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What we know today, Wednesday October 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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Stowaway caught on train as SA records one new COVID case

A stowaway has been caught trying to illegally cross the border from Victoria into South Australia on a train, as SA records one new coronavirus case.

The 41-year-old man was arrested after allegedly hiding on an interstate freight train.

Police say a rail supervisor located the man about 6.15 this morning after the train arrived in Adelaide.

It’s alleged he boarded the train in Dimboola in Victoria.

Police say the man had submitted a cross border travel registration form however had failed to await the outcome.

He’s been charged with breaching COVID-19 directions and was refused bail.

It comes as South Australia has recorded one new coronavirus case – a man in his 30s who recently returned from overseas and has been in hotel quarantine since his arrival.

He tested positive on his day one test and SA Health says there is no public health risk.

There are now 8 active cases in SA – all overseas arrivals – and there have now been a total of 485 cases.

In light of recent cases in NSW, SA Health is advising anyone who has recently returned from that state and been to any of the locations identified by NSW Health to self isolate immediately.

Brad Crouch nominates St Kilda as preferred club

Adelaide midfielder Brad Crouch has chosen St Kilda as his preferred club for 2021.

The 26-year-old restricted free agent is reportedly set to move to Moorabbin after fielding interest from a range of Victorian clubs, including grand finalists Richmond and Geelong.

The move comes despite the out of contract midfielder being pulled over last month by SA police and allegedly caught in possession of an illicit substance.

The Crows are now awaiting news of what draft compensation they will receive for the midfielder.

Adelaide’s compensation could range from pick two to a late first round pick, depending on what contract St Kilda offers.

Crouch won Adelaide’s Best and Fairest in 2019, although he only managed 12 games this year due to a hamstring injury.

Veteran Crows defender Kyle Hartigan has also told the club he will return to Victoria as a free agent.

Victorian Premier addresses Cox Plate controversy

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has conceded it was the “wrong decision” to allow up to 1250 to attend the Moonee Valley racecourse this weekend for the Cox Plate.

The Victorian government had to backflip on its controversial call yesterday, after intense political and online backlash.

Andrews said the decision to allow a 1000+ crowd at the event was approved by the relevant public health authorities, but it fell below community expectations.

“The issue is it (the decision) didn’t meet the expectations of the community, it was not the right decision to make and that’s why that will not be happening,” Andrews said.

“I suppose I can only be clear and that was the wrong judgement to take and the Minister said that this morning and I’m confirming it is not happening.”

Racing Minister Martin Pakula apologised after just hours earlier announcing up to 500 racing connections would be able to attend Moonee Valley for Friday night’s Manikato Stakes and Saturday’s Cox Plate.

He said he’d spoken to the Moonee Valley Racing Club last night and the decision had been reversed.

“It was a mistake, given that other restrictions remain in place, and we’ve heard the community feedback,” he tweeted.

Ellen Sandell, acting leader of the state Greens, branded the original decision a kick in the guts to Victorians after months of being unable to see family, go to funerals, have visitors at the hospital or open their businesses.

“It seems to be one rule for them and another rule for the rest of Victoria,” she said in a statement.

Victoria recorded no coronavirus deaths and only three new cases today, although the Premier noted one person had recorded a rare reinfection of coronavirus.

“The person from yesterday who tested positive twice, the first time back in July, he is currently regarded as a reinfection of coronavirus, so he will be recorded as a positive case,” he said.

“The case is being monitored closely, and it is through an abundance of caution that we are assuming that is a positive case, rather than the person shedding after the original infection.”

Melbourne’s daily case average dropped to 6.2 and the mystery cases from October 5-18 also fell to 10.

The corresponding figures for regional Victoria remain steady at 0.4 and none.

The state’s death toll remains at 817 and the national figure is 905. Victoria has had only one death in the past week.

NSW Health reports two new locally acquired COVID-19 cases

There have been two new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in NSW, with a further eight cases in hotel quarantine.

