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What we know today, Thursday October 1

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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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South Australia eases some virus measures

South Australia will ease more coronavirus restrictions, allowing patrons in licensed pubs and restaurants to drink while standing but only outdoors.

SA will also ease measures on the events sector to allow private functions with a maximum of 150 people to serve alcohol to people who are standing.

Dancing will also be permitted at those functions.

The two changes will come into force from midnight Friday into Saturday.

Premier Steven Marshall says they will help secure jobs while Police Commissioner Grant Stevens described them as important steps.

The commissioner said new regulations for the annual schoolies celebrations had also been imposed with the number of people in short-stay accommodation and at campsites to be restricted.

Accommodation venues can host as many people as there are beds, plus an additional six people in each site.

Campsites will be limited to a maximum of six adults.

Stevens said with the large scale schoolies gathering in November cancelled this year, there was emerging evidence the activities were being spread over a number of weekends.

“This is obviously designed to ensure we don’t have large groups of young people on small sites,” he said.

South Australia reported no new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and has no active infections.

The state has had only 40 cases in the past five months.

Border testing regime ‘causing sinus problems’

The South Australian Parliament’s COVID-19 Response Committee has heard people living in border communities are dealing with sinus problems and nosebleeds from repeated virus testing.

Liberal MP Nick McBride – who represents the South East electorate of Mackillop – told the committee that rules requiring border travellers to be tested for COVID-19 within the last seven days are having an adverse effect on some members of the community.

“So there has been some feedback there where we’re hearing that cross border community members are being tested so often that we’re hearing about nose bleeds, sore sinuses [and] sore noses,” McBride said.

McBride also noted that stricter testing requirements in Victoria have caused an influx of people to South Australia for the sole purpose of getting tested.

“The testing is required every seven days, and it can only be done in South Australia normally because in Victoria you can only be tested if you’ve got symptoms,” he said.

“So a lot of people are just coming into South Australia, even if they don’t need to come every seven days … so that they’re not ruled out from crossing the border.”

Current border restrictions permit Victorians living within 40km of the border to travel into South Australia for essential purposes only.

Vic records 15 new virus cases, 2 deaths

Victoria has recorded 15 new cases of coronavirus and two more fatalities, bringing the state’s death toll to 800 and the national figure to 888.

The new cases, confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, bring Melbourne’s 14-day average down to 15.6.

There were also 19 mystery cases in Melbourne recorded in the two weeks between September 15 and 28.

Melbourne’s 14-day average needs to drop below five and there must be fewer than five mystery cases in a fortnight before the state further eases restrictions.

Premier Daniel Andrews has said this isn’t likely to happen until October 19.

Zonfrillo hands “final report” to SA authorities

Celebrity chef Jock Zonfrillo’s controversial Orana Foundation is hailing the delivery of a “final Milestone Report” to the South Australian Government for its $1.25 million taxpayer-funded Indigenous Food Database – although it’s unclear when or even if the resource will become publicly available.

The Foundation yesterday “announced the launch” of the project – on the day of its agreed completion date with the State Government – after an ongoing saga that has already seen Zonfrillo embroiled in a legal brawl with the University of Adelaide and sue News Corp Australia for defamation.

The Government, however, told InDaily it had only received “a progress report… at this time”.

In a statement yesterday, the Foundation declared “the findings of the Database [had been] introduced to media and key members of the Australian Indigenous community” via an online conference featuring Wakka Wakka woman and Orana Foundation Board Director Jo Willmot, Arabella Douglas from Currie Country and Daniel Motlop from Something Wild Australia.

However, the contents of the Database “are currently with the leading Indigenous intellectual property lawyers in Australia, Dr Terri Janke and Company, to ensure all ethical research obligations are met and Indigenous Cultural and IP protocols have been followed”, the Foundation declared.

“After Dr Janke’s work is complete, the Database will be handed over to an Indigenous entity which will be the custodian of the Database moving forward.”

In a statement, Zonfrillo said: “It has always been our intention for Indigenous people to decide where to from here with the Database.”

“It could be a time capsule for traditional knowledge, it could be used by schools for education, it could be commercialised… whatever the future of the Database is, it will be decided by Indigenous people in a time and manner that they wish.”

The statement noted that the project was majority funded by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, with the Foundation “commissioning The University of Adelaide as their research partner”.

However, the University was unaware of yesterday’s announcement, a spokesman telling InDaily: “The University of Adelaide was not aware that the Indigenous Foods Database was being announced today by the Orana Foundation and has not been contacted by the Foundation about its release.”

“Researchers from the University were contracted by the Orana Foundation to build, as one of four components in the project, a native food database of existing and new knowledge of Australian native food plants,” he said in a statement.

“The University’s researchers completed their work and the database was delivered to the Orana Foundation in May 2020.

“Any further enquiries should be directed to the Foundation.”

Zonfrillo told The Australian in July he had been embroiled in a nine-month fight with the University over the database, costing $50,000 in legal fees.

READ FULL STORY HERE.

Pig vandal suspect arrested

Police have arrested a 65-year old man after an investigation into last week’s vandalism attack on Rundle Mall’s ornamental pigs.

Horatio, Oliver, Truffles and Augusta were defaced with graffiti, including a reference to the Liberal Party, with the substance used causing “extensive corrosive damage”, police say.

Late yesterday afternoon, an alleged suspect “was spotted on CCTV cameras in Rundle Mall”, with police quickly arresting the sexagenarian.

He was charged with property damage and bailed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court in January.

