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What we know today, Wednesday October 28


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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One new COVID-19 case for SA

South Australia has recorded one new coronavirus case today.

A woman in her 60s who recently returned from overseas has tested positive.

She’s been in hotel quarantine since her arrival and SA Health says there is no public health risk.

There are now 12 active cases in SA and 479 people here have been cleared of the virus.

Australian and UK Prime Ministers exchange views on climate change

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has balked at suggestions the Australian Government is not doing enough to tackle climate change, after he was urged by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson overnight to take more action on the issue.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, a visibly defiant Morrison said Australia’s climate policies would not be determined by other countries.

“Australia will set our policies here – we’ll set them,” Morrison said.

“Our policies won’t be set in the United Kingdom, they won’t be set in Brussels, they won’t be set in any part of the world other than here, because it’s Australians’ jobs, and it’s Australia’s economy, and it’s Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 recession that matters to me and my cabinet and the decisions we take.

“I’m very aware of the many views that are held around the world, but I’ll tell you what, our policies will be set here in Australia, and no one understands that better than the British Prime Minister, given his recent election on the issue of Brexit.”

It comes after the British Prime Minister called on Australia to take greater action on climate change while speaking with Morrison overnight.

The UK has set a goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 but Australia has not.

The pair were discussing a free trade deal before the British leader shifted the conversation to climate change.

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said he stressed the need to take bold action to address climate change and highlighted that driving economic growth and reducing emissions could go hand-in-hand.

The British prime minister is setting his sights on a major climate conference in Glasgow next year.

“He emphasised the importance of setting ambitious targets to cut emissions and reach net zero,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Mr Morrison said the British leader welcomed Australia’s suite of emissions reductions programs.

“Both countries agreed to work closely together to accelerate research and deployment of low emission technologies,” the spokesperson said.

The mixed messages from the diplomatic readouts prompted Labor Senator Penny Wong to question Foreign Minister Marise Payne on whether Australia’s international standing was damaged by a lack of climate action.

“No amount of words and no amount of adjectives… can hide the fact that your government is increasingly isolated internationally on climate,” Wong said at the Senate Foreign Affairs committee this morning.

Payne responded by reiterating Australia’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and limiting emissions to net zero by the second half of the century.

Top diplomat, Prime Minister express shock over Qatar searches

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne have expressed their outrage today after 13 Australian women, and 18 women in total, were subjected to invasive searches after being pulled off 10 separate flights at Doha airport earlier this month.

The group of female passengers were subjected to the examinations after a premature baby was found in a bathroom.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “appalled” by the incident and the government would take “a very strident approach” to dealing with the issue.

“We find this unacceptable, that’s been the official message,” Morrison told reporters today.

“As the father of daughters, I only shudder at the thought that any woman in Australia or otherwise would be subjected to that.

“So I think we can be confident in those messages we conveyed very clearly.”

Around 15 per cent of Australians returning home are doing so via Qatar Airways, and the gulf nation is set to come under increased scrutiny as it prepares to host the controversially awarded 2022 World Cup.

The Prime Minister said he would be awaiting the results of an investigation launched yesterday by Qatar’s prime minister before taking further action.

“What’s important is that the international laws and rules as people move through international airports and move between countries – that we’re able to do that in a way where certain standards are upheld,” Morrison said.

“There is no doubt in the mind, whether it’s Qatari airlines or the (Qatari) government, about Australia’s strong, sharp objections and views about this, and I think those views are shared widely.”

Foreign Minister Marise Payne told Senate estimates this morning that the incident had triggered high-level diplomatic meetings.

“The issues which have been discussed in relation to this matter are very concerning and very distressing,” Payne told the committee.

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong questioned why the minister had not yet spoken directly with her Qatari counterpart.

“Surely we know enough to raise our deep concern and express at the most senior levels of government the importance of the report being finalised promptly,” she said.

But Senator Payne said she was waiting for Qatar’s report into the incident before speaking with the country’s foreign minister.

“I asked to see the report to get a very clear understanding of events as they had occurred and from the Qatari perspective,” she said.

Payne said discussions with the Qatari ambassador left her hopeful the report would be available in coming days.

Crows to play hardball on Crouch compensation

Adelaide are prepared to match St Kilda’s contract offer to AFL restricted free agent Brad Crouch unless they receive pick No.2 as compensation, forcing the Saints to trade for the midfielder.

