- SA to keep NSW border rules in place despite Victorian move
- Rain stops play as crucial Test hangs in balance
- Djokovic demands changes to Melbourne quarantine rules for tennis stars
- Zero new local cases for NSW, SA, Victoria
- Controversial Catholic leader Philip Wilson dies
- Overseas travel ‘unlikely’ in 2021
- Adelaide Hills crash kills teen
- Another positive case tightens rules for quarantining tennis stars
- US protests ‘a non-event’ ahead of Biden inauguration
- Border pressure mounts despite six new NSW virus cases
- Navalny detained upon return to Russia
- Double-overtime win for 36ers
SA to keep NSW border rules in place despite Victorian move
Lifting South Australia’s border restrictions with New South Wales is “still some time off”, Premier Steven Marshall says, despite Victoria today reopening its border to parts of Sydney and regional NSW.
Marshall said despite New South Wales today reporting no new locally-acquired coronavirus cases, South Australia would not do “anything that’s going to put us in jeopardy” by prematurely lifting its hard border restrictions.
“I think that opening up to New South Wales is still some time off,” he told reporters this afternoon.
It comes after the Victorian Government this morning announced it would reopen its border to the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and parts of Sydney, as the eastern state works to contain a cluster of locally-acquired coronavirus cases.
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Rain stops play as crucial Test hangs in balance
Dropped catches have helped Australia build a 276-run lead at tea on day four of the series-deciding fourth Test at the Gabba, where all eyes are on the rain radar as India await a potential declaration.
Steve Smith led the way with 55 as the hosts reached 7-243, having met spirited resistance from an inexperienced opposition who have repeatedly proven they will not be intimidated.
Mohammed Siraj helped ignite a chaotic collapse of 4-34 in Monday’s morning session.
Siraj, who debuted at the MCG but is now spearheading India’s unheralded attack, then put down two crucial chances after lunch.
The paceman was fielding on the rope when he reprieved Smith on 42 then grassed a return catch offered by Cameron Green on 14.
The tourists, as they have at every juncture since being skittled for 36 en route to a heavy defeat in the first Test, nonetheless kept fighting.
The dismissals of Smith, Green (37) and Tim Paine (27) made quick runs harder to come by, while umpires ended the post-lunch session eight minutes early because of wet weather.
Paine’s team require a victory to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy but further showers are predicted for the final day of the series.
Djokovic demands changes to Melbourne quarantine rules for tennis stars
World No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic has reportedly sent Australian Open boss Craig Tiley a letter with six points he would like actioned for frustrated players who are in lockdown in Melbourne.
There are 72 competitors now in 14 days isolation after further positive COVID-19 tests from their charter flights to Melbourne.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews this morning announced another four positive cases linked to the flights, bringing the total to nine – including one unnamed player.
The fresh blow to preparations for the tournament comes as world Djokovic reportedly called on Tennis Australia to fulfil a list of requests.
Djokovic, currently in isolation in Adelaide, was the former president of the ATP Player Council but resigned to set up the PTPA (Professional Tennis Players Association).
According to Spanish tennis website Punto de Break, Djokovic wants the days of isolation reduced, the ability for players to see their coach or trainer, and as many players as possible moved to private houses with a tennis court to facilitate training.
He also wanted better food and more fitness equipment delivered to the rooms of players.
Andrews shut down Djokovic’s ideas about reducing the duration of quarantine.
“People are free to provide lists of demands but the answer is no,” Andrews said.
The Premier also said that the rules regarding close contacts were firmly laid out for players before their arrival after a number complained they weren’t warned that all aboard the flights would go into lockdown.
Zero new local cases for NSW, SA, Victoria
NSW has recorded no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday with eight new cases in hotel quarantine.
However, the tally came from fewer than 9000 tests, prompting NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty to plead for an uptick in testing numbers.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has previously flagged the possibility of easing restrictions on Greater Sydney this week but only if testing rates are sufficiently high.
“The drop in daily testing numbers is of concern and NSW Health renews its calls for people to get tested if they are experiencing even the mildest of symptoms,” Dr McAnulty said in a statement on Monday.
“The best thing we can do for our friends and family is to get tested.”
Victoria has recorded a 12th consecutive day without a local coronavirus case, with almost 14,000 tests processed in the past 24 hours.
