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What we know today, Tuesday January 12


Welcome to your serving of the day’s breaking news from South Australia, the nation and abroad.

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No changes to border restrictions for SA

South Australian officials have decided not to lift quarantine requirements yet for visitors from Greater Brisbane, after meeting this afternoon.

Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said the transition committee had decided to keep the 14-day quarantine requirement for now.

But she said the restriction would be reviewed after a meeting with her interstate counterparts tomorrow, where she expected to get more information about Queensland’s situation.

SA imposed the requirement on Friday, as Greater Brisbane entered a snap three-day lockdown, after a cleaner in a quarantine hotel was diagnosed with the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk lifted Greater Brisbane’s lockdown last night – despite the cleaner’s partner also yesterday returning a positive test to the new strain.

The state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the man had been in quarantine since January 7 and additional contact tracing was underway.

The Northern Territory and ACT removed their travel restrictions with Queensland yesterday.

Emerging from the transition committee meeting this afternoon, Spurrier told reporters there would be “no changes to border arrangements and restrictions at this stage”.

“What we have based that on is the number of people that have gone into quarantine (in QLD)… they haven’t got everybody’s test result back yet and so we were mindful of that when we made that decision today,” she said.

“But I am very keen to have that border arrangement lifted and I will be getting further information… tomorrow to make us feel fully confident when we change our border arrangements.”

Regarding SA’s hard border with New South Wales, Spurrier said she still wanted to see 14 days of no new cases of community transmission before lifting that restriction.

SA recorded no new cases today.

There are 15 active cases, all returned travellers in medi-hotels.

There have been four cases of the highly contagious UK variant in SA – two have been cleared and released from medi-hotels and two are still in quarantine.

A range of other restrictions still exist in SA, including a cap of 50 people for gatherings at homes, and one person per two square metres in restaurants.

Authorities have previously said they will review these in the new year as they watch virus developments here and interstate.

Police investigate South East bushfire

Police are investigating the cause of a large bushfire that destroyed at least one building overnight and burnt more than 14,000ha of grassland in the state’s Lower South East

More than 200 firefighters are still battling the blaze which burnt land in the areas of Blackford, Lucindale and Avenue Range west of Naracoorte.

It started about 12.30 yesterday, and quickly spread in dangerous conditions, burning right up to the township of Lucindale, killing large numbers of livestock.

About 250 firefighters fought the fire overnight, bringing it under control, however the Country Fire Service says it’s still burning with “significant hotspots”.

CFS spokesman Brett Williamson told InDaily at least one building has been destroyed and there are reports of several other property losses as well as significant fencing losses.

He said there were reports of one firefighter injured overnight, who was treated and is ok today.

CFS and Department of Environment and Water (DEW) had 45 fire trucks, supported by farm fire units, fighting the fire last night.

CFS aerial water bombing operations completed 101 air drops assisting crews on the ground.

PIRSA staff are helping manage stock losses while SAPOL has closed several roads in the area.

People driving through the affected area are urged to slow down and be aware of fallen trees, injured or deceased livestock and wildlife that may be on the roads.

Williamson said dangerous conditions were expected again tomorrow as firefighters work to extinguish several hotspots.

People in the area are also being warned to watch out for falling trees.

Night diver rescued at Port Noarlunga

A woman on a night dive at Port Noarlunga has been rescued after being swept out to sea.

Emergency services were called to Port Noarlunga jetty about 10.20pm last night after the woman who had been in a group of divers conducting a night dive was swept out to sea by a strong current.

Southern District patrols established points along the coastline and were able to spot the faint torchlight of the diver approximately 1km offshore.

With the assistance of a police aircraft and a Sea Rescue boat, the woman was safely plucked from the sea about 11.20pm.

Paramedics treated the 45-year-old woman at the scene for fatigue but she had no other injuries.

Democrats begin Trump impeachment push

US Congressional Democrats have begun a push to force President Donald Trump from office, introducing one article of impeachment accusing him of inciting insurrection over a violent attack on the Capitol last week.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is expected to take up the matter as early as tomorrow.

