Hot News on 14/10/2021

NSW recorded 406 new locally-acquired Covid cases and six deaths on Thursday

The New South Wales government has announced a suite of measures to help businesses to expand outdoor dining and incentivise people to go out and spend money this summer, as surging vaccination rates mean the next phase of restrictions could be lifted within days.

As NSW recorded 406 new locally-acquired Covid cases and six deaths, the Perrottet government announced it would hand out a further two $25 vouchers to every adult in the state, with one able to be redeemed at restaurants and the other for entertainment venues.

Skellefteå has wooden schools, bridges, even car parks. And now it has one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings. We visit Sweden to see what a climate-conscious future looks like

As you come in to land at Skellefteå airport in the far north of Sweden, you are greeted by a wooden air traffic control tower poking up from an endless forest of pine and spruce. After boarding a biogas bus into town, you glide past wooden apartment blocks and wooden schools, cross a wooden road bridge and pass a wooden multistorey car park, before finally reaching the centre, now home to one of the tallest new wooden buildings in the world.

“We are not the wood Taliban,” says Bo Wikström, from Skellefteå’s tourism agency, as he leads a group of visitors on a “wood safari” of its buildings. “Other materials are allowed.” But why build in anything else – when you’re surrounded by 480,000 hectares of forest?

State reports national record of infections and 11 deaths as announcement on easing restrictions expected within days

Victoria has reported a spike in Covid cases, with 2,297 new infections and 11 deaths announced – making it a new Australian record.

Thursday’s numbers have surpassed the last national record set on 9 October by 330, when the state recorded 1,965 cases.

After a fireball streaked through the Canadian sky, Ruth Hamilton, of British Columbia, found a 2.8-pound rock the size of a large man’s fist near her pillow.
He was a budding talent for Cleveland when he was knocked over by Pete Rose in the 1970 All-Star Game. It was, he said, “something people will continue to talk about.”
Diggs, with his league-leading six interceptions, and emergent talents like Atlanta’s Cordarrelle Patterson and Arizona’s Rondale Moore have surprised opponents.

Leicester striker and Brighton midfielder backed to shine more than 50 years after two compatriots’ ill-starred Aston Villa stay

“I’ve had to do things differently because it’s a bit more difficult to expose your players from here,” says Lee Kawanu. “If someone hears about Zambia, first of all they would like to know where it is on the map.”

More than half a century after Zambia’s Emment Kapengwe and Freddie Mwila became the first African players to sign for Aston Villa under Tommy Docherty, the arrival of their compatriots Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu in the Premier League this summer set pulses racing among Chipolopolo supporters.

The 25-year-old Los Angeles musician’s debut album, “Juno,” is a collage of sounds, emotions and cultural detritus filtered through her own unique energy.
“I’m calling on more business to step up. I’m calling on more parents to get their children vaccinated when they are eligible,” President Biden said.

Ever since the order to work from home was lifted, workers in England have been heading back to the office – but mostly only a few days a week. Joanna Partridge looks at whether work will ever be the same again

In July the government lifted its advice that people in England should work from home wherever possible. It ended a phase of the pandemic that for many has meant doing their jobs remotely with video conferences instead of meetings, and no water-cooler chat.

But while the daily commute has returned for many, it is not everyone and not every day. Instead a new form of hybrid working has emerged as a popular alternative: half a week in the office and half at home. But it is not working for everyone: for businesses such as coffee shops that rely on busy town centres five days a week, hybrid working means more lost business. Last week the prime minister suggested in his party conference speech that Britain needs a further push to get back to the office full-time.

Mr. Favre was among more than 10 people who received letters from the state auditor demanding repayment of tens of millions of dollars connected to an extensive welfare fraud scheme.


Angela Spedding had cited ‘freedom of choice’ for her refusal to get the vaccine but now says she has booked an appointment for next week

A regional Victorian newsagent has backed down on her refusal to be administered a Covid-19 vaccination after she closed her post office, citing state health orders.

Angela Spedding, who had operated Merrigum’s only post office for more than six years, said she had booked in a jab after being told the post office would close if she hadn’t secured an appointment by the end of the working week.

This article was amended on 14 October 2021. An earlier version stated Martin Foley was Victoria’s chief health officer. He is Victoria’s health minister.

The star, who is set to make $40 million this year, said he opposes vaccine mandates, saying nobody should be “forced” to do it.

Study shows protection against Covid starts to wane several months after full vaccination

Scientists have urged eligible people to have Covid booster shots after a major survey in England found evidence of “breakthrough infections” more than three months after full vaccination.

Researchers at Imperial College London analysed more than 100,000 swabs from a random sample of the population and found that Covid infection rates were three to four times higher among unvaccinated people than those who had received two shots.