However, a tennis player and three staff members have tested positive to COVID-19 in hotel quarantine. It brings the total number of active cases in the state to 33.
Local health authorities released a statement about 11.40am saying there had been no new cases in South Australia today.
NSW recorded six new local cases of COVID-19 in the prior 24-hour period, five of which were household contacts of a previously confirmed case.
NSW Health has now genomically linked those cases to the Berala cluster but the route of transmission is yet to be established.
The sixth case was a Concord Repatriation General Hospital staff member who worked in the cardiology and radiology wards and may have been infectious on January 12, 13, and 14 but had minimal patient contact.
Berejiklian also on Monday broached the possibility of barring those who decline the COVID-19 vaccine from government-run buildings, as well as permitting private venues to take similar measures.
As the planned February rollout of the vaccine nears, the NSW government is considering a data-sharing partnership with the federal government that would help residents prove they have been immunised.
Controversial Catholic leader Philip Wilson dies
Former Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson, who was convicted but later acquitted on charges of covering up child sex abuse in NSW, has died aged 70.
Wilson had suffered a series of health issues in recent years, including cancer, but his death was unexpected, the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide said in a statement late yesterday.
“We know that Philip was much loved by people across the country, but especially in the places he served – in Maitland-Newcastle, in Wollongong and here in Adelaide,” the serving Archbishop of Adelaide Patrick O’Regan said.
“He made major contributions to the church and the wider communities in which he ministered.”
Wilson was appointed Archbishop of Adelaide in 2001.
He held the post until his resignation in 2018 when he was convicted of covering up the crimes of pedophile priest James Fletcher, who was found guilty of sexual abuse committed in the NSW Hunter region in the 1970s.
At Wilson’s trial, prosecutors argued that two altar boys had in 1976 told Wilson that they’d been abused by Fletcher but he had done nothing.
Wilson was sentenced to a year of home detention but he appealed the case and won.
A District Court judge quashed the conviction in December 2018, saying there was a reasonable doubt whether Wilson remembered being told about the abuse or believed the victim had been preyed upon by Fletcher.
When Wilson’s conviction was quashed, abuse survivor Peter Gogarty, a victim of Fletcher, said he couldn’t believe the judge’s decision.
“I didn’t sleep much last night,” he told Nine Network.
“I think the real concern out of this is that after spending billions of dollars on a royal commission … and all of the horrendous stories that we heard out of that, we’re back at a point where nobody in any of these institutions – and particularly in the Catholic Church – has been brought to account.”
After Wilson’s death, Archbishop O’Regan said his predecessor was acquitted of all charges and had been part of the solution, not the problem.
“A harrowing period of allegations, charges, conviction and eventually acquittal was a significant chapter on Philip’s life, but his record of supporting and advocating on behalf of victims and survivors is part of his legacy,” he said.
“Philip knew what pain many people had endured and suffered as a result of the sickening actions of some within the church.
“He was part of the solution, and widely recognised as such.”
Details of Wilson’s funeral are still being finalised.
Overseas travel ‘unlikely’ in 2021
The head of Australia’s health department believes it is unlikely international borders will substantially reopen this year, even if most people are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Brendan Murphy downplayed the prospect of a widespread easing of border restrictions, meaning dreams of international travel this year remain on hold for Australians.
“I think the answer is probably no,” Murphy told the ABC on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus.”
Meanwhile, Australian authorities are chasing more details after Norway reported a small number of very frail people died after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says it may influence what advice the Therapeutic Goods Administration provides for Australia’s vaccine rollout.
Hunt says at this stage there is no change to Australia’s planned vaccine program, which is due to start next month.
The government is planning to distribute the Pfizer vaccine as well as the locally produced AstraZeneca jab.
A survey of more than 1200 people by market researcher Roy Morgan has found more than three quarters of Australians are keen to be vaccinated.
The federal government has secured 20 additional charter flights to bring more Australians home before March.
But the government is facing calls to ramp up its efforts, with the global pandemic quickly becoming much worse across Europe and the United States.
Adelaide Hills crash kills teen
A 19-year-old Nairne man has died after a crash in the Adelaide Hills.
Police and emergency services were called to Summit Road near Nairne just before 10.30pm last night after reports that a Holden sedan had left the road and collided with a tree.
The driver and sole occupant died at the scene.
Major Crash investigators attended the scene, and road closures were in place for several hours but have since reopened.
