- No community transmission across Australia
- SA reeling after record Victoria partnership
- Queensland hail storms declared ‘catastrophe’
- Trump rallies linked to 30,000 cases
- Claims of deaths amid Ivory Coast election
- Violent protests over Spain virus measures
- Johnson orders England national lockdown
- Bond movie idol Sean Connery dies
- Labor to retain government in Queensland
- Adelaide 500 revenue plummeted before cancellation
- Labor to consider merging SA universities
- Wallabies defiant after humbling defeat
No community transmission across Australia
South Australia reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, as Australia marked an entire 24-hour period without a single case of community transmission for the first time in almost five months.
In Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced just one new case of a returned traveller in quarantine, a day after an election win she credited to her government’s handling of the pandemic.
NSW did not record any new community transmission cases in the reporting period of the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday.
One case was recorded after the deadline and will be included in Sunday’s numbers.
Victoria, the recent hotspot of the country, celebrated a second COVID-free day, with no new cases or deaths.
Back-to-back days without adding to Victoria’s virus tally coincides with the first weekend of Melbourne’s cafes, restaurants and pubs reopening to walk-in customers.
Based on the lack of new cases, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has hinted Victorian authorities could raise cap limits and density quotas higher than initially planned for some industries.
SA reeling after record Victorian partnership
Will Pucovski and Marcus Harris broke records while South Australian cricket looked plain broken as Victoria closed in on a Sheffield Shield win.
At tea on day three, SA were 2-74 in response to Victoria’s extraordinary 3(dec)-564, still requiring 290 runs to make the visitors bat again.
Pucovski (255 not out) and Harris (239) pressed on from their day two heroics to record the biggest partnership in Sheffield Shield cricket, passing the mark set by Steve and Mark Waugh.
When Harris crashed a boundary off Wes Agar late in the first hour of play on Sunday it took the pair past the 464-run stand made by the twins for NSW against Western Australia back in 1990.
Harris was ultimately out caught behind by Harry Nielsen off the bowling of Agar to set their record mark at 486.
South Australia had a chance to prevent the record on Sunday morning when Callum Ferguson dropped a simple chance from Harris at slip with the score at 0-436.
Victoria eventually declared only for SA’s horror show to continue, Scott Boland (2-18) removing Conor McInerney (2) and Brad Davis (4) to have the home side 2-10.
Test middle order batsman Travis Head (49 no) then hunkered down with Henry Hunt (17 no), the former likely needing another huge innings to salvage the match for SA.
Queensland hail storms declared ‘catastrophe’
A catastrophe has been declared in Queensland, with insurers inundated with hailstorm damage claims.
Severe thunderstorms hammered the state’s southeast on Saturday, dropping tennis ball-sized hail on some areas.
The Insurance Council of Australia had received over 5000 claims to 2pm on Sunday, with insured losses estimated at $60 million.
Motor vehicles make up 60 per cent of the claims to date, while the rest relate to house damage including to roofs, skylights and solar panels.
Energex had reported more than 42,000 electricity users were without power on Saturday, but that figure had been whittled down below 10,000 by Sunday afternoon.
Trump rallies linked to 30,000 cases
US President Donald Trump’s massive campaign rallies have led to more than 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and likely caused the death of 700 Americans, a new study concludes.
The Stanford University paper took a close look at 18 Trump rallies between June and September and followed subjects “up to 10 post-rally weeks for each event”.
Rates of COVID-19 often rose notably in communities that hosted the events, compared with nearby towns where Trump stayed away, the study found.
A Biden spokesman slammed the Trump rallies as superspreader events that violate common-sense public health rules.
Biden’s rallies have featured smaller invitation-only crowds, with more masks and social distancing.
Trump held four events across the state of Pennsylvania on Saturday as he fights to win the crucial swing state.
Without the state, his path to 270 electoral votes grows much more challenging.
With three days to go until Election Day, Trump’s Democrat challenger Joe Biden is campaigning in Michigan.
