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The UK and Australia are in trade talks. Photo: Shutterstock
The UK and Australia are in trade talks. Photo: Shutterstock

While Australia begins to optimistically position itself as a post-COVID free-trading partner with Britain as the UK severs its European partnerships, world powers China and the US are continuing to live under the shadow of coronavirus.

Trade minister Simon Birmingham said Australia had been working on a free-trade agreement since the UK announced its Brexit plans and hoped to settle a deal that would open up new doors for farmers, businesses and investors "as quickly as possible".

The outlook is somewhat gloomier for health and economic recovery in other parts of the world.

Scores of domestic flights in and out of Beijing have been cancelled as officials ramp up attempts to contain a coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese capital over the past week that has sparked fears of renewed wider contagion.

New coronavirus infections have hit record highs in six US states, marking a rising tide of cases for a second consecutive week as most states moved forward with reopening their economies. Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas all reported record increases in new cases yesterday after recording all-time highs last week.

Brazil has reported a record 34,918 new coronavirus cases the same day a senior official helping lead the country's widely criticised response to the crisis said the outbreak was "under control".

According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the global coronavirus death toll stands at 441,505.

As anti-racist protests continue around the world, Indigenous Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy made a powerful speech in the Senate today outlining the circumstances of 31 Aboriginal deaths in police custody between 2017 and March 2019.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson made the next speech, renewing her attack on welfare programs she labelled the "Aboriginal industry". The chamber was almost empty during her speech.

Traditional owners who were devastated by Rio Tinto's destruction of ancient rock shelters in WA say they are trying to restore their fractured relationship but question the sincerity of the company's apology.

The beleaguered Victorian Labour government's branch-stacking scandal has embroiled the deputy chair of Federal Parliament's intelligence committee, Labor MP Anthony Byrne. Mr Byrne is assisting police and anti-corruption authorities after his office was used to secretly record branch-stacking plans by a state Labor party colleague. Watch this space!

Still in Victoria, six youths have been charged after a 15-year-old was stabbed to death during a brawl near his church in Melbourne's west.

And to round off a bad day for Victoria, the state has recorded 21 new cases of coronavirus.

International border tensions are rising as India and China face off over disputed territory. India has confirmed 20 of its men died in a clash with Chinese soldiers near the mountain border running along the Ladakh area of Kashmir.

North Korea has rejected South Korea's offer to send special envoys to ease escalating tensions after North Korea blew up a joint liaison office set up in a border town as part of a 2018 peace agreement.

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This story Australia chases UK trade deal while virus plagues world powers first appeared on The Canberra Times.