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What we know today, Monday September 21

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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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Easing infections give hope to Victorians

Victoria has this morning reported just 11 new coronavirus cases and two deaths, taking the state toll to 763 and the national figure to 851.

Melbourne’s 14-day case average has dropped to 34.4, while the regional figure came in at 1.6.

This is the lowest daily COVID-19 case number since June 16, when it was nine – before the start of the state’s second wave.

The 14-day average for cases with an unknown source is down to 47 for Melbourne and there have been none in regional Victoria.

The decline in case numbers is a “cause for great optimism and positivity right across metropolitan Melbourne”, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday after 14 cases were reported.

“That is proof positive beyond any question that this strategy is working,” he said.

Melbourne’s daily average is well below the target of 50 to lift some virus restrictions later this month.

Andrews said the path towards easing rules was being constantly reviewed.

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

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

Optimism has risen among Melbourne small businesses, with a survey showing 35 per cent now believe the Victorian economy will be better in one year’s time.

That compares with just 17 per cent in August believing the state’s economy will improve by then, the latest Sensis Business Index showed.

More also think the national economy will mend, with 26 per cent saying it will be better in a year compared with 14 per cent last month.

Despite the premier’s upbeat tone, frustrations were evident on Sunday as anti-lockdown protests continued in Melbourne.

More than a dozen protesters illegally gathered at Chadstone Shopping Centre and belted out a rendition of John Farnham’s You’re The Voice before police intervened.

Two people were arrested and six were issued fines hefty fines, adding to Saturday’s 16 arrests and 21 fines after up to 100 people rallied in Melbourne’s inner beachside suburb of Elwood.

Woman killed in highway crash

A young Adelaide woman has died after the car she was driving was involved in a crash with a semi-trailer in the state’s Mid North last night.

Police were called to the intersection of Warnertown Road and Augusta Highway after reports of a crash between a Toyota sedan and a semi-trailer about 8.10pm last night.

The driver of the Toyota, a 21-year-old Magill woman died at the scene. Her passenger, a 20-year-year old man from Glynde, was taken to Port Pirie hospital before being airlifted to the Flinders Medical Centre.

His injuries are not considered life-threatening. The truck driver was not injured.

Major Crash Investigators attended the scene to examine the circumstances surrounding the crash. The Augusta Highway was reopened to traffic at about 6am this morning.

The woman’s death is the 67th life lost on SA roads this year compared with 80 at the same time last year.

UK at virus second wave ‘tipping point’

Britain is at a tipping point on COVID-19, health minister Matt Hancock has said, warning that a second national lockdown could be imposed if people don’t follow government rules designed to stop the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 cases have risen sharply in recent weeks to more than 4000 per day. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called it a second wave and stricter lockdown measures have been introduced in areas across the country – with London possibly next in line.

“The nation faces a tipping point and we have a choice,” Hancock told Sky News on Sunday. “The choice is either that everybody follows the rules … or we will have to take more measures.”

Hancock later told the BBC that a second national lockdown was a possible option.

“I don’t rule it out, I don’t want to see it,” he said.

Johnson announced fines of up to 10,000 pounds ($A17,700) on Saturday for people in England who break new rules requiring them to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

In addition to tighter rules on social gatherings across the country, several cities and regions in Britain have had ‘local lockdowns’ imposed, limiting even more strictly when, where and how many people can meet up socially.

The UK has recorded almost 42,000 coronavirus deaths and about 400,000 cases since the pandemic began.

Biden slams Trump’s Ginsberg replacement plan

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has urged Senate Republicans not to vote on any candidate nominated to the Supreme Court as the November election approaches, calling Donald Trump’s plan an “exercise in raw political power.”

Biden was speaking on Sunday, the day that a second Senate Republican voiced objections to Trump’s plan to vote quickly on a replacement to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday.

Such an appointment by the president, if approved by the Senate, would cement a 6-3 conservative majority that could influence American law and life for decades.

“Voters of this country should be heard … they’re the ones who this Constitution envisions should decide who has the power to make this appointment,” Biden said overnight.

“To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise of raw political power.”

Biden said that if he wins the November 3 election, he should have the chance to nominate the next Supreme Court justice.

The former vice-president rejected the idea of releasing the names of potential nominees, saying that doing so, as Trump did, could improperly influence those candidates’ decisions in their current court roles as well as subject them to “unrelenting political attacks.”