The man’s death is the sixth life lost on South Australian roads this year, compared to five at this time last year.
Another positive case tightens rules for quarantining tennis stars
A further 25 Australian Open players have been forced into quarantine on arrival into Melbourne ahead of the season’s first tennis major, bringing the total number of competitors now isolating in hotel rooms to 72.
But Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has ruled out delaying the tennis grand slam despite increasing pressure from restive international players furious about being put into hard quarantine.
A fifth person, who had flown into Melbourne on an Australian Open charter flight from Doha, tested positive on Sunday night after arriving on Saturday.
It meant three Australian Open charter flights have now brought in passengers to Melbourne who later tested positive, following infections on planes from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi.
The players will now be confined to their hotel rooms for the next 14 days.
All international players were originally given an exemption to train for up to five hours a day but the test results have forced the three affected flights into stricter quarantine under Victorian government orders, prompting complaints of unfair advantage for the others.
Tennis stars and support staff currently quarantining in Adelaide will be subject to South Australia’s strict coronavirus measures should any test positive ahead of an event later this month, Premier Steven Marshall says.
A host of the world’s leading players, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, flew into Adelaide last week ahead of a one-day exhibition tournament at Memorial Drive on January 29.
They are all in hotel quarantine in North Adelaide and have special arrangements in place to allow them to train over the next two weeks.
Marshall says there is no suggestion any of the players or their support crews have tested positive at this stage.
But he says if they do, they will be moved to Adelaide’s dedicated COVID-19 facility along with other active infections.
“There is very tight scrutiny around the people who have come into South Australia,” Marshall said on Sunday.
“The reality is, it would be impossible for somebody who has contracted this disease to be out and about in public.
“We would have to have them very securely supervised, there would be no more training for them.”
SA reported no new virus cases on Sunday and currently has 11 active infections, all returned travellers in quarantine.
The coach of 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Sylvain Bruneau, confirmed he was one of the four cases in Melbourne.
Training has been put on hold for all quarantined players in Melbourne pending final test results, although all players and their training partners have been cleared of COVID-19.
Some players in hard lockdown are calling for the February 8 Australian Open start date to be pushed back to ensure they have adequate time to prepare.
But Tiley ruled out another date change.
“We are planning on February the eighth … and our intention is to continue with those dates,” Tiley told Nine Network’s Today Show.
He said they would consider adjusting the schedule for the lead-in ATP and WTA tournaments which are due to start in Melbourne on January 31 and February 1.
The players are getting little sympathy from many Australians, with thousands of compatriots unable to travel home while many Victorians are currently locked out of the state.
They will pocket a minimum $100,000 if they take part on the Australian Open main draw.
US protests ‘a non-event’ ahead of Biden inauguration
Law enforcement officers have far outnumbered protesters at US state capital grounds, as few Trump supporters who believe the president’s false claim that he won the 2020 election turned out for what authorities feared could be violent demonstrations.
More than a dozen states activated National Guard troops to help secure their capital buildings following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations, with right-wing extremists emboldened by the deadly attack on the US Capitol in Washington on January 6.
Security officials had earmarked Sunday as the first major flashpoint, as that is when the anti-government “boogaloo” movement made plans weeks ago to hold rallies in all 50 states.
But by late Sunday afternoon, only handfuls of demonstrators had taken to the streets alongside much larger crowds of law enforcement officers and media personnel.
“It was a non-event today and we are glad it was,” said Troy Thompson, spokesman for the Department of General Services, the agency that protects the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg.
On Sunday afternoon, police opened streets around the building that had been blocked off in anticipation of bigger crowds.
A small group of about a dozen protesters, a few armed with rifles, stood outside Michigan’s capital in Lansing on Sunday afternoon.
By early evening, the capital grounds in Lansing were deserted.
The nationwide security increase followed the attack on the US Capitol by a mix of extremists and Trump supporters, some of whom called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence as he presided over the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
The FBI and other federal agencies have warned of the potential for future violence leading up to Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, as white supremacists and other extremists seek to exploit frustration among Trump supporters who have bought into his falsehoods about electoral fraud.
Tens of thousands of security personnel from the National Guard and law enforcement agencies have descended upon Washington DC to bolster security ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony.
