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‘Overwhelming’ Afghan visa demands, Serena Williams hints at retirement, and blasts rock Crimean airbase

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Good morning, it’s Amy Hall here with SBS News’ Morning Briefing.

‘Overwhelming’ demand from Afghan nationals seeking Australian visas

, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has described the demand from Afghan nationals for Australian visas as . More than 211,100 Afghan nationals fleeing their homeland are seeking Australia’s protection, but just 6,000 permanent humanitarian visas have been granted so far.The federal government says it’s taking longer than normal to respond to the applications due to the level of demand. “We are applying an enormous number of resources to this problem because it is an enormous priority for the government,” Mr Giles says.

Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit infuriated China. Could tensions impact Australia?

Since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week, China has ratcheted up tensions in the region. It’s fired ballistic missiles and deployed fighter jets, warships and drones as part of its after the self-ruled island hosted a visit from Ms Pelosi – the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. While some experts have supported the trip, others say .

Serena Williams ‘evolving away from tennis’

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, writing in a Vogue article that she’s “evolving away” from the sport. “I have never liked the word retirement,” the former world number one says. “Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution.” Since 2017, the 40-year-old’s been chasing a 24th grand slam title that would see her level with Margaret Court as the most successful women’s player. But after losing in the opening round of Wimbledon this year, she’s downplaying expectations for her final major. “Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try,” she says.

Russia downplays Crimean blasts as explosions of stored ammunition

, killing one person and injuring several others. But Moscow is downplaying the possibility that the site was hit by Ukrainian fire, instead attributing the explosions to detonations of stored ammunition. The popular holiday destination for Russians was used by Moscow as one of the launchpads for its invasion of Ukraine in February.

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