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What we know today, Sunday September 20

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Welcome to your serving of the day’s breaking news from South Australia, the nation and abroad. Follow this post for live updates through the day.

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SA man detained over suburban crime spree

A man has been detained over a crime spree north of Adelaide which included a carjacking, forcing other vehicles from the road, and breaking into a home to ask for a blanket.

The spree began on Saturday night with police called to a disturbance at Freeling, but finding the suspect had fled before they arrived.

Just after 9pm, a family in a ute travelling on the Horrocks Highway just north of Tarlee reported being forced from the road by a silver Rodeo, causing their vehicle to roll several times.

The 30-year-old man, 32-year-old woman and 10-week-old baby girl all received minor injuries in the crash.

About 10 minutes later, a family travelling in a Mitsubishi four-wheel-drive reported having their car stolen, after a silver Rodeo on the wrong side of the road crashed into them.

The man driving the Rodeo allegedly assaulted the male driver before stealing the car.

It’s also alleged he bit a woman on the arm several times before making his escape.

The woman managed to remove her four-month-old baby from the car just before he drove off.

The stolen Mitsubishi was found abandoned in a paddock north of Stockport but an extensive search of the area failed to find the suspect.

Early on Sunday, a woman then reported a man had entered her home asking for a blanket to keep warm.

The 22-year-old was arrested there without further incident and has been taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for a mental health assessment.

Police say he’s expected to be charged with a string of offences including aggravated robbery, several counts of acts to endanger life and assault causing harm.

Vine project to boost wine industry

A $2 million seed bank project to future-proof the Australian wine industry will be developed in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

Yalumba Family Winemakers have won a grant from the state government’s $12 million regional growth fund to deliver the project, which will provide high-quality and disease-free vine material that can been accessed by other grape producers.

Chief viticulturist Robin Nettelbeck said the company would establish an extensive and intensively managed high-health grapevine collection and a large-scale grapevine nursery.

“This project will establish the highest health and most genetically diverse commercial collection of grapevine material in Australia, while establishing the most hygienic and productive field nursery site to propagate best performing vines for the Australian viticultural industry,” Mr Nettelbeck said.

“Australia and in particular South Australia has some of the oldest vines in the world and during last summer’s bushfires, it was devastating to see how quickly some of these were destroyed.

“Our project can effectively act as a seed bank and contribute to the future-proofing of the $45 billion Australian wine industry and provide valuable support to the growing domestic table grape industry.”

Primary Industries Minister David Basham said the vine project was among 16 to get money from the regional growth fund that would create up to 1000 jobs.

“This has been a tough year for South Australians and our regions have been hit particularly hard firstly with drought, then bushfires and now the coronavirus pandemic,” Mr Basham said.

Victoria cases on track for ‘COVID normal’

Victoria’s latest coronavirus numbers are cause for great optimism as the state heads towards new a COVID-19 normal, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says.

Victoria reported just 14 new infections on Sunday along with a further five deaths, taking the state toll to 761 and the national count to 849.

One earlier death has been reclassified.

The 14 cases – the smallest number since the start of the state’s second wave – also pushed Metropolitan Melbourne’s 14-day average down to 36.2, well below the state’s target of 50 to lift some virus restrictions later this month.

“That is proof positive beyond any question that this strategy is working. These numbers are coming down thanks to the hard work of every single Victorian,” Mr Andrews said on Sunday.

“We will continue to see them come down in accordance with our roadmap to COVID normal.

“Ultimately these numbers are a cause for great optimism and positivity right across metropolitan Melbourne.”

The latest figures revealed no new virus cases in regional Victoria where the 14-day rolling average is now down to just 1.8 cases.

There are only 26 active infections across regional areas while the number of active cases in Melbourne has fallen to 743.

Mr Andrews urged people to stay the course and cautioned against any push to lift restrictions ahead of schedule.

“There’s no good opening up too early. There’s no good letting our frustrations get the better of us.

“All that will mean is that every metropolitan has given, everything that everyone has done to produce these low, but still not low enough, numbers will count for nothing.

“Because we’ll be open, yes, but not open for very long.

“This is a good day though. A day Victorians can be proud.”

The next step on Melbourne’s roadmap out of lockdown is from September 28 when some on-site work will return, child care will reopen and some school students will be allowed back into the classroom.

In South Australia, no new cases were recorded on Sunday. The state has now undertaken over 443,000 tests.

PM on road to nowhere on climate: Albanese

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says Prime Minister Scott Morrison is on a road to nowhere on climate policy after the prime minister declined to commit to a net-zero emissions target by 2050, while saying it was achievable.

Ahead of the government’s release of its long-flagged technology roadmap this week, Mr Morrison said zero emissions would certainly be achieved in the second half of this century.

In a pre-recorded interview with ABC television’s Insiders program, the prime minister said it was about the technology the nation invests in when considering how to make such targets happen.

“I’m more interested in the doing,” Mr Morrison said.

“I know people get very focused on the politics of these commitments but what I’m focused on is on the technology that delivers lower emissions, lower costs and more jobs.”

Pressed several times by Insiders’ host David Speers about a commitment to a 2050 zero target, Mr Morrison said: “We are committed to investing in the technology which reduces emissions in this country.”

Labor, business groups, farmers and all the Australian the states and territories want to pursue a net-zero emissions target by 2050.

“The government says they are going to have a roadmap but to a destination that they don’t have,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney.

“A roadmap without a destination is a road to nowhere … it’s only ideology that is standing in the way.”

South Australians remain opposed to open borders

A new poll finds South Australians remain strongly opposed to opening borders to states with COVID-19 transmission.

The Sunday Mail-YouGov poll of 810 people from September 10-16 indicates almost two-thirds oppose the easing of restrictions to states experiencing community transmission of the virus.