If wealthy people in the Tories’ southern heartlands had died in their thousands, it would have been a very different story

That the lives of the poor are deemed to have less worth is so widely understood it feels almost trite to say it. Yet that it is as passively accepted as it is subconsciously acknowledged played a key role in our Covid-19 catastrophe. This week’s parliamentary inquiry into the official handling of the pandemic called it “one of the most important public health failures” in our history.

While, say, a sense of British exceptionalism is blamed for inadequate pandemic planning, the real reasons for this avoidable national calamity receive insufficient scrutiny. That there were “unacceptably high death rates amongst people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities” due to “existing social, economic and health inequalities” being exacerbated is highlighted: that this itself led to Covid-19 transmission being tolerated is not.

Bureau of Meteorology issue severe thunderstorm warning for much of the NSW coastline on Thursday, with sustained hail falling on western Sydney

Residents in greater Sydney were warned of possible “tornado activity” and giant hailstones on Thursday afternoon as a severe storm moved across the city.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning for much of the New South Wales coastline including the potential for a tornado in western Sydney.

The two leaders are expected to discuss the situation in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, where fighters have been accused of atrocities against civilians.

Unhoused residents fear they’ll end up back on the street after MacArthur Park closure: ‘This won’t solve the problem’

Los Angeles officials are shutting down a major public park in an effort to remove homeless encampments from the area, reigniting bitter conflicts about the city’s worsening housing crisis.

MacArthur Park, in the city’s Westlake neighborhood, is one of many public spaces in LA that became a popular camping spot for unhoused Angelenos during the pandemic, drawing hundreds of campers.

“Life Sciences” follows the youngest in a family of women plagued by mysterious, unheeded illnesses.
This thoughtful hostage drama from Denmark depicts the events surrounding the capturing of Daniel Rye, a photojournalist, by ISIS in 2013.

Flight carrying translators and others who have escaped Taliban to land at RAF Brize Norton on Friday

An RAF flight of Afghan translators and others who have escaped the Taliban is due to land in the UK on Friday, the largest single evacuation by Britain since the Kabul airlift ended in August.

Between 30 and 40 people are expected to land at RAF Brize Norton, having got out of Afghanistan via a route the Ministry of Defence wants to keep confidential to protect future evacuees.


A police official describes bow-and-arrow attacks in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg that have killed five and wounded two others. The government said police had launched a large-scale investigation. Kongsberg police chief Øyvind Aas said police would investigate whether the attacks amounted to an 'act of terror'. The death toll was the worst of any attack in Norway since 2011, when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people, most of them teenagers at a youth camp.

Mr. Murdaugh, the scion of a legal dynasty in South Carolina, is accused of pocketing a $2.8 million settlement intended for the housekeeper’s family.
The trend confirmed warnings that the coronavirus pandemic would undermine progress against other infectious diseases around the world.

Rossiglione receives 740.6mm of rain in 12 hours, while 496mm falls over Cairo Montenotte in six hours

Torrential thunderstorms in Italy have set new European rainfall records, with a colossal 740.6mm (29in) of rain falling in just 12 hours over Rossiglione in Genoa on 4 October. In another record, set 20 miles west, Cairo Montenotte received a 496mm deluge in just six hours.

Above average temperatures, rich moisture-laden Mediterranean air and an advancing low pressure system aided spectacular thunderstorm development over large parts of Italy. The staggering rainfall amounts caused landslides, damage to fields and blocked roads.

Staff list raft of concerns from poor ventilation to safe class sizes as schools set to open their doors

Teachers are warning that schools in New South Wales and Victoria are not yet ready to go back, raising concerns over poor ventilation, a lack of air filters, and no guidance on how to safely manage class sizes.

“We have situations where room capacity leaves eight to 10 students out in the cold, literally,” the senior vice-president of the NSW Teachers Federation, Amber Flohm, said.

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Alisal fire has burned more than 15,000 acres in the Santa Ynez mountains and threatened more than 100 ranches and rural homes

A wildfire raging through southern California coastal mountains threatened ranches and rural homes and kept a major highway shut down on Wednesday, as the fire-scarred state faced a new round of dry winds that raise the risk of infernos.

The Alisal fire covered more than 15,000 acres (24 square miles) in the Santa Ynez Mountains west of Santa Barbara, and the number of firefighters was nearly doubled to 1,300, with more on the way. Containment remained at 5%.

Sergiño Dest scored one goal and set up another as the United States regained its stride with a dominant performance in World Cup qualifying.


With the Senate out of session, Ms. Sinema, the Democratic senator from Arizona, has been in Europe on a fund-raising trip.