The two new cases are close contacts of a person linked to the cluster at Great Beginnings childcare centre in Oran Park.

This brings to total number of COVID-19 cases associated with this cluster to 22.

Today’s figures bring the state’s overall total to 4167, with nearly three million tests completed.

Elsewhere today, Queensland recorded one new coronavirus case, which was acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.

Marshall asks for NZ bubble to be two-way

South Australia is urgently seeking a reciprocal travel bubble agreement with New Zealand to allow people from the state to travel across the Tasman.

Premier Steven Marshall wrote to NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this morning to ask for her agreement after 12 New Zealanders travelled to SA this week and were forced into quarantine.

The New Zealanders arrived in the state under a federal government-negotiated one-way travel bubble with NZ allowing its citizens to enter NSW and the Northern Territory.

But many of those travellers took domestic flights from Sydney to other states not in the bubble, including SA, Western Australia and Queensland.

After ordering them into quarantine, SA relented yesterday and released them into the community, effectively bringing the state into the travel bubble.

Marshall told reporters this morning he expected Ardern to agree to allow South Australians to travel to New Zealand.

“We really want to normalise travel between South Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“We think it’s great that yesterday we were able to announce that we would be open to New Zealanders coming into South Australia, but what would make it even better is if those New Zealanders when they went back to their country didn’t have to do 14 days of quarantine.

“This is the first step in the road to normalising international travel.”

Marshall also suggested Ardern consider relaxing the requirement for New Zealanders to go into quarantine when they return home to increase visitor numbers.

We are the safest state in the safest nation.

Yesterday SA joined the NZ travel bubble meaning New Zealanders can enter…

Posted by Steven Marshall on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said yesterday that after discussions between SA and NZ health officials, local authorities now had a level of comfort about the risk posed by those coming to SA.

In other changes announced on Tuesday, restrictions on communities close to the Victorian border were also eased.

People within the 70km buffer zone each side of the border will no longer be required to provide a legitimate reason for crossing the state line, allowing them to move about more freely.

But SA is still struggling with the notion of separate restrictions on people coming from other regional areas of Victoria and on people from Melbourne.

“We’d like to be able to accommodate regional Victoria but there are risks associated with that,” Stevens said yesterday.

However, people will be able to permanently relocate from Victoria to SA more easily, with no longer any requirement to seek a special health exemption.

They will only be asked to provide details of employment and permanent accommodation and will be required to quarantine for two weeks.

And high school and university students will be allowed to return to SA from Victoria at the end of the current terms.

Stevens said the transition committee had some discussion on easing restrictions on local hospitality venues but no changes were made.

SA reported no new cases on Tuesday, leaving the state’s total since the start of the pandemic at 484.

Of those, only eight are still considered active infections.

Surge in Aussies wanting to come home for Christmas

The Federal Government is struggling to deal with a surge of stranded Australians seeking to return home before Christmas as the one-way New Zealand coronavirus travel bubble causes havoc among the states.

South Australia yesterday overturned its initial plan to force NZ visitors to quarantine for 14 days, while Queensland is insisting any Kiwis seeking to visit must take the fortnight-long step.

A Senate estimates committee was told yesterday there were 32,300 Australians, up from 18,800 in late August, who have put their names forward to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to return, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The committee heard DFAT had advised the number would rise as that was the usual scenario in any crisis situation.

SA senator Penny Wong asked why the number was rising while the government continued to state it was doing all it could to get Australians home.

“The goal as stated by the prime minister was to get people home by Christmas,” Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet deputy secretary Alison Frame said.

She said a multi-agency task force including the acting chief medical officer Paul Kelly had been working on the issue with the states and territories and airlines.

Modelling had been done to get all 4000 of the Australians listed as “vulnerable” home by Christmas, as well as gradually reduce the number of other Australians seeking to return, the committee heard.

A facilitated flight is due to deliver Australians to the Howard Springs facility outside Darwin on October 23.

The trans-Tasman travel bubble was originally only supposed to include New Zealand, NSW and the Northern Territory.

