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What we know today, Wednesday April 21


Today’s breaking news from South Australia, the nation and abroad.

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Qld man has blood clots after Pfizer jab

A man is reportedly being treated for blood clots in a Brisbane hospital three days after receiving the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19.

The 40-year-old was rushed to hospital after developing the clots on Wednesday, Nine News reported.

The man received the Pfizer shot on Sunday.

Queensland Health has not confirmed the report.

But if confirmed it will be the first reported case of a patient developing blood clots after getting the Pfizer vaccine in Australia.

So far three people have developed blood clots in Australia after being given the AstraZeneca vaccine.

They include 48-year-old Genene Norris who died in NSW last week after developing blood clots.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration said this was likely linked to her vaccination.

Norris had several chronic health conditions when she received the jab on April 8. She became unwell three or four days later before dying on April 15.

The other two who developed blood clots likely linked to their AstraZeneca jab are a woman in Western Australia and a man in Victoria, both aged in their 40s.

Australians under the age of 50 were last week warned off receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, after a link was confirmed between the jab and rare blood clots.

At least 14 people have had allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine, but none have developed blood clots.

Retail spending rebounds after lockdowns

Retail spending jumped 1.4 per cent in March, led by gains in Victoria and Western Australia after their COVID-19 lockdowns impacted sales in the previous month.

March’s rise in the Australian Bureau of Statistics preliminary retail figures for the month was stronger than the one per cent increase expected by economists and followed a 0.8 per cent fall in the previous month.

Retail turnover was 2.3 per cent higher than a year earlier.

In the month, retail spending grew by four per cent in Victoria and 5.5 per cent in WA, rebounding from their February lockdowns.

In contrast, Queensland saw a minor fall reflecting the three-day lockdown in Greater Brisbane at the end of March.

For the March quarter, retail trade is showing a 0.1 per cent fall compared to three months earlier.

Even so, the monthly increase comes at a time of particularly strong consumer confidence.

Backing that confidence was the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index, which continues to point to solid economic growth above the long-term annual trend rate of around 2.8 per cent over the next three to nine months.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans is predicting a growth rate of 4.5 per cent in 2021 and largely driven by consumer demand, which is expected to contribute three of those percentage points.

“The reopening of the economy, cashed up households and an 11-year high in consumer sentiment all point to strong spending,” Evans said.

Meanwhile, the National Skills Commission released its final report on vacancies posted on the internet for March, confirming preliminary data showing job advertisements soared 19.1 per cent to a 12-year high.

This was the 11th consecutive monthly increase in job ads and a staggering 96.4 per cent increase above the level recorded in March 2020, the first month restrictions were introduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Job ads rose across all eight occupational groups monitored by the commission during the month.

Other gauges of job advertising, which are a guide to future employment outcomes, have also been upbeat and suggest there is momentum in the economy to absorb jobs losses as a result of the end of JobKeeper.

Fewer businesses are concerned about the impact the end of the wage subsidy might have than they were six months ago.

Crows expect Walker to overcome calf issue

Adelaide expect in-form AFL forward Taylor Walker to overcome a calf strain and play against Hawthorn on Sunday.

Walker, who leads the league’s goalkicking with 22 majors from five games, is carrying a “low-grade” calf injury, the Crows’ head of football Adam Kelly says.

The veteran forward had his injured calf heavily strapped at halftime of Adelaide’s 12-point loss to Fremantle last Sunday.

“Tex carried a low-grade calf strain into the game,” Kelly told the club’s website.

“Pleasingly he got through the game fine. That (injury) will continue to be monitored throughout the week with the expectation he will play against the Hawks.”

The Crows, in seventh spot with three wins and two losses, meet 17th-placed Hawthorn in Launceston.

Adelaide’s captain Rory Sloane has resumed running after having eye surgery to correct a retinal detachment.

Sloane, who has missed the past two matches, is at least two weeks from returning to play while fellow midfielder Matt Crouch could spend another month on the sidelines.