Victoria has recorded a surge in Covid-19 with 2,297 new locally-acquired cases. Premier Daniel Andrews couldn’t say whether Victoria had reached its peak in infection rates. ‘We want less cases not more’, Andrews said. ‘But the fact of the matter is we are so, so close to be 70% double dose vaccinated and then 80%. That means that the Victorian community will have done their job'

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The sense of relief is shared across the faiths, with Friday prayers at mosques among the first services restarting face-to-face

For the first time in nearly four months, the doors to Lakemba mosque will be open for congregational prayers on Friday.

During that time, Lakemba has seen a major spike in Covid case numbers and deaths, endured tough restrictions and missed out on celebrating one of the two yearly Islamic holidays, Eid al-Adha.

A judge’s recommendation paves the way for an appeals court to decide whether Randy Halprin, a Jewish man who was convicted and sentenced to death in 2003 for his role in the killing of a police officer, will get a new trial.

Campaigners fear climate breakdown, Covid and violent conflict are threatening any progress made in food security in recent years

Global targets to eradicate hunger by 2030 will be missed as a “toxic cocktail” of the climate crisis, conflict and the Covid-19 pandemic reverses progress, new projections have revealed.

The fight to end hunger is “dangerously off track” and the UN sustainable development goal of zero hunger “tragically distant”, according to the 2021 Global Hunger Index (GHI), published on Thursday. Forty-seven countries will fail to achieve even low levels of hunger (ie countries that have adequate food and low numbers of child deaths) by 2030 and millions of people will experience severe hunger in the coming years.

Christian Rosa is accused in a federal indictment of scheming to defraud art buyers through the sale of four pieces purportedly by Mr. Pettibon.
The country has never been known for its subtlety, and martial-art stunts have long been a mainstay of its propaganda, designed to stoke national pride and instill fear in enemies.
A new cableway and hundreds of giant murals have brightened lives in Iztapalapa, Mexico City’s most populous neighborhood, but poverty and attacks against women are still pervasive.

A new two-part HBO Max series on the Clueless actor’s shocking death at 32 in 2009 is less monument to her short life than exploitation of her death

It’s telling that What Happened, Brittany Murphy?, a new docuseries on the Clueless and Girl, Interrupted actor’s confounding death in December 2009, is bookended by two overwrought sleights of hand. The two-part HBO Max series begins with the frantic 911 call by her mother, Sharon Murphy, over a recreation of the EMS trip from Murphy’s house in Hollywood Hills to Cedars Sinai medical center, where she died from a combination of pneumonia, severe anemia and several prescription and over-the-counter medications at age 32. It ends with a hammy montage of fan videos made by internet detectives – straight-to-camera, brightly lit, skeptical recaps that often double as makeup tutorials – spliced with scenes from Murphy’s films, as if her expressive face is in conversation with their fascination.

That dialogue is a ruse; for the two hours between these moments, What Happened, Brittany Murphy? takes on the role of amateur sleuth. Combing through tabloid reports, medical documents and first-hand accounts of people orbiting her death, it purports to explain Murphy’s tragic, untimely demise and, more pertinent to headlines, her abusive, constrictive marriage to Simon Monjack, who died five months after her of pneumonia.

Your Thursday Briefing

Thu, 14 Oct


A blow for populism in Europe.

Austrian Alps salt miners had a ‘balanced diet’, with an analysis of bronze and iron age excrement finding the earliest evidence of cheese ripening in Europe

It’s no secret that beer and blue cheese go hand in hand – but a new study reveals how deep their roots run in Europe, where workers at a salt mine in Austria were gorging on both up to 2,700 years ago.

Scientists made the discovery by analysing samples of human excrement found at the heart of the Hallstatt mine in the Austrian Alps.

The world isn’t paying much attention


More than 4,500 Indigenous Australians were infected with coronavirus and 10 died in the latest outbreak

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been infected at twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians during the country’s deadly third coronavirus wave, a senior Indigenous health leader says.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation chief executive Pat Turner made the revelation during a Senate hearing on Thursday.

Figures provided to the federal health department show 8% drop in the number of beds, with regional areas worst affected

Australia has almost 200 fewer ICU beds available this year than at the beginning of the pandemic, making regional areas and some states “vulnerable” to the looming surge of Covid cases, a national intensive care survey has found.

The findings of the survey completed by the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society for the federal health department were provided to national cabinet last month as state and territory leaders prepare for the easing of restrictions with Covid in the community.

The experts’ recommendations, though not binding, are likely to influence what the Food and Drug Administration decides on whether to authorize the boosters.

Are you a GP? What do you think of the government and NHS proposal to increase the number of patients being seen face-to-face

A new government and NHS action plan will see GPs given £250m to improve their services but only if they increase the number of patients being seen face-to-face.

The proposal has come under criticism from some who believe it is not enough and yet more targets will only drive people out of the profession.