But Kiwis have hopped on domestic flights to all corners of the country after touching down in Sydney.

South Australia and Queensland again recorded no new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

NSW reported two new locally transmitted cases and three more infections among returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Victoria recorded just one new case and no additional deaths.

Melbourne’s rolling 14-day average of cases and the number of infections with unknown sources continue to decline.

Woman arrested after alleged road rage stabbing

A man was stabbed as he sat in his car at a busy Woodville South intersection during peak-hour traffic last night after an altercation with the driver of another car.

Police said an altercation broke out between a man driving a silver Holden Commodore station wagon and a woman driving a grey Honda Accord sedan at the intersection of Trimmer Parade and Findon Road.

There was no collision, but once stopped at the traffic lights the woman allegedly exited her car and stabbed the man in the stomach with a knife, while he was seated in the driver’s seat.

The man, a 53-year-old man from Hendon was taken to the Flinders Medical Centre for treatment of minor injuries.

A 32-year-old woman from Ferryden Park was charged with aggravated assault cause harm. She was bailed to appear in the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court at a later date.

Police are seeking witnesses in relation to the incident and ask anyone who may have recorded this incident on dashcam footage or mobile phone to contact Crime Stoppers.

Regretful Hinkley named AFL coach of year

Port Adelaide’s Ken Hinkley has been named coach of the year for 2020, but he can’t help but wonder if he made a crucial mistake in his team’s preliminary final loss to Richmond.

Hinkley was announced the winner of the coaching award named after AFL great Allan Jeans, finishing with 236 votes to beat Brisbane’s Chris Fagan (191 votes) and Geelong’s Chris Scott (154 votes) on Tuesday night.

It’s the second time Hinkley has won the award after also taking the honours in his first season as coach in 2013.

Hinkley guided Port from 10th on the ladder in 2019 to the preliminary final this year.

Port also became just the third side in the AFL era, and first for 20 years, to top the table throughout an entire season.

But the six-point preliminary final loss to Richmond still plays on his mind, and he can’t help but wonder if he could have done more in the box.

“They (the players) were giving me everything with effort and energy out on the ground,” Hinkley told AFL360.

“And you think, ‘gee, could I have done more?’

“We just needed one more decision. I look at it as not one more mistake from the players, but one more good decision from us as the coaches and we may have gotten over the line.”

When asked what he would have done differently, Hinkley was frank with his answer.

“I would have filled the stoppage up a bit more. In the last quarter Richmond got on top at the stoppage,” he said.

“I should have helped support them a bit more, and that’s what burns a little bit.

“If I could have helped a bit more, I probably would have done that.”

US files anti-trust lawsuit against Google

The US Justice Department has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google, accusing the $US1 trillion ($A1.4 trillion) company of illegally using its market power to fend off rivals and saying nothing is off the table, including a break-up of the internet search and advertising company.

The lawsuit, which was joined by 11 US states, marks the biggest antitrust case in a generation, comparable to the lawsuit against Microsoft Corp filed in 1998 and the 1974 case against AT&T which led to the break-up of the Bell System.

It claims that Google acted unlawfully to maintain its position in search and search advertising on the internet and says that “absent a court order, Google will continue executing its anti-competitive strategy, crippling the competitive process, reducing consumer choice and stifling innovation”.

The complaint says that Google has nearly 90 per cent of all general search engine queries in the United States and almost 95 per cent of searches on mobile.

Attorney General Bill Barr said his investigators had found that Google does not compete on the quality of its search results but instead bought its success through payments to mobile phone makers and others.

“The end result is that no one can feasibly challenge Google’s dominance in search and search advertising,” Barr said.

When asked on a conference call if the department was seeking a break-up or another remedy, Justice Department official Ryan Shores said, “Nothing is off the table but a question of remedies is best addressed by the court after it’s had a chance to hear all the evidence”.

In its complaint, the Justice Department said that people in the US were hurt by Google’s actions.