Unless St Kilda table a blockbuster contract offer to Crouch, the Crows are more likely to be offered an end-of-first-round draft pick as compensation than pick No.2 – the selection immediately after their first draft pick.

Adelaide head of football Adam Kelly said a later pick didn’t reflect Crouch’s value and the Crows were prepared to retain the midfielder if they couldn’t agree on a trade.

“We’re obviously hopeful the compensation would be resulting in pick two, and it’s really only under those circumstances that we would not consider matching and looking to force a trade or retain Brad’s services,” Kelly told AFL Trade Radio today.

“Fortunately, in this situation, Brad’s been fairly open about his love of Adelaide and of the footy club, so we don’t think it would be a scenario where the player would not be wanting to come back to the club, so we would certainly look to match if it’s not resulting in pick two.

“We’ll be certainly looking for a better outcome than what that compensation would be if it’s not pick two, because it would be end of first round or (the start of the) second round, which given our ladder position is effectively the same thing.

“So that pick itself could push out to the mid-20s after all the Next Generation Academy (bids) … we don’t see that as adequate compensation for a player of Brad’s calibre, so we’d certainly be looking at matching.”

Kelly said the Crows’ “primary objective” was to secure an early draft pick for Crouch but they would be “open-minded” about trades involving players.

He also confirmed full-back Daniel Talia, who is contracted to the end of next season, was a “required player” at Adelaide.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital upgrade set for more funding

An extra $50 million has been allocated for upgrades to Adelaide’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital with the scope of the work broadened following a clinical services review.

Health Minister Stephen Wade says the budget for the project has been lifted to $314 million with an extra operating theatre now included in the redevelopment along with extra treatment bays.

The project also involves the building of a new emergency department and intensive care unit.

The minister said the extensive consultation undertaken with staff and stakeholders meant the expanded project would better reflect the needs of patients, staff and the community, now and into the future.

Major construction works are expected to begin in the second half of next year, and the expanded project is expected to be completed in 2024.

“The people of the western suburbs need services as close to where they live as possible,” Wade said.

“This improved redevelopment will ensure they have access to high-quality healthcare services in a state-of-the-art facility that will meet their future needs.”

The extra funding will be detailed in the upcoming state budget to be handed down by Treasurer Rob Lucas on November 10.

One new locally acquired COVID-19 case in NSW as overseas-acquired cases remain high

NSW Health has reported one new locally acquired case of COVID-19 and a further seven cases acquired overseas currently in hotel quarantine.

The new locally acquired case is a household contact of a known case from the Lakemba GP cluster, which now totals 17 cases.

NSW Health also urged people in the western suburbs of Glenfield and Quakers Hill to get tested after health authorities detected COVID-19 virus fragments in the areas’ sewage system.

Elsewhere, Queensland recorded two new virus cases, both which were acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.

The sunshine state currently has five active cases.

Adelaide set to host opening test of Australia-India series

The Adelaide Oval will host a blockbuster day-night test between Australia and India on December 17, after Cricket Australia this morning confirmed their schedule for the upcoming summer.

The Adelaide test will kick off the four-test series between the two nations, with the remaining matches to be played at the MCG (December 26-30), the SCG (January 7-11) and the Gabba (January 15-19).

The Boxing Day test will remain in Melbourne, subject to government restrictions, despite speculation the iconic event could move to Adelaide.

Adelaide also missed out on an ODI and T20 this summer, with Sydney and Canberra set to host six limited overs games before in the lead up to the test series.

Crowd limits for the events have yet to be determined, although Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday he was “very confident” a COVID-safe crowd would be able to attend the Boxing Day test.

“I don’t know how big it will be but there will be a crowd there,” Andrews said.

“That is the advice I have and that is what we’re working towards.”

The full summer cricket schedule is below:

India Tour of Australia 2020-21

ODI Series vs India

First ODI: November 27, SCG, 2.10pm ACST

Second ODI: November 29, SCG, 2.10pm ACST

Third ODI: December 2, Manuka Oval, 2.10pm ACST

T20 International Series vs India

First T20: December 4, Manuka Oval, 6:40pm ACST

Second T20: December 6, SCG, 6:40pm ACST

Third T20: December 8, SCG, 6:40pm ACST

Vodafone Test Series v India

First Test: December 17-21, Adelaide Oval, 2:30pm ACST (day-night)

Second Test: December 26-30, MCG, 10.00am ACST

Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.00am ACST

Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 10:30am ACST

COVID-19 still present in Victoria as state records two deaths

Two people in Victoria have lost their lives to COVID-19 as the state records two new virus cases.

