to an increase in the number of extreme heat events, as well as increased fire danger days.

Ahead of the summit, President Biden’s team urged countries that have been slow to embrace action on climate change to raise their ambition. While many nations heeded the call, big emitters China and India also made no new commitments.

“Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade – this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” President Biden said at the summit’s opening address.

Referring to America’s new carbon-cutting pledge, President Biden added: “The signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable, and the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”

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Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms




The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

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Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official




Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

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