Its “request for relief,” said it was seeking “structural relief as needed to cure any anti-competitive harm”.

“Structural relief” in antitrust matters generally means the sale of an asset.

“Ultimately it is consumers and advertisers that suffer from less choice, less innovation and less competitive advertising prices,” the lawsuit states.

“So we are asking the court to break Google’s grip on search distribution so the competition and innovation can take hold.”

Google, whose search engine is so ubiquitous that its name has become a verb, called the lawsuit “deeply flawed,” adding that people “use Google because they choose to – not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives”.

The Microsoft lawsuit was credited with clearing the way for the explosive growth of the internet since the antitrust scrutiny prevented the company from attempting to thwart competitors.

Tuesday’s federal lawsuit marks a rare moment of agreement between US President Donald Trump’s administration and Democrats.

The complaint pointed to the billions of dollars that Google pays to smartphone makers such as Apple, Samsung and others to make Google’s search engine the default on their devices.

This means that rival search engines never get the scale they need to improve their algorithms and grow, the complaint said.

Google has faced similar legal challenges overseas.

The European Union fined Google $US1.7 billion in 2019 for stopping websites from using Google’s rivals to find advertisers, $US2.6 billion in 2017 for favouring its own shopping business in search and $US4.9 billion in 2018 for blocking rivals on its wireless Android operating system.

Trump says final debate is ‘very unfair’

US President Donald Trump has criticised plans by the debates commission to mute candidates’ microphones during portions of the final presidential debate.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced late on Monday that Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden will each have two minutes of uninterrupted time to initially answer the moderator’s questions when they face off on Thursday.

Organisers hope the rule change will prevent the debate from descending into chaos and frequent interruptions, as the first debate did last month.

“The whole thing is crazy,” Trump said in a phone interview on Fox News, saying the commission had already unfairly muted his microphone during debates in 2016.

“I just think it’s very unfair,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned from Arizona on Monday evening.

“I will participate, but it’s very unfair that they changed the topics and it’s very unfair that, again, we have an anchor who’s totally biased.”

The match-up is scheduled for Thursday in Tennessee, less than two weeks before the November 3 election and as Trump is trailing Biden in the polls.

Trump shunned formal debate practise on Tuesday and was instead heading for another of his big rallies.

Biden took the opposite approach, holing up for debate prep.

Meanwhile, Melania Trump’s return to the US presidential campaign trail will have to wait.

Her chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, says she continues to feel better every day following her recent recovery from COVID-19 but has a lingering cough.

Grisham said the first lady has decided not to accompany President Donald Trump to a campaign rally on Tuesday evening in Erie, Pennsylvania, out of an abundance of caution.

Melania Trump’s last public appearance was during the September 29 presidential debate in Ohio.

She and the Republican president received their positive test results in early October.

The first lady announced last week that she had recovered.

Pope wears mask for first time at prayer service

Pope Francis has worn a mask for the first time at a public function as he and other religious leaders attended a prayer service for peace around the world.

The pontiff wore a white mask during the service at the Rome Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.

Previously he wore masks only in a car taking him to his weekly audiences in the Vatican.

He had come under some criticism, particularly on social media, for not wearing a mask at his general audiences and sometimes coming in relatively close contact with visitors.

Pope Francis, 83, attended the service with other Christian leaders in the basilica including the Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians.

Simultaneously in other locations in Rome, Jews were praying in the city’s synagogue and Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu and Muslim leaders also prayed for peace.

The event took place as the number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus has risen steadily in Italy in the past few weeks.

There has also been a relatively small spike in the Vatican, where four members of the Swiss Guards, the elite and colourfully dressed corps that protects the pope, have also tested positive for COVID-19.

The annual event was started by the late Pope John Paul and Rome’s Catholic Community of Sant’ Egido in 1986.

It was scaled down this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis took off his mask while he read his address, as did other leaders when they spoke, but put it back on when he finished speaking.

 – with AAP and Reuters

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