The survey comes ahead of a likely easing of border restrictions with New South Wales next week, and after SA lifted the quarantine requirement for people travelling from the ACT to Adelaide by air last Wednesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pushing for a hotspot system, which would restrict movement from a metropolitan area with a rolling three-day average of 10 locally acquired cases per day rather than border bans for entire states.

The border debate comes as the Marshall government unveils an offer of $4m in travel vouchers to encourage South Australians to travel within the state.

Vouchers of up to $100 per booking for ‘staycations’ at select CBD hotels and $50 for regional and suburban accommodation providers will be available from October.

They can be used from October 15 to December 11, excluding Saturday nights.

Labor criticised the offer for not including smaller providers with fewer than 10 rooms, campsites and shared accommodation.

Driver arrested after Adelaide hit-run incident

Police have arrested a driver allegedly involved in a hit-run crash with a pedestrian on North Terrace.

A 21-year-old man was reportedly struck by a sedan near the Railway Station at about 4.20am on Saturday 19 September.

He was treated by paramedics at the scene before being taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for scans, but his injuries are not life-threatening.

The driver of the blue Holden Commodore was involved in an assault in Morphett Street just before the crash.

Police are investigating whether the crash is linked to the prior incident.

Eastern District detectives arrested and charged the alleged driver this afternoon, a 24-year-old man from Elizabeth North, however the blue Holden Commodore is yet to be found.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation or knows the whereabouts of the vehicle involved is asked to contact Crime Stoppers .

It comes after an alleged drunk driver spotted speeding off by police after crashing into a shop front was found nearly seven hours later asleep in his car in the middle of a paddock, this time having taken out a fence.

The 25-year-old Victorian came to the attention of patrol officers in South Australia’s Bordertown after they heard someone doing burnouts and then a loud crash about 11.30pm on Friday.

They followed the noise and spotted a damaged pergola on a cafe in Scott Street along with a silver car being driven erratically.

The officers declined to pursue the vehicle but shortly before 6am responded to reports a car had crashed into a paddock fence on nearby Tatiara Terrace.

The driver allegedly recorded a blood alcohol reading more than double the legal limit and has also been charged with several other offences including breaching cross border community restrictions.

He has had his licence suspended for six months and car impounded for 28 days, and will face Bordertown Magistrates Court on October 29.

Crows players are seen after the Round 18 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and Richmond Tigers at Adelaide Oval. Photo: AAP/David Mariuz

Crows handed wooden spoon after Richmond defeat

Adelaide has finished the AFL season in last place, after being defeated by 44 points by Richmond on Saturday.

The result means the Tigers will finish third and meet Brisbane or Port Adelaide in a qualifying final.

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks now turns his mind to building his squad after Crows finished last for the first time since the club’s 1991 inception.

“It needs to sting,” Nicks said.

The first-year coach will meet next week with all players, including free agent Brad Crouch who is weighing offers from rival clubs.

“I don’t expect an answer next week,” Nicks said.

“That will be something Brad will work through in his own time.”

Nicks will also meet with ex-captain Taylor Walker, who is contracted for next season but uncertain to continue.

Walker on Saturday became Adelaide’s all-time leading goalscorer, passing Tony Modra’s 440-goal tally with a first-term major.

Walker achieved the feat in his 203rd AFL game while Modra took just 118 games from 1992-98.

But his record-breaker was his sole goal for the game as Adelaide were held to their lowest-ever score against Richmond.

Trump ready to appoint Ginsburg successor

A fierce political battle has shaped up over the future of the US Supreme Court, with President Donald Trump saying he’d quickly name a successor to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a move that would tip the court further to the right.

“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices,” Trump said on Twitter.

“We have this obligation, without delay!”

Ginsburg, the senior liberal justice, died on Friday night at age 87 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer after 27 years on the court.

Her death gives Trump, who is seeking re-election on November 3, a chance to expand the court’s conservative majority to 6-3 at a time of a gaping political divide in America.

Trump’s short list of potential nominees includes two women jurists: Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa, according to a source close to the White House.

Democrats are still seething over the Republican Senate’s refusal to act on Democratic President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016 after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died 10 months before that election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2016 said the Senate should not act on a court nominee during an election year, a stance he has since reversed.

Obama called on Senate Republicans to honour what he called that “invented” 2016 principle.

Republicans control 53 of the Senate’s 100 seats and McConnell, who has made confirmation of Trump’s federal judicial nominees a top priority, said the chamber would vote on any Trump nominee.

The news comes as US officials have intercepted an envelope addressed to the White House that contained the poison ricin.

The letter believed to have come from Canada was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump.

Protesters rally against Thailand govt

Anti-government protesters calling for new elections and reforms to Thailand’s monarchy gathered on Saturday for a rally that developed into one of the largest the country has seen in years.

By nightfall, around 200,000 people had arrived at Sanam Luang, an open field near the Grand Palace in Bangkok, according to an estimate by organisers.

Police estimated the turnout to be much smaller, around 20,000.

Demonstrators sat in front of an erected stage where speakers discussed Thai politics and criticised the ruling regime with interludes of musical performances.

The demonstration, which is set to take place through to Sunday, is a culmination of almost daily protests across the country that have called on the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to step down.

Prayuth, a former army chief, has led the country since he seized power from an elected government in a 2014 coup.

Saturday’s protest leaders also called for reforms to the monarchy, a subject conventionally viewed as taboo in Thai society.

In August, leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul had delivered a statement with 10 demands that called for radical changes to the monarchy, such as revoking laws that protect the king against litigation and defamation.

Thailand’s monarchy is protected by strict lese-majesty laws where critical commentary of the king, queen, heir, or regent is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

 – with AAP and Reuters

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