Crouch hasn’t featured in a premiership game this season, troubled by a groin injury after having off-season hip surgery.

But the Crows expect Tom Lynch to front against the Hawks despite the linkman battling a toe injury.

“Tom has been sore in his foot for a few weeks now,” Kelly said.

“He has been able to … get through games, (his toe) will be monitored throughout the week.”

‘We can’t stop here’: Biden weighs in on Chauvin verdict

US President Joe Biden has called the guilty verdict in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd “a giant step” toward justice in the United States.

Derek Chauvin, a white officer, was convicted after kneeling for more than nine minutes on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, during an arrest last May that set off worldwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

The 12-member jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty of all three charges – second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter – after considering three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses.

“It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see,” Biden said in nationally televised remarks on Tuesday.

“Systemic racism is a stain on the nation’s soul.”

He said the verdict is “not enough” and “we can’t stop here”.

The Democratic president said the protests seen in the United States after Floyd’s killing were something the nation had not witnessed since the civil rights movement and had unified people of different races.

“Nothing can ever bring their brother and father back,” he said of the Floyd family, “but this can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”

Vice-President Kamala Harris also delivered remarks, urging the US Senate to pass the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act”, which was approved by the House of Representatives and aims to stop aggressive law enforcement tactics that have targeted African Americans and other minorities.

“A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice. This verdict brings us a step closer,” said Harris, the first black person, first Asian American and first woman to be vice-president.

Earlier in the day, Biden said he was praying for the “right verdict”.

He telephoned Floyd’s family after the outcome, telling them, “We’re all so relieved.”

SA Health face industrial action from cleaning workers

Cleaning workers and support staff at several South Australian hospitals are planning to take industrial action with  “cleaning bans”, after negotiations with the State Government over a new enterprise bargaining agreement fell through.

The staff, represented by the United Workers Union, are due to begin the action at midday today.

The union are seeking a pay rise and a commitment from the Government to maintain current employment conditions.

The State Government last night applied to the South Australian Employment Tribunal for the immediate cessation of the industrial action.

The Tribunal this morning ordered the two parties into compulsory conciliation, with a hearing to take place at 11:30am.

Treasurer Rob Lucas said the proposed industrial action was “risky and downright dangerous”.

“These disgraceful actions from the union bosses are completely unacceptable and run counter to health advice in terms of the essential cleaning of our hospitals, putting at risk staff and patient safety, and demonstrating how out of touch the union is,” Lucas said.

“It defies belief that during a global pandemic, the union bosses would institute dangerous bans as part of an industrial campaign to force the Government to agree to their pay and industrial demands.”

It comes amid an ongoing industrial dispute between the State Government and the Ambulance Employees Association over the resourcing of the SA Ambulance service.

Lucas said SA Health’s advice was that cleaning bans “may pose a risk to patient and staff safety”, and uncleaned beds could increase the risk of “bed block” at the state’s hospitals.

Public sector director of United Workers Union Demi Pnevmatikos said the action would not affect patient safety.

“The Marshall Government has been on notice about industrial action since March 3,” Pnevmatikos said.

“Workers continue to maintain their commitment to patient safety and protecting the health of our community, which is the reason they are taking industrial action in the first place.

“At the conciliation conference United Workers Union members welcome the opportunity to again stress how significantly patient care and safety would be affected by privatisation and cuts to the areas of essential work they perform every day.”

Meanwhile, two more South Australians have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19, as the state records numbers of infections not seen since the Parafield cluster last November.

SA Health revealed yesterday that a man in his 40s and a woman in her 20s had been moved to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and were in a stable condition.

They joined another man in his 40s who has been moved from the RAH’s intensive care unit to the COVID-19 ward.

Health authorities also reported a further three COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, all recorded in a medi-hotel, bringing the state’s number of active infections to 18.

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick said the numbers were a reminder of the COVID situation overseas.

“This takes us back to the Parafield Cluster and this is the first time we’re seeing these high level of cases coming into SA: 18 active cases,” Kirkpatrick told reporters on Tuesday.