Today’s figures interrupt a two day stretch of zero recorded cases in Victoria, and bring Metro Melbourne’s rolling 14-day average to 2.7.

It comes after Melbourne’s arduous 15-week COVID-19 lockdown officially ended this morning, with businesses able to reopen and families reunited.

Restaurants, cafes, pubs and retail stores could throw open their doors from 11.59pm on Tuesday, with some wasting no time getting back to business.

Halloween trick-or-treating will also be permitted in Melbourne and regional Victoria this Saturday as long as it’s “contactless”, with people unable to enter properties, including front yards, to doorknock.

Angus & Bon in Melbourne’s southeast was one of the first restaurants to welcome back customers, serving patrons at the stroke of midnight.

The New York-style steakhouse in Prahran and other metropolitan hospitality venues can host up to 50 people outdoors and 20 indoors, subject to density limits.

It came as Premier Daniel Andrews outlined new rules for home visits which were curtailed throughout Victoria’s devastating second wave, making it difficult for people to see family and friends.

Two adults from one household can now visit another home accompanied by any dependents. The visits are restricted to within the 25km travel limit and to one per day.

Home gathering restrictions will remain in place beyond November 8, when the travel limit and the “ring of steel” separating the city from regional Victoria is lifted.

Hours before Tuesday’s rules rollback, the Victorian government also clarified advice on home businesses and workers, masks and Halloween.

Masks should be worn inside gyms for most activities apart from running on a treadmill, with the premier earlier saying they will remain mandatory outdoors across the state for the rest of the year and possibly into 2021.

Home businesses such as hairdressers will be able to reopen if they have a “discrete retail area”, while cleaners and maintenance workers may attend homes provided they wear a mask.

SA batsman to take break from cricket

Opening batsman Jake Weatherald has withdrawn from South Australia’s Sheffield Shield squad, citing mental health issues.

Weatherald, who struck a century in the opening Shield round, is taking indefinite leave from the Redbacks and departing the team’s Adelaide hub.

He will miss, at the least, SA’s next Shield game against Victoria starting on Friday.

“We are supportive of Jake, who has made the tough but right decision to leave the hub and focus on life outside of cricket for a short period,” the Redbacks’ sports science and medicine manager John Porter said on Tuesday.

“We will be keeping in touch with him and providing every support to ensure he is available for selection as soon as possible.”

The 25-year-old Weatherald made 105 and 36 in SA’s opening game against Western Australia.

US virus cases approach 500,000 in one week

Nearly half a million people in the United States have contracted COVID-19 in the past seven days as cases and hospitalisations set fresh records.

More than 5600 people died from the virus nationwide in the past week, with hospitalisations shooting up 13 per cent, a Reuters analysis shows.

Illinois, which has emerged as a recent hot spot, has reported over 31,000 new cases in seven days, more than any state except Texas.

With almost 900,000 total infections, Texas is soon expected to surpass California as the US state with the most cases since the pandemic began.

Outbreaks are worsening in hotly contested battleground states in next week’s presidential election like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania’s department of health on Tuesday reported a fresh record in daily cases, while Wisconsin broke one-day state records in both cases and deaths as officials told residents to stay home, wear a mask and cancel travel and social gatherings.

“We must take significant and collective actions,” Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said.

Contact tracers were overwhelmed and hospitals may soon face staffing shortages, she added.

“This is going to get worse before it gets better.”

President Donald Trump, facing a tough re-election battle on November 3, lashed out again on Tuesday at reports coronavirus is surging and reiterated his claim the country is “rounding the turn” in its battle with the pandemic that has killed more than 226,000 people.

“We did the ventilators and now we’re doing all of the equipment and now we’re doing vaccines, we’re doing therapeutics. We’ve done a great job, and people are starting to see,” he told reporters at the White House.

Bushfires top climate change concerns for South Aussies

Bushfires are now the greatest climate concern for South Australians, followed closely by droughts and flooding, a climate and energy report says.

Released today by the Australia Institute, the Climate of the Nation 2020 report found that 80 per cent of Australians think we are already experiencing the impact of climate change and 83 per cent support a phase-out of coal-fired power stations.

According to the report, more than two-thirds of Australians support a national target for net zero emissions by 2050 while just 12 per cent would prefer Australia’s economic recovery to be primarily powered by gas, compared to 59 per cent who want it powered by investment in renewables.