Pell arrives in Rome

Cardinal George Pell has returned to Rome after his child sexual abuse conviction was overturned.

Wearing a blue surgical mask, the 79-year-old arrived at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport late yesterday, Australian time, after a flight from Sydney.

He waved briefly to reporters before getting into a waiting car without making any comments.

George Pell waves as he arrives at Rome’s international airport in Fiumicino. Photo: Andrew Medichini / AP

It is his first visit back to Rome after he took a leave of absence in 2017 to face historic sexual abuse charges stemming from his time as the Archbishop of Melbourne.

Pell, who maintained his innocence throughout, said after he was absolved by Australia’s high court that he wanted to clean out his Vatican apartment, but intended to make Sydney his home.

His return comes as European anti-money laundering evaluators begin a periodic visit to the Vatican amid a mounting financial scandal in the city-state that has cost several people their jobs, including one of the Holy See’s most powerful cardinals.

Abbott linked to UK offshore detention plan

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott may have prompted a now-abandoned British government plan to send asylum seekers to remote UK territories in the south Atlantic, London’s Financial Times has reported.

According to the paper, the Home Office looked into building migrant processing centres on the volcanic islands of Ascension and St Helena, having looked into how other countries dealt with issues of illegal migration.

But the idea, described as “ludicrous” by opponents, was later dropped, the paper reported overnight.

 

It said the idea was evidence of the influence of Abbott, last month controversially appointed as a UK trade adviser.

Australia has used offshore detention centres on the Pacific islands of Nauru, and on Manus in Papua New Guinea.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel dropped the proposed plan after officials were consulted on the practicality of shipping the asylum seekers around 6500km away to the remote islands, the FT said – prompting uproar from the Opposition Labour Party.

In total, there were more than 32,000 asylum applications in the United Kingdom in the year ending June 2020.

Bid to restore order to US debates

The group managing the US presidential election debates is planning steps to bring order to the remaining contests between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden after widespread criticism.

Yesterday’s 90-minute debate was chaotic, marred by the Republican president’s constant interjections and interruptions of both his Democratic rival and the host, as well as Biden’s angry rejoinders.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan group that has organised the events since 1988, said it would make unspecified changes to the format to prevent chaos.

“Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the group said in a statement.

It added that it is “carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly”.

Biden said in a campaign stop on Wednesday that he hoped organisers of future debates would be able to turn off the microphone of the candidate who is not speaking.

“It was a national embarrassment,” Biden said of the debate and Trump’s performance.

Trump, meanwhile, was critical of the debate’s moderator, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.

Swans player pleads guilty

Sydney Swans AFL player Elijah Taylor will be sentenced in December after pleading guilty in a Perth court to the aggravated assault of his ex-girlfriend.

Taylor, 19, faced Perth Magistrates Court yesterday charged with unlawfully assaulting Lekahni Pearce and causing her bodily harm at a Perth hotel on September 13.

He pleaded guilty to the charge and will be sentenced on December 2.

Taylor, whose bail was extended, declined to comment outside court.

Elijah Taylor leaving the Perth Magistrates Court. Photo: Richard Wainwright / AAP

Sydney stood down Taylor from all duties after he was charged last month.

Taylor, who made his AFL debut this season and has played four senior matches, had already been suspended by the Swans for breaching the AFL’s hotel quarantine protocols and remained in Perth while the club moved to a Queensland hub.

Swans head of football Charlie Gardiner said yesterday the club was extremely disappointed by Taylor’s actions.

“These were very serious charges and something we never want to see in the community, much less have one of our players involved in,” Gardiner said.

“At the time of making the decision to stand Elijah down we said we would review the situation as it unfolded, and that is what we intend to do, in consultation with the AFL, the AFL Players’ Association and Elijah’s management.

“I would like to reiterate our club’s very strong position that violence against women, in any form, is never acceptable and we strongly condemn it.”

Port gambles on defence

Port Adelaide is poised to gamble on injury-prone defender Ryan Burton in tonight’s AFL qualifying final against Geelong.

Burton will play his first game since suffering a thigh injury in round 16 in the final series opener against the Cats, who have dumped high-profile recruit Jack Stevens.

Geelong also axed Esava Ratugolea, with Rhys Stanley and Tom Atkins recalled for tonight’s keenly-anticipated Adelaide Oval fixture.

Port’s Burton has been summoned along with Tom Clurey, who has overcome a hamstring strain, and Zak Butters, who has served a two-game suspension.

The trio replace Jarrod Lienert, Riley Bonner and Boyd Woodcock.

Half-back Burton has managed just six games this season amid a spate of soft tissue injuries and coach Ken Hinkley concedes there’s some risk in his selection.

“There is always risk when you bring people back in that have had some recent injuries,” Hinkley told reporters.

“But there’s always a risk with any player.

“If they’re a part of your best team… you put them in the side.

“We are really strong in the belief what he does makes us better.”

Key defender Clurey had a torrid time when pitted against Geelong’s Tom Hawkins in round 12 when the forward booted six goals in his side’s 60-point thrashing of the Power.

But Hinkley hasn’t dwelled on that result, noting the Power haven’t lost a game since.

“We’re in really good form… we learnt a lot from the game we played against Geelong,” he said.

“We are playing here at Adelaide Oval – we have got some things in our favour that perhaps weren’t in our favour last time.

“That still won’t make it easy… (home ground advantage) is a real bonus but it’s an earnt bonus.

“But we’re playing against a side who don’t really worry about the environment too much.”

– Reporting by InDaily staff, AAP and Reuters

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