Downtown Washington was a ghost town on Sunday. Gun-toting National Guard soldiers in camouflage manned checkpoints across the city centre, which was closed off to traffic with large military vehicles deployed to block streets.
Border pressure mounts despite six new NSW virus cases
NSW has recorded six new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 after days without a community transmitted infection but Premier Gladys Berejiklian says it is high time Victoria reopened its border with the state.
Five of the six cases were household contacts of the western Sydney man reported on Saturday while investigations continue into the source of his infection.
NSW Health believes it is likely to be linked to the Berala bottle shop cluster.
The sixth case is a Concord Repatriation General Hospital staff member who worked in the cardiology and radiology wards and may have been infectious on January 12, 13, and 14.
The person wore a face mask during each shift and had minimal contact with patients.
The new cases come after days without a locally transmitted infection.
On Sunday, Berejiklian said Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews had not made contact about the state’s hard border and reiterated her misgivings about the controversial move.
“He’s not been in touch with me at all but I also say that should have occurred quite a while back because we don’t have a hot spot in NSW,” Berejiklian said.
“We are, of course, dealing with a result of an outbreak from a month ago, but I think everybody would agree that closing a border of such significance is a really big deal.
“I stress that we waited until Victoria had in excess of – I think it was 180 cases they had the day after we announced the border closure.”
Victoria has gone 11 straight days without a new local coronavirus infection and residents stuck in the Brisbane area are now free to travel back to the state.
Navalny detained upon return to Russia
Russian police have arrested leading Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny at passport control after he flew home to Russia from Germany for the first time since he was poisoned with a nerve agent last year.
The opposition leader says the authorities were behind the poisoning but the allegation is denied by the Kremlin.
Navalny’s plane was diverted to another Moscow airport at the last minute on Sunday in an apparent effort by authorities to thwart journalists and supporters greeting him.
He was detained when he showed his passport to border guards before formally entering Russia, Reuters witnesses said.
His wife, Yulia, his spokeswoman and his lawyer were allowed to enter Russia.
It was not immediately clear why he had been detained.
But the Russian capital’s prison service had earlier said it would do everything to arrest him once he returned, accusing him of flouting the terms of a suspended prison sentence for embezzlement, a 2014 case he says was trumped up.
Police earlier detained several people and cleared a crowd out of the terminal at Vnuko airport. Supporters chanted “Russia will be free!” and “Navalny! Navalny!”.
Navalny, 44, boarded a plane in Berlin at the last minute from a car sitting on the tarmac.
“This is the best moment in the last five months,” he told reporters in Berlin.
“I feel great. Finally, I’m returning to my home town.”
He said he didn’t think he would be arrested, calling himself an innocent person.
“What do I need to be afraid of? What bad thing can happen to me in Russia?” he added.
The opposition politician, who says he has nearly fully recovered, says Putin was behind his poisoning.
The Kremlin denies involvement, saying it has seen no evidence that he was poisoned, and that he is free to return to Russia.
Putin allies point to opinion polls that show the Russian leader is far more popular than Navalny, who they call a blogger rather than a politician.
Double-overtime win for 36ers
The Adelaide 36ers have bounced back from a poor NBL season opener to notch a thrilling 116-108 double-overtime victory over South East Melbourne Phoenix.
Playing in front of more than 6000 fans at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, the lead changed hands 29 times, with the teams unable to be separated at the end of regulation (89-89).
Scores were also tied at the end of the first overtime (99-99) before Josh Giddey’s all-round brilliance off the bench (16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists) proved decisive for the 36ers.
“It was really good to win a game under the circumstances with multiple guys fouling out,” Adelaide coach Conner Henry said.
“We got production from a lot more guys.
“We turned the ball over early but took care of it better in the second half, which was a huge key.”
The win follows a 24-point loss to Melbourne United in the season opener on Friday night.
Adelaide captain Daniel Johnson (33 points at 79 per cent) fouled out late in the fourth term yesterday, having waged an engrossing duel with Phoenix skipper and former 36ers teammate Mitch Creek (30 points), who fouled out with 10 seconds left in the second overtime.
The 36ers shot 69 per cent in the first half and led 45-36 before the Phoenix silenced the crowd and pegged it back to 47-43 at halftime.
Phoenix carried that momentum into the third term, at the end of which they led 74-70, before the 36ers shot eight unanswered points to start the fourth term by stealing the lead.
– with AAP and Reuters
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