Passage would make Trump, a Republican, the only president in US history to be impeached twice.

Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week, forcing lawmakers who were certifying Democratic president-elect Joe Biden’s election victory into hiding in a harrowing assault on the heart of the country’s democracy that left five dead.

The violence came after Trump urged supporters to march on the Capitol to “cheer on our brave Senators and Congressmen and women” at a rally where he repeated allegations that his defeat in the November 3 election was illegitimate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, many of her fellow Democrats and a handful of Republicans say the Republican president should not be trusted to serve out his term, which ends on January 20.

“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this president represents an imminent threat to both,” Pelosi wrote to her fellow House Democrats on Sunday.

Earlier, Republicans blocked an effort to immediately consider a resolution asking Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the US constitution’s never-used 25th Amendment to remove an unfit president.

The House is expected on Tuesday to vote on the resolution calling for use of the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president and the cabinet to remove a president who is incapable of fulfilling his duties.

Pence and his fellow Republicans have shown little interest in invoking the amendment.

Dozens of people who attacked police officers, stole computers and smashed windows at the Capitol have been arrested for their role in the violence, and officials have opened 25 domestic terrorism investigations.

Trump acknowledged that a new administration would take office on January 20 in a video statement after the attack.

Twitter and Facebook have suspended his accounts, citing the risk of him inciting violence.

Trump has also been stung by the world of professional golf, with the PGA of America and the R&A both announcing they would shun two courses owned by the President in the wake of the storming of the US Capitol.

The PGA of America on Monday said it was stripping the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster of the 2022 PGA Championship, following a vote by its board of directors.

“It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand,” PGA of America President Jim Richerson said in a video announcing the decision.

Hours later, golf governing body the R&A followed suit, saying it would not stage any championships at the Trump-owned Turnberry golf course in Scotland for the foreseeable future.

Adelaide Oval to host four more Big Bash matches

Adelaide Oval will host four extra BBL matches between January 21 and 25 following a decision to stop playing matches in Sydney.

Cricket Australia last night announced it was impossible to continue to host matches in the NSW capital while Sydney was locked out to every state due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Adelaide Strikers’ final three regular-season games will now be held at Adelaide Oval instead of Victoria and New South Wales, with a neutral match featuring the Syndey Sixers and Sydney Thunder also moved to Adelaide.

The affected matches are:

SACA Chief Executive Keith Bradshaw said while it was disappointing that the BBL|10 schedule had again been affected by the global pandemic, it was always prepared to assist in any way possible.

“And we know we can put on a wonderful, family-friendly experience for all relocated fixtures,” he said.

“Our fans support the Strikers whenever and wherever we play, and we look forward to giving our members and supporters additional chances to witness top quality cricket at our stunning home venue.”

After three games were moved on Friday, a further five were transferred from Sydney on last night to both Adelaide and Melbourne.

The decision means the top-of-the-table Sixers and second-placed Thunder won’t play in front of home fans again during the regular season.

It also likely means that despite their lofty ladder positions, neither team will be able to be rewarded with home finals.

The Adelaide Strikers have leapt to third position on the BBL ladder after mowing down the Melbourne Stars by five wickets at Adelaide Oval last night.

In champion spinner Rashid Khan’s last appearance for the Strikers in the 2020-21 BBL season, Adelaide restricted the Stars to 7-149.

Despite a mid-innings wobble, Adelaide sealed the victory with an over to spare when Tom O’Connell put down a tough outfield catch at cover, allowing Ryan Gibson to scurry through for the winning runs.

Jon Wells (36) and Gibson (22 not out) finished with a flurry after opener Phil Salt (31) provided the early fireworks.

Kohli welcomes daughter as pressure builds ahead of fourth Test

India captain Virat Kohli and his wife, Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma, have announced the birth of a baby girl, the couple’s first child.

Kohli broke the news last night, hours after the Indian cricket team fought back to hold Australia to a draw in the third Test of the series.

“We are thrilled to share with you that we have been blessed with a baby girl this afternoon,” Kohli wrote on Twitter.

