The Loop: Donald Trump Announces His Own NFT Collection, And Survivors Remember Lindt Cafe Siege On Eighth Anniversary — As It Happened - ABC News

The Loop: Donald Trump Announces His Own NFT Collection, And Survivors Remember Lindt Cafe Siege On Eighth Anniversary — As It Happened – ABC News

This is The Loop, your quick catch-up for this morning’s news as it happens.

Live updates

That’s it for The Loop this morning

By Felicity Ripper

Citizenship ceremonies can now be held outside of Australia Day

By Felicity Ripper

Key Event

The federal government is allowing councils to choose whether or not to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.

They can now hold them three days before or after January 26.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles said some councils wanted to move away from holding the ceremonies on January 26 because of higher costs for operating on a public holiday, and a desire to include the ceremonies as part of a broader program.

China has urged action at a UN nature summit

By Felicity Ripper

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the world to take action on preventing nature loss.

His video message was broadcast to ministers from more than 120 countries assembled in Montreal for the UN biodiversity summit, of which China holds the presidency.

“We need to push forward the global process of biodiversity protection,” he said on Thursday via a translator.

“All living things should flourish without harming each other.”

Countries are attempting to reach a new global deal on protecting nature through 2030, guided by 23 targets.

But progress has been slow.

The talks among delegates began last week but countries haven’t been able to agree on aspects such as funding and how best to protect land and waters.

Tesla closes up despite Musk selling $3.58 billion of its shares

By Bridget Judd

Shares of Tesla have risen slightly, despite news that CEO Elon Musk sold another $US3.58 billion worth of the electric vehicle maker’s stock this week.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks about new Autopilot features during a Tesla event in Palo Alto

The stock closed at $157.67, up less than 1 per cent but still close to its two-year lows.

Musk, the new owner of Twitter, sold the Tesla shares from Monday through Wednesday, according to a filing posted with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Musk has sold nearly $US23 billion worth of Tesla stock since April, with much of the money expected to go towards funding his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter.

NT’s cotton industry is set to double in size

By Felicity Ripper

The chief executive of the NT Farmers Association says the Northern Territory’s cotton industry will double in size this year, expanding from around 8,000 hectares farmed to around 15,000.

It follows a successful harvest, with last season seeing some of the highest prices for Australian cotton, reaching up to $900 a bale.

Paul Burke says the expansion is good for the economy but will be limited for now.

Gift from Ukraine explodes at Polish police headquarters

By Bridget Judd

A gift that Poland’s top police commander received during a recent visit to Ukraine has exploded at national police headquarters in Warsaw.

The commander and a civilian employee suffered minor injuries, the Polish Interior Ministry said.

The explosion happened in a room next to the office of General  Jarosław Szymczyk, the ministry said. It did not specify what object the Polish commander had received during the working visit to Ukraine.

Following the explosion, “the Polish side has asked the Ukrainian side to provide relevant explanations,” the ministry said.

Poland is an ally of Ukraine and has offered the neighboring country various kinds of support, including military and humanitarian aid, since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February.

UK government takes measures to ease penicillin shortages amid spate of Strep A deaths

By Bridget Judd

The British government has announced it will enact protocols to ease shortages of penicillin medicines used to treat Strep A infections.

“The increased demand for the antibiotics prescribed to treat Strep A has meant some pharmacists have been unable to supply the medicine shown on the prescription,” health department minister Will Quince said in a statement.

“These Serious Shortage Protocols will allow pharmacists to supply an alternative form of penicillin, which will make things easier for them, patients, and GPs (doctors).”

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (ECDC) said Europe should be vigilant against severe infections caused by a bacteria called group A Streptococcus in children below 10 years.

More than a dozen childrenin Britain have reportedly died in recent weeks from the infection.

US politicians could be banned from using Tik Tok on government devices

By Felicity Ripper

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s yet to decide whether the House of Representatives will join the Senate in backing legislation to bar federal government employees from using TikTok on government-owned devices.

“We’re checking with the administration – just in terms of language – not in terms of being opposed to the idea,” Ms Pelosi said.

“I don’t know that that will be on the agenda next week, but it’s very, very important.”

The Senate voted to the ban on Wednesday.

It was the latest action by US politicians to crackdown on Chinese companies amid national security fears that Beijing could use them to spy on Americans.

When it comes to the Grammys, Trevor Noah is going for the three-peat

By Bridget Judd

The comedian, who recently left his post as host of The Daily Show, has been asked to be master of ceremonies on February 5, which will be his third time leading the Grammys.

The ceremony will return to Los Angeles after relocating to Las Vegas last year due to rising COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant.

Beyoncé goes into the ceremony with a leading nine nominations, followed closely by Kendrick Lamar with eight.

Adele and Brandi Carlile both received seven nods. Harry Styles, Mary J. Blige, Future, DJ Khaled, The Dream and mastering engineer Randy Merrill each picked up six.