He reiterated his pledge to nominate an African-American woman to the court, which would be a historic first, if he has the opportunity.

Trump on Saturday said he will make his nomination this week and named Amy Coney Barrett of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit as possible candidates to fill the vacancy.

Winning Adelaide Fringe design revealed

 

A jauntily moustachioed chap astride a penny-farthing is the winner of the 2021 Adelaide Fringe poster competition.

Adelaide-based freelance digital illustrator Polina Tsymbal, 30, announced as the winner today, moved to Australia from Russia in 2015 and has won the competition at her first attempt.

She said her poster – titled Frederique Fringe – encapsulates the joyfully bold spirit of the Adelaide Fringe.

As part of her prize, Tsymbal won $3,000 and free event registration to present her own exhibition as part of the Adelaide Fringe 2021.

Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO Heather Croall said the judging panel was overwhelmed by the incredible designs submitted by over 350 Australian and international artists.

Read the full story here

Porte secures podium finish as Pogacar claims Tour de France

Tadej Pogacar became the first Slovenian to win the Tour de France overnight and the youngest winner in more than a century as Australian Richie Porte also climbed onto the podium in third.

Pogacar retained the yellow jersey in the 21st stage on the 122-km ride into Paris on Sunday, a day after he pulled off a major coup to take the overall lead.

Irish cyclist Sam Bennett won the final stage to secure the sprint title but the day belonged to Team UAE Emirates rider Pogacar, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Monday and is the youngest man to win the race since Henri Cornet in 1904.

Pogacar, who claimed the yellow jersey from a stunned Primoz Roglic with a monumental performance in Saturday’s time trial, also won the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider and the polka dot jersey for the mountain classification.

Roglic ended up second, 59 seconds behind, with Australian Richie Porte taking third place, 3:30 off the pace.

Pogacar also won three stages in one of the most brilliant individual performances in recent Tour history.

An ecstatic Richie Porte said his brilliant time trial ride to all but claim third spot on the penultimate day of Tour de France felt as good as winning the race.

Porte’s third in the tour is the best finish by an Australian since Cadel Evans won in 2011. The Tasmanian is also only the second Australian to secure a podium finish in the famous event.

Bennett became the first Irishman since Sean Kelly in 1989 to win the green jersey for the points classification, ahead of Peter Sagan who was looking to claim it for a record-extending eighth time.

Bennett was the strongest at the end of the 122-km ride from Mantes-la Jolie on Sunday, beating world champion Mads Pedersen, with Sagan coming home third.

It was an anti-climatic finale on the Champs-Elysees as only 5,000 fans were allowed on the famous avenue as a precaution against the coronavirus.

France reported 13,498 new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the previous 24 hours on Saturday, setting another record in daily additional infections since the start of the epidemic.

Reaching the Champs-Elysees was, however, a relief for organisers, who had imposed strict sanitary rules to protect the race ‘bubble’.

The bubble did not burst as only four team staff members tested positive and were removed from the race, preventing a spread that could have stopped the Tour.

No rider tested positive

Power one win away from AFL minor premiership

Port Adelaide can seal the AFL minor premiership with a win over Collingwood in Brisbane tonight but coach Ken Hinkley says it is not the “be-all and end-all” ahead of a tough finals campaign.

Regardless of the result against Collingwood, the Power will finish in the top two and take the reward of an initial home final.

The Magpies, with a win, could rise to sixth spot and have recalled forward Jaidyn Stephenson at the expense of Callum Brown.

“It would be nice … but it’s not the be-all and end-all,” Hinkley told reporters on Sunday.

“If you ask me do I want it? Yeah, I do want the team to get some recognition.

“It’s a pretty big honour … but there’s bigger stuff to get on with after this week.”

Port made two changes with defender Tom Clurey (hamstring) and Kane Farrell (dropped), replaced by Boyd Woodcock and Jarrod Lienert.

The Power have held top spot at the completion of every round this season – only seven teams have kept top billing throughout an entire home-and-away season in VFL/AFL history.

But, again, Hinkley said taking that slice of history was secondary.

“We want to beat Collingwood,” he said.

“Simple: if we beat Collingwood, we will end up on top of the ladder, so that will take care of itself.

“It’s just part of the journey that we have been on this year.

“It has been a remarkable season for the AFL and it has been a remarkable season for us.

“It would be nice to get to the end of the home-and-away season in good shape and on top of the ladder but we’re one or two (position) regardless.”

 – with AAP and Reuters

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