“Anushka and the baby are both healthy and we are feeling beyond blessed to start this new chapter of our lives.”

Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar was among those who congratulated the new parents.

“May her life be blessed with good health & love,” he wrote on Twitter.

Kohli returned to India on paternity leave after playing in the opening test in Adelaide, which his team lost by eight wickets.

Meanwhile, Australia’s bowlers face their toughest turnaround in eight years as they seek to rebound for the deciding Test against India at the Gabba on Friday.

But with the four Test series locked at 1-1, Australian captain Tim Paine believes they’re up for the challenge.

The hosts sent down 131 overs on Sunday and Monday during a frustrating finish to the Sydney Test as India held on to draw.

The Border-Gavaskar series finale at the Gabba now shapes as one of the biggest Tests in Australia for years, with the series completely alive.

Paine said they would be fit and ready for the Test at Australia’s Gabba fortress on Friday.

It will no doubt make the toss vitally important, with Australia likely desperate to bat through day one to give their bowlers on extra day of rest.

India legend Sunil Gavaskar has stepped up his attack on Paine, declaring the wicketkeeper’s behaviour yesterday was unbefitting of a leader and that his “days as captain are numbered”.

Paine’s antics on day five of the third Test, and those of some teammates, made headlines around the world after an epic draw at the SCG.

Stump microphones picked up some barbs that Australia’s skipper, who has helped turn around the team’s image after the Cape Town cheating scandal, directed at India veteran Ravichandran Ashwin during the 122nd over of the stonewall.

Paine claimed “at least my teammates like me, dickhead” during the spat, also mocking Ashwin by asking “how many IPL teams wanted you, when you asked every single one of them to have you?”.

Paine dropped a catch during the following over, while Ashwin dragged his side to a draw despite a sore back.

Gavaskar, commentating at the time for Seven Network, slammed Paine for his “ridiculous” and “unnecessary” verbals.

The former opener, whose name adorns the trophy on the line in Brisbane, was even more critical while analysing Paine’s poor finish to the tense Sydney Test.

“It was unbefitting of a captain of a national team to be talking about something other than cricket,” he said.

China to let WHO investigators in this week

A World Health Organisation team of international experts tasked with investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic will arrive in China on January 14, Chinese authorities say.

Lack of authorisation from officials in Beijing had delayed the arrival of the 10-strong team on a long-awaited mission to investigate early infections, in what China’s foreign ministry called a “misunderstanding”.

The National Health Commission, which announced the arrival date, delayed from its early January schedule, did not detail the team’s itinerary.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the news and said that studies would begin in the central city of Wuhan where the first human cases were identified.

“We look forward to working closely with our (Chinese) counterparts on this critical mission to identify the virus source & its route of introduction to the human population,” Tedros wrote on Twitter.

He previously said he was “very disappointed” when experts were denied entry earlier this month, forcing two members of the team to turn back.

China has been accused of a cover-up that delayed its initial response, allowing the virus to spread since it first emerged in the city of Wuhan late in 2019.

US officials have called for a “transparent” WHO-led investigation and criticised its terms, which allowed Chinese scientists to do the first phase of preliminary research.

Ahead of the trip, Chinese officials have been seeking to shape the narrative about when and where the pandemic began, with senior diplomat Wang Yi saying “more and more studies” showed it emerged in multiple regions.

A health expert affiliated with the WHO said expectations should be “very low” that the team will reach a conclusion from their trip to China.

WHO emergencies chief Mike Ryan sought to defuse tensions around the trip at a virtual press briefing later on Monday.

“We are looking for the answers here that may save us in future – not culprits and not people to blame,” he said, adding that the WHO was willing to go “anywhere and everywhere” to find out how the virus emerged.

While other countries continue to struggle with infection surges, China has aggressively doused flare-ups.

Sunday’s 103 new cases were mainland China’s biggest daily increase in more than five months, as new infections rise in the province of Hebei, surrounding the capital Beijing.

– with AAP and Reuters
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