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Australian police said on Thursday they had arrested a 48-year-old man for sending as many as 38 suspicious packages to diplomatic embassies and consulates across the country.

More than a dozen foreign offices received suspicious packages on Wednesday, including the U.S. and British missions in Melbourne.

The man was charged with sending dangerous articles through a postal service and the maximum penalty for the offense is 10 years imprisonment, the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

There was no ongoing threat to the general public, the AFP said.

Police have so far recovered 29 of the 38 parcels but are yet to determine the exact composition of the material in them.

Australian media reported on Wednesday the parcels appeared to contain plastic bags of concrete and asbestos, with “asbestos” written on at least one of the bags.

The Age newspaper reported that one firefighter was seen outside the South Korean consulate carrying a large plastic bag with the word “asbestos” written on it.

Other missions in Melbourne reported by media to have received suspicious packages included those representing Greece, Italy, Spain, Thailand, India, Japan, Pakistan, Egypt, Denmark and Switzerland. Reuters could not confirm the reports.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it had sent an email to all diplomatic missions in Canberra earlier this week after three offices in the capital and Sydney received suspicious packages.

It subsequently sent similar advice to missions around Australia.

“The note advised missions to handle mail in accordance with their own government’s protocols and instructions,” a DFAT spokesman said.

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Shares in Asia set to slip despite Wall Street surge overnight

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Stocks in Asia were set to slip at the open despite an overnight surge on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting a gain of more than 200 points.

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EU will offer Brexit delay, but length depends on UK parliament

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The European Union will grant Britain an extension to its Brexit negotiating period, but the length of the delay will depend on whether Prime Minister Theresa May is able to win a vote in parliament on an exit agreement next week, draft summit conclusions said.

The updated conclusions for an EU leaders’ summit, which have yet to be finalised, said the bloc would grant an extension to May 22 if May is able to get the existing Brexit divorce deal approved by the British parliament.

If she is unable to do so, Britain would only be give a Brexit delay until April 12. At this point the country would face a disorderly Brexit, or could ask for another extension if it agreed to hold European Parliament elections on its soil on May 23-26.

“The European Council agrees to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week,” said the updated draft of the EU leaders’ agreement on Brexit, which was seen by Reuters.

“If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until 12 April 2019 and expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward at the latest by this date.”

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Apple rallies as investors anticipate streaming service announcement

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Apple’s stock is on a tear this week as it releases a string of products in the lead-up to its highly anticipated event on Monday.

The stock had its biggest rally Thursday since January, closing up 3.7 percent at $195.09 per share for its ninth positive day in the past 10 trading days.

Apple fell just short of taking back the title of the world’s largest public company from Microsoft. Still, Apple is once again approaching $1 trillion in market value, adding about $33 billion to its market capitalization Thursday, bringing it to $919.9 billion.

While Apple has put the spotlight on its hardware this week, announcing new iPads, iMacs and AirPods three days in a row (with a fourth product possibly coming Friday), the focus of Monday’s event is expected to be on a new streaming video service. Teasing the event with the slogan, “It’s show time,” Apple is expected to introduce a new streaming TV service that will give iPhone and iPad users access to free original content and subscription channels such as Starz and CBS All Access, CNBC previously reported.

Investors are already seeing a big upside to Apple’s expected venture into streaming. Needham upgraded the stock on Thursday and raised its price target from $180 to $225.

In a note to investors, Needham analysts wrote that if users adopt Apple’s streaming service, it “should lower churn and drive higher lifetime value.” It could even attract new customers to its products and services, they wrote.

Citigroup also raised its price target on the stock from $170 to $220 on Thursday, even though analysts said in a note they don’t anticipate the launch of Apple’s streaming service “to be a big catalyst for the stock.” They noted, rather, that the streaming is meant to drive recurring revenue for the company, in continuation of its services strategy.

Wedbush raised its price target from $200 to $215 Thursday, saying, “Monday’s announcement is just the tip of the iceberg for [Apple CEO Tim] Cook’s broader streaming content strategy to take hold and in our opinion adds a significant potential catalyst to the Apple services growth story for years to come.” The analysts hedged slightly, noting that Apple “is definitely playing from behind the eight ball in this content arms race with Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and AT&T/Time Warner all going after this next consumer frontier.”

Disclosure: Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, is a co-owner of Hulu.

— CNBC’s
Michael Sheetz
contributed to this report.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

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