Former President Barack Obama joined a drive-in rally in Flint, Michigan, where he blasted Trump as egotistical and incompetent.
He told the crowd that Trump “cares about feeding his ego” while Biden “cares about keeping you and your families safe.”
Obama plans to campaign in Georgia on Monday in an election-eve push to shift the traditionally Republican state into the Democratic column.
He will be in Atlanta for a rally to boost Biden and the two leading Democratic Senate candidates in the state.
Georgia hasn’t voted for a Democrat in a presidential race since 1992.
But the Biden campaign is looking to capitalise on the favourable political environment in the state as the coronavirus pandemic drags down Trump in typically GOP-leaning states.
Biden was in Georgia this past week and his running mate, Kamala Harris, campaigned there the week before.
But Republicans are working to defend their hold on the state, and Trump is set to campaign in Georgia on Sunday.
Claims of deaths amid Ivory Coast election
Ivory Coast’s main opposition parties boycotting the presidential vote have asserted that at least a dozen people had died in election day clashes as incumbent leader Alassane Ouattara sought a controversial third term.
The election has revived painful memories of the West African nation’s crisis nearly a decade earlier that left more than 3000 people dead before the country’s then-president was forced to concede defeat.
Many fear those old political rivalries could be reignited.
More than 20 people were killed ahead of Saturday’s vote, prompting the United Nations and human rights groups to call for calm.
Top opposition candidates Pascal Affi N’Guessan and Henri Konan Bedie had urged their supporters to stay home after first trying unsuccessfully to have Ouattara’s candidacy thrown out, citing constitutional term limits.
The president maintains the two-term limit does not apply to him because a new constitution was approved in a 2016 referendum.
Violent protests over Spain virus measures
Spain’s prime minister has condemned a series of violent protests in cities across the country against restrictions imposed to curb the surge of COVID-19 after a six-month state of emergency came into effect this week.
Riot police on Saturday shot blank bullets to try to disperse scores of protesters who were setting fire to rubbish bins in Madrid’s main thoroughfare Gran Via.
Meanwhile, demonstrators pelted police with rocks and other projectiles in Barcelona in a second night of disturbances in Spain’s second-largest city.
In the northern Spanish city of Logrono, about 150 people attacked police with stones, set fire to containers and looted shops, police said. Riot police were drafted in to quell disturbances in Haro, in the wine-growing region of La Rioja.
It comes as Portugal’s government announces new lockdown restrictions from November 4 for most of the country, telling people to stay at home except for outings for work, school or shopping, and ordering companies to switch to remote working.
Portugal’s daily cases hit a record 4656 on Friday before retreating to 4007 on Saturday, when the death toll rose by 39.
Johnson orders England national lockdown
Britain’s National Health Service will be overwhelmed within weeks without a national lockdown in England, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned, as he ordered the country to stay at home in a bid to reverse the spread of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister said that without action, deaths would reach “several thousand a day”, with a “peak of mortality” worse than the country saw during the lockdown in April.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail outlets across the nation will close from Thursday, and people will be told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave, but schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open.
People will be allowed outside to exercise and socialise in public spaces outside with their household or one other person, but not indoors or in private gardens, and will be able to travel to work if they cannot work from home.
Furlough payments at 80% will be extended for the duration of the restrictions as high streets once again shut up shop.
Bond movie idol Sean Connery dies
Sean Connery, the charismatic Scottish actor who rose to international superstardom as the secret agent James Bond and then abandoned the role to carve out an Oscar-winning career in other rugged roles, has died at the age of 90.
Connery’s son Jason said his father died peacefully in his sleep overnight in the Bahamas where he lived, having been “unwell for some time.”
Connery starred in the first Bond thriller, 1962’s “Dr. No,” based on the Ian Fleming novel. Connery continued as Bond in “From Russia With Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice” and “Diamonds Are Forever,” often performing his own stunts.
He also won the affection of fans of the “Indiana Jones” franchise when he played Indy’s father opposite Harrison Ford in the third picture, 1989’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
He won his Oscar for supporting actor in 1987 for his portrayal of a tough Chicago cop who joins Elliot Ness’ crime-fighters in “The Untouchables.”