Slovakia’s government has fallen

By Felicity Ripper

Slovakia’s coalition government has fallen after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament called by the opposition.

The development is likely to lead to an early election.

In the country’s 150-seat Parliament, 78 MPs voted to oust the three-party minority government of Prime Minister Eduard Heger.

A man is speaking into a microphone.
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger speaks during a media conference.(AP: Olivier Matthys/ File)

Slovakia’s President will now have to appoint a new prime minister.

Mr Heger has confirmed that he’ll meet the president later today.

January 6 committee to vote on riot criminal referrals next week

By Bridget Judd

The committee investigating the US Capitol riot will hold its final meeting next week, wrapping up its year-and-a-half-long inquiry by asking the Justice Department to investigate potential crimes.

The committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses, held nearly a dozen hearings and collected millions of documents.

The committee will make criminal referrals to the Justice Department recommending prosecution, but it has not disclosed who the targets will be or whether former president Donald Trump would be among them.

It would fall to federal prosecutors to decide whether to pursue any referrals for prosecution.

The royal family has remained silent after new claims from Prince Harry

By Felicity Ripper

The final three episodes of Netflix’s Harry & Meghan documentary have been released worldwide.

And they included more controversial claims from Prince Harry.

He accused Prince William’s office of leaking negative stories about him and his wife Meghan to the media, and said his older brother screamed at him during a family meeting.

The royal family is yet to respond and they probably won’t.

Both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace indicated they would not be responding to the documentary series following the release of the first three episodes.

The National Archives releases documents related to the assassination of John F Kennedy

By Felicity Ripper

The US National Archives has released thousands of documents related to the 1963 assassination of former President John F Kennedy.

The John F Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, established in 1992, consists of approximately five million pages.

The vast majority of the collection has been publicly available without restrictions on access since the late 1990s.

Following today’s release, over 97 per cent of records in the collection are now available.

Cosmonauts’ spacewalk cancelled at space station due to leak

By Bridget Judd

NASA and Russia’s space agency have cancelled a spacewalk by two Russian cosmonauts just as they were preparing to exit the International Space Station, due to an apparent coolant leak from an attached space capsule.

NASA’s Johnson Space Center said Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin were not in danger, nor were other astronauts on the space station.

The cosmonauts had donned spacesuits and depressurised an airlock when the leak appeared on a live video feed.

It was the second time the Russian cosmonauts have had to cancel the spacewalk, after November’s attempt was foiled due a problem with coolant pumps.

Three men have been sentenced over a plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor

By Felicity Ripper

A US judge has handed down the longest prison terms so far in the plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor, sentencing three men who forged an early alliance with a leader of the scheme before the FBI broke it up in 2020.

Joe Morrison, Pete Musico and Paul Bellar didn’t have a direct role in the conspiracy,

But they were members of a paramilitary group that trained with Adam Fox, who faces a possible life sentence in a separate case in federal court.

Russia warns of ‘consequences’ if US missiles go to Ukraine

By Bridget Judd

Key Event

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has warned that if the United States confirms reports that it plans to deliver sophisticated air defence missiles to Ukraine, it would be “another provocative move” that could prompt a response from Moscow.

A firefighter examines a burnt out car.

Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a weekly briefing that the US had “effectively become a party” to the war in Ukraine, following reports that it will provide Kyiv with Patriot surface-to-air missiles.

Growing amounts of US military assistance “would mean even broader involvement of military personnel in the hostilities and could entail possible consequences“, Ms Zakharova added, without specifying what the consequences might be.

It comes after US officials said that Washington was poised to approve sending a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine, finally agreeing to an urgent request from Ukrainian leaders desperate for more robust weapons.

Contaminated spinach lands Aussies in hospital

By Felicity Ripper

Key Event

At least nine people from four separate households across Sydney have needed medical attention after eating packaged fresh spinach, believed to be accidentally contaminated.

People are being urged to throw out any packets of Riviera Farms-brand spinach, sold through retailer Costco, with an expiry date of December 16 this year.

NSW Health said the product was “not safe to consume and people who have it should throw it out”.

Survivors remember the Lindt Cafe siege on its eighth anniversary

By Felicity Ripper

Key Event

This morning marks eight years since two hostages were killed in the Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney’s Martin Place

On this day in 2014, tactical police stormed the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place, ending a 16-hour stand-off with a gunman.

The gunman took 17 staff and customers hostage in the cafe.

Cafe Manager Tori Johnson was killed when Man Haron Monis shot him at point blank range and Barrister Katrina Dawson died when police stormed the cafe.

Survivor Louisa Hope says Christmas and the anniversary of the siege brings back traumatic memories of the day.

Tennis legend Boris Becker has been released from prison

By Felicity Ripper

German tennis legend B