“This is a reminder of what we’re seeing overseas currently and we are seeing that increased instance of COVID-19.”

EPL ‘big six’ abandon rebel Super League

All six Premier League clubs touted as founders of the Super League have dramatically abandoned plans to join the breakaway competition.

The move threatens to implode the project by a group of elite English, Spanish and Italian clubs less than two days after it was announced.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham deserted the 12-team project amid an escalating backlash that saw the government warn of legislating to stop the closed-off rebel league.

City were the first club to go public with their decision to leave the project on Tuesday, saying they have “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League”.

The move was praised by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

“I’m delighted to welcome City back to the European football family… It takes courage to admit a mistake but I never doubted they had the ability and common sense to make that decision. City are a real asset for the game,” he said in a statement.

The English FA also welcomed the news.

“English football has a proud history based on opportunity for all clubs and the game has been unanimous in its disapproval of a closed league,” it said in a statement.

United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham all followed suit while Chelsea, who played out a 0-0 draw at home with Brighton in the Premier League on Tuesday evening, were preparing documents to tell the Super League they want out too.

It capped a remarkable evening of developments in the saga which also saw United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward resign.

In a statement, Manchester United said: “Manchester United will not be participating in the European Super League.

“We have listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders.

“We remain committed to working with others across the football community to come up with sustainable solutions to the long-term challenges facing the game.”

Liverpool released a brief statement announcing the club’s withdrawal while Arsenal did likewise.

“As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League,” the Gunners said in an open letter to fans.

“We made a mistake, and we apologise for it.”

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said he regretted the “anxiety and upset” caused as he confirmed the club had “formally commenced procedures to withdraw from the group developing proposals for a European Super League (ESL).”

Trans-Tasman bubble to continue despite Auckland COVID case

Australian health authorities are “watching New Zealand” but the trans-Tasman bubble is yet to pop from a new community COVID-19 case in Auckland.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health announced the new case on Tuesday afternoon (NZST), just a day after New Zealand dropped quarantine requirements for Australian travellers.

There is a clear link to a possible infection source: the person cleans planes that have taken “red zone” flights from high-risk countries,

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the new case shouldn’t impact trans-Tasman travel arrangements.

“These are the kind of scenarios where we would anticipate movement continuing,” she said.

“Our Minister of Health has kept in touch with his counterpart. They’re directly communicating and so are our officials.”

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the panel charged with decision-making around COVID-19 had confidence in NZ’s management of the virus

“The advice I have from the Chief Medical Officer who had been in a meeting with the … Australian Health Protection Principal Committee today is that they’re watching New Zealand, but they have high confidence that New Zealand has this in train,” he said.

“We’ve seen them deal with the inevitable outbreaks and there will be other days when there are cases in Australia.

“We know how to deal with this. New Zealand knows how to deal with this.”

The fresh case came a day after emotional scenes at Kiwi airports as thousands of people took advantage of the trans-Tasman bubble to visit loved ones.

Under the terms of the bubble agreement, Australian states and territories and New Zealand can suspend quarantine-free travel with places that have outbreaks.

So far, there are few signs that a bubble-bursting outbreak will occur.

New Zealand health authorities spent Tuesday interviewing the person, identifying 16 close contacts and three places of interest – all retail centres in Auckland.

The person’s five household contacts have all been tested, and have all returned negative results.

Ardern said the person was fully vaccinated – receiving two doses of the Pfizer vaccine – and tested positive during mandated weekly testing for Kiwi border workers.

Chauvin convicted of murder, manslaughter

A jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter after he knelt on the neck of George Floyd during an arrest last May.

The verdict was read in court on Tuesday morning, with Chauvin found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree “depraved mind” murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The 12 sequestered jurors have considered three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses including bystanders, police officials and medical experts along with hours of video evidence in the most high-profile US case involving accusations of police misconduct in decades.

Jurors had reach a unanimous verdict on each charge to convict or acquit. A single hold-out would have resulted result in a mistrial.