Though he lived abroad for many years, Connery was a passionate supporter of Scottish independence and a donor to the Scottish National Party.
Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister, said “Sean was a global legend but, first and foremost, he was a patriotic and proud Scot.”
Labor to retain government in Queensland
Queensland voters have rewarded Annastacia Palaszczuk for her efforts to stem the COVID-19 pandemic by electing Labor for a third consecutive term.
Party strategists believe one of the key factors was older voters in the state’s southeast, who have tended to back the Liberal National Party, swinging behind Ms Palaszczuk for her tough stance on borders.
As well, a lift in the Greens vote and a collapse in support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation helped deliver preferences to the government in key seats.
“For many Queenslanders, I know it has been an incredibly tough year,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It has been tough not being able to see your family and friends in other states, or even around the world, as we’ve been in the midst of a global pandemic.
“But here in Queensland we’ve all stood strong and united, and together we are on top of the pandemic, and if we continue to work together, we will stay strong.”
Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington conceded defeat but vowed to continue as leader.
With counting to continue on Sunday, Labor was on track to hold as many as 49 seats – up one on its previous numbers.
The Liberal National Party appeared to have lost a net two seats, taking its numbers to 36 in the 93-seat chamber.
Katter’s Australian Party was expected to hold three seats, with the Greens also on track to hold at least two and possibly three seats.
One Nation’s Stephen Andrew and independent Sandy Bolton make up the final numbers.
A multi-million-dollar advertising blitz by billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer reaped just 0.6 per cent of the statewide vote.
Adelaide 500 revenue plummeted before cancellation
The Adelaide 500 generated 17 per cent less revenue in 2020 compared to the preceding year, according to new figures from the South Australian Tourism Commission.
The drop, from $45.9m in 2019 to $38m this year, partly contributed to the decision to kill off the V8 Supercars race.
The figures also show a 21 per cent drop in visitors from interstate and overseas, from 15,200 in 2019 to 11,906.
Premier Steven Marshall on Saturday said the event would not be coming back.
“It was a very tough decision but I am quite sure it was the right decision,” Mr Marshall said. “What we have seen in recent times is falling numbers, rising costs, lower corporate patronage.”
Mr Marshall downplayed concerns Supercars would respond to the decision by pulling out of the state’s other race at Tailem Bend.
“That is a decision for Supercars but what I would say is that Supercars have been at The Bend twice already this year,” he said.
Labor leader Peter Malinauskas hinted his party would go to the March 2022 election with a promise to bring back the event.
Labor to consider merging SA universities
Labor Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas has unveiled a 2022 state election promise to establish a commission to consider the prospect of merging South Australia’s top three universities.
“We are the only mainland state without a uni in the Top 100 in the world,” Malinauskas said on Saturday. “This is my plan to fix that.”
He blamed Liberal Premier Steven Marshall’s “lack of leadership” for the failure of past merger discussions between the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia in 2018.
Mr Marshall dismissed the policy announcement as “embarrassing”.
“I think the universities in South Australia are more than capable of sitting down and discussing mergers themselves,” Mr Marshall said.
Wallabies defiant after humbling defeat
Defiant Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is refusing to blame inexperience for Australia’s heaviest defeat to the All Blacks in 117 years.
The Wallabies surrendered the Bledisloe Cup for an 18th straight year with a humiliating 43-5 loss at ANZ Stadium, then had to watch the jubilant New Zealanders rejoice after securing trans-Tasman bragging rights on Australian soil for the first time since 2009.
“They were top notch and we were a long way off it tonight and that was reflected in the score,” Rennie said.
“We’re hurting a lot from that,” said Wallabies captain Michael Hooper.
Debutant playmaker Noah Lolesio bagged Australia’s only try but had an otherwise forgettable first game in the gold jumper, while three-Test winger Filipo Daugunu also underwhelmed as the Wallabies’ young guns struggled.
– with AAP and Reuters
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