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Australian capital hit by new Covid wave

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Health authorities in Australia’s capital Canberra on Tuesday warned against a new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith revealed that modeling has indicated the territory is currently experiencing another wave of Covid infections, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We are seeing those case numbers starting to increase and we expect that is potentially the start of another wave of COVID-19 through this winter period into July and potentially into early August,” she was quoted as saying.

“We are conscious of that and we are keeping a close eye on the case numbers to see if that trajectory is going to be maintained.”

It comes after the ACT set a new record for Covid-19 hospitalizations.

There were 121 people infected with thevirus being treated in ACT hospitals, marking the highest number since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, according to the latest update on Tuesday.

The ACT government said an outbreak in a cancer ward at Canberra Hospital had contributed to the increase.

Paul Craft, clinical director of the ward, said that authorities were still investigating how Covid had spread in the ward.

“It’s been a little difficult to track where the virus has spread through the population since then, we’re still working on that,” he told local media.

“It will probably be a long time before it’s exactly clear how the outbreak occurred.”

A total of 8,023,259 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Australia, with 9,704 deaths, and 226,653 active cases, according to the federal Department of Health.

There were 3,133 cases being treated in hospitals nationwide, including 111 in intensive care.

On Tuesday, Australia reported more than 30,000 new cases and over 70 deaths.

Business

Google Play introduces UPI Autopay payment in India

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Google announced on Tuesday that it is introducing UPI Autopay as a payment option for subscription-based purchases on Google Play in India.

Introduced under UPI 2.0 by NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India), UPI Autopay helps customers make recurring payments using any UPI application that supports the feature.

“With the introduction of UPI Autopay on the platform, we aim to extend the convenience of UPI to subscription-based purchases, helping many more people access helpful and delightful services – while enabling local developers to grow their subscription-based businesses on Google Play,” Saurabh Agarwal, Head of Google Play Retail & Payments Activation – India, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand said in a statement.

Moreover, UPI Autopay makes setting up subscriptions easy.

Users need to simply tap on the payment method in the cart, select “Pay with UPI,” and then approve the purchase in their supported UPI app after selecting a subscription plan to purchase.

Google Play helps consumers transact safely and seamlessly in more than 170 markets, according to the report.

Also, the platform supports over 300 local payment methods in over 60 countries, removing complexities associated with finding and integrating local payments.

UPI is one such payment option, introduced on the Play Store in India in 2019.

In India, UPI has transformed the mobile payment framework, and on Google Play as well, many people are enjoying and using apps that take advantage of UPI-based transactions, the statement added.

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Business

Unfortunately, there is no choice: Musk on Twitter layoffs

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Elon Musk on Saturday said that there is no choice other than brutally firing half of Twitter’s workforce as the company is losing over $4 million a day.

After axing nearly 3,800 employees across the globe, including in India, the new Twitter CEO said that he has given three months of severance to everyone who has been asked to go.

“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day,” Musk tweeted.

“Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50 per cent more than legally required,” he added.

Musk has laid off people across the departments at Twitter, eliminating several teams across the globe.

He also said that Twitter has seen a massive drop in revenue as activist groups are putting undue pressure on its advertisers.

“Again, to be crystal clear, Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged. In fact, we have actually seen hateful speech at times this week decline below our prior norms, contrary to what you may read in the press,” he posted.

“Twitter will not censor accurate information about anything,” said Musk.

On charging $8 for the Blue subscription service, he said: “Trash me all day, but it’ll cost $8.”

The company lost $270 million in the April-June period after revenue slipped 1 per cent to $1.18 billion, reflecting advertising industry headwinds.

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Business

Foreign tourists to Cambodia’s Angkor up 2,224%

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Cambodia’s famed Angkor Archaeological Park received 169,349 international tourists in the first 10 months of 2022, up 2,224 per cent compared to the same period last year, said an official report on Friday.

The park made $6.76 million in revenue from ticket sales during the January-October period this year, up 2,155 per cent year-on-year, the state-owned Angkor Enterprise’s report revealed.

Holidaymakers from 125 countries and regions visited the site during the period, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.

Located in the Siem Reap province, the 401-square-km Angkor Archaeological Park, inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in 1992, is the most popular tourist destination in the Southeast Asian country.

The Park contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century, including the famous Temple of Angkor Wat.

During the pre-Covidera, the Angkor park received up to 2.2 million international visitors in 2019, generating $99 million in revenue from ticket sales, the Angkor Enterprise said.

According to Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday, high vaccination rates have in part helped revive the kingdom’s tourism industry.

He said Covid-19 vaccines have built herd immunity in Cambodia that has allowed the country to reopen its borders with confidence since late 2021.

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