The survey element of the report was conducted in July and quizzed 1998 Australians aged 18 years and older including 407 South Australians.

South Australians are more opposed to the government putting subsidies into coal, oil and gas extraction than any other state (60 per cent) while 69 per cent of South Australians surveyed blame electricity price rises on the privatisation of energy companies, compared to the national average of 53 per cent.

Following last summer’s devastating bushfires, 81 per cent of South Australians say climate change will result in more bushfires, narrowly ahead of more droughts and flooding.

The report says Australians remain concerned about climate change despite the Covid-19 crisis.

“Rather than being eclipsed by significant economic shock and the public health crisis, concern about climate change remains high and Australians are increasingly supportive of actions to reduce emissions,” the report says.

“There is a growing expectation amongst Australians for the Australian Government to show leadership on climate action. Seven in 10 Australians agree that Australia should be a world leader in finding solutions to climate change.”

Hung jury discharged in Adelaide murder case

A jury has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict in the trial of an Adelaide woman accused of the murder of her mother-in-law.

In the case against Caroline Dela Rose Nilsson, the eight men and four women had deliberated for almost 40 hours over five days.

Nilsson was charged with the murder of Myrna Nilsson in the laundry of the Valley View home they shared in September 2016.

The 57-year-old was bludgeoned to death when she arrived home from work.

Prosecutors alleged the accused was in the house at the time and later told police there had been a home invasion involving two or three men who assaulted her, tied her up with tape and speaker wire, and ransacked the house.

But they said it was the Crown case that no strangers came to the house that evening and Nilsson had lied to cover up the killing.

However, Nilsson’s defence described the 29-year-old as a loving mother who had a good relationship with her mother-in-law.

They said there was no motive for the alleged attack.

The jury first went out on Wednesday last week and despite continuing into the night on Tuesday were unable to agree, bringing the near eight-week trial to an end.

They were discharged with a hearing scheduled for next week when Nilsson is expected to apply for bail.

The five days of deliberations are among the longest in recent SA history.

In 2003, it took the jurors in the Snowtown murders case seven days to return their guilty verdicts.

Europe’s virus woes on rise as Indian cases fall

Governments across Europe have moved to set new curbs in motion to try to rein in a fast-growing surge of coronavirus infections while the number of cases in India appears to be levelling off.

The United States, Russia, France, Sweden, Poland and other countries have registered record numbers of infections in recent days as autumn turns to winter in the northern hemisphere and people socialise indoors where the risk of infection is higher.

More than 43.7 million people have been infected by the coronavirus globally and 1,163,592 have died.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets across Italy on Monday to vent their anger at the latest round of restrictions, including early closing for bars and restaurants, with demonstrations in some cities turning violent.

In the financial capital Milan, youths hurled petrol bombs at police, who responded with volleys of tear gas.

In nearby Turin, luxury shops had their windows smashed and some were ransacked, leading to the arrest of 10 rioters.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was expected to approve measures to help companies hit by the new curbs introduced at the weekend after daily infections increased eight-fold in less than a month.

In France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin warned the country to prepare for “difficult decisions” after some of the strictest restrictions currently in place anywhere in Europe have failed to halt the spread of the disease.

The Czech government will ask MPs to extend its emergency powers until December 3, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Tuesday, as it tries to stem one of the strongest surges in infections in Europe.

There have been at least 8.54 million reported infections and 251,000 deaths caused by coronavirus in Europe so far, according to latest Reuters data.

The continent registered a record 230,892 new cases on October 26, up from 67,739 on October 1.

The United Kingdom has recorded a further 367 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, the highest daily toll since May 27, government data indicates.

British fatalities have been rising this month and Tuesday’s total marks a similar daily figure to the 374 that was recorded on March 30, a week into a lockdown when the country largely came to a standstill.

While Europe is struggling to contain the coronavirus, Asian countries appear to be doing a better job.

Hong Kong announced it would reopen public beaches and increase the number of people allowed to sit together in bars and restaurants as the city continues to unwind strict COVID-19 rules put in place in July.

India on Tuesday reported 36,370 new COVID-19 cases, its lowest number of daily coronavirus cases in three months.

The federal health ministry said it was one of the “several significant milestones” in the fight against the coronavirus.

The total number of coronavirus infections stood at 7.94 million in India, the second-worst affected country in the world after the US that has about 8.7 million.

– with AAP and Reuteurs
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