All three charges required that jurors found Chauvin’s acts were a “substantial causal factor” in Floyd’s death but none required they find he intended to kill Floyd.

In an arrest captured on video, Chauvin pushed his knee into the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old handcuffed black man, for more than nine minutes outside the grocery store where Floyd had been accused of buying cigarettes with a fake $US20 banknote.

Floyd’s relatives, many of them travelling from Texas, have taken turns sitting in a single chair reserved for them in the courtroom.

US President Joe Biden spoke with Floyd’s family on Monday “to check in with them and also share that the family was in his prayers”, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

With the jurors sequestered, Biden told reporters at the White House he was praying for the “right verdict” in the most high-profile US case involving accusations of police misconduct in decades.

Angela Harrelson, an aunt of Floyd, wrote in a text message the family was “waiting nervously” for the verdict.

The case hinged on whether the jury believed the prosecution argument that Chauvin used excessive, and therefore illegal, force that killed Floyd.

The defence countered that Chauvin behaved as any “reasonable police officer” would, and sought to raise doubts about the cause of Floyd’s death, saying heart disease or even the exhaust fumes from the nearby police car may have been factors.

The courthouse was surrounded by high barricades and guarded by National Guard troops.

Many downtown businesses boarded up their windows for fear of a repeat of the violent street clashes that unfolded last year between police in riot gear and protesters, some of whom set fire to a police precinct house and damaged nearby property.

Big Bird costume returned to Thebarton circus

The Big Bird costume that was taken from a circus in Bonython Park has been safely returned overnight and is in good condition.

Police say they were called to Port Road at 5am this morning after two males were reported to be carrying the stolen costume.

The costume was then left near an electricity box at the south western end of the circus, and the two males then ran off back across Port Road.

A SAPOL spokesperson said: “Police patrols converged on the area, securing the stolen costume which contained a letter of apology in the beak.”

“Patrols searched the area including using a police dog patrol but the two men weren’t located.”

The costume was taken from the circus sometime between Sunday April 18 and Monday April 19.

Police say the costume is “intact” and their investigation into the theft continues.

Historic tie for AFLW’s best and fairest

For the first time in AFLW history, the two best players in the competition couldn’t be split with Collingwood co-captain Brianna Davey and Fremantle star Kiara Bowers tying for the league’s best and fairest award with 15 votes apiece.

Davey didn’t poll in round one but then polled the maximum three votes in every game between rounds two and six, while Bowers polled consistently and landed a vote in round nine to force the tie.

“To be honest I wasn’t (expecting it) – it’s very overwhelming, and quite emotional. I’m just stoked – so very happy,” Davey told reporters last night.

“Kiara’s been an absolute force in this comp and she has been for years.

“Injuries plagued her (in the past) and I (have had injuries) as well so I can relate.

“It’s an honour to be able to wear a medal like this and alongside a player like her is the cherry on top.”

Early leader and Western Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn and GWS young gun Alyce Parker had 14 votes apiece, while Melbourne gun Karen Paxman finished on 13.

Davey, 26, was named captain of the All-Australian team earlier in the night, recognising a season where she averaged 23.1 disposals and booted six goals.

Meanwhile, Bowers, 29, named vice-captain after averaging 21.2 disposals and 10.3 tackles per game.

Bowers was one of Fremantle’s first signings but missed the first two AFLW seasons through knee injuries before coming to the fore, finishing second behind Maddison Prespakis in last year’s best and fairest.

Three Adelaide Crows made it to the All-Australian team, with defender Sarah Allan retaining her spot from last year, while stars Ebony Marinoff and Erin Phillips both made their third appearance in the exclusive squad.

Earlier in the night, Melbourne young gun Tyla Hanks was named the 2021 AFLW Rising Star.

Hanks won the award with 48 votes, ahead of Richmond’s Ellie McKenzie (32), West Coast’s Mikayla Bowen (22), St Kilda’s Tyanna Smith (19) and Brisbane’s Nat Grider (10).

-With AAP and Reuters

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