Hot News on 20/10/2021

The Bureau of Meteorology verifies 16cm stone after dangerous thunderstorm lashes Yalboroo area near Mackay

The largest hailstone ever to fall in Australia – a whopping 16cm in diameter – has been recorded in Queensland after heavy storms hammered the Mackay region on Tuesday afternoon.

Forecaster Dean Narramore from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) told the ABC that the “dangerous thunderstorm” lashed the Yalboroo area north of Mackay leading to multiple reports of giant hail.

Nadifa Mohamed is a Booker Prize finalist for her novel “The Fortune Men,” a story about a false accusation and the tragedy that resulted.
Two towers, each measuring 16 and a half feet high, were installed in an area in the east of the city in an experiment to tackle contamination.
The art fair in Paris has expanded its scope, bringing Iranian contemporary artists and galleries to a platform called “Tehran Now.”
Financial disclosures show who has the early money edge in key races, as well as the value of a Trump endorsement.

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Former coronavirus success story forced to impose night-time curfew as infections surge

Latvia has announced a month-long Covid-19 lockdown after an unprecedented surge in infections, becoming the first country in Europe to reimpose far-reaching restrictions as countries across the continent suffer a new wave of cases.

The Baltic country now has one of the highest rates of new Covid cases per capita in the world, according to the US Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), after successfully keeping the virus at bay for months.

Kerida O’Reilly, 34, had been accused of attacking State Senator Tim Carpenter at a Black Lives Matter protest, prompting others nearby to attack him.
With galleries in Ivory Coast and Senegal, Cécile Fakhoury has built a platform for regional artists and collectors. Her next stops: Paris and FIAC.
The long-awaited Academy Museum of Motion Pictures recognizes many of those who worked behind the scenes and comes to terms with Hollywood’s past.

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The contemporary art triennial Prospect New Orleans looks at the city’s cyclical history of challenges.

Film crew say shooting was a ‘huge challenge’ and they had to learn to walk again after 12 days in orbit

Their movie props floated around, sleeping was difficult and they used Velcro to keep objects in place but Russia’s first film crew in space said they were delighted with the result and had “shot everything we planned”.

Yulia Peresild, one of Russia’s most glamorous actors, and film director Klim Shipenko returned to Earth on Sunday after spending 12 days on the International Space Station (ISS) shooting the first movie in orbit, in an effort to beat the United States.

Here are the current coronavirus hotspots and Tier 1, 2 and 3 Covid-19 public exposure site locations in Victoria and Melbourne, and what to do if you’ve visited them

Authorities have released a list of public exposure sites in Melbourne and regional Victoria visited by a confirmed case of Covid-19.

Here are the current coronavirus hotspots, Covid exposure sites, venues and case location alerts and what to do if you’ve visited them.

Nicholas Burns calls Beijing an ‘aggressor’ and that US responsibility is ‘to make Taiwan a tough nut to crack’

US president Joe Biden’s nominee to be ambassador to Beijing on Wednesday said China was aggressive and untrustworthy, insisting that boosting Taiwan’s defences against the threat of Chinese invasion should be a US priority.

Speaking to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which is due to confirm his appointment, Nicholas Burns denounced recent Chinese warplane incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone, calling them “especially objectionable”.

Your Thursday Briefing

Wed, 20 Oct

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Russia’s ‘non-working’ week.
As they worked to shrink their marquee domestic policy bill, President Biden told Democrats that a proposal to provide two years of free community college would most likely have to be dropped.
The committee is chaired by Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who ripped President Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Exclusive: Ipsa plans to reduce publication of claims for travel and venue hire after killing of David Amess

The UK’s parliamentary spending watchdog has begun redacting parts of MPs’ expenses to protect their safety since the killing of Sir David Amess.

After the veteran MP was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery on Friday, some colleagues raised concerns with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) over the amount of information released about their claims for travel and venues hired for surgeries under transparency requirements.

The committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 Capitol riot said the former White House counselor had “multiple roles relevant to this investigation.”

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The Knicks are positioned to build on last season’s success after an off-season of smart moves.

Your Wednesday Briefing

Wed, 20 Oct

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Calls to charge Bolsonaro with homicide.
The eight-block American Indian Cultural Corridor celebrates Native American art and commerce.
Inspired by photos of dancers, 29 works by Kristine Mays celebrate the enslaved people who once toiled on such properties.
As the longest-serving elected tribal leader in the country, he pushed for self-sufficiency and greater respect from the federal government.

Green groups fear the policy will embed car use at the expense of healthier and ultimately cheaper alternatives

Car manufacturers in the UK will be mandated to produce a growing proportion of zero-emission vehicles each year under government plans to cement the transition from fossil fuels to electric cars.

Targets will be introduced from 2024 for zero-emission vehicle sales, before the 2030 deadline when the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned.

The mandate, covering more than 300,000 employees, will remove an option to take regular tests instead of getting a shot.
A museum show in Paris explores the Spanish artist’s time in France, where his connections and celebrity made him a suspect in the eyes of officials.
Reggie Jackson, the Hall of Fame slugger and longtime Yankees adviser, has a new role with the Astros, helping reassure the team as postseason pressure mounts.

Alexandre Moratto’s feature about workers lured into modern-day slavery in Brazil takes an unexpected turn

You would expect a film about human trafficking and modern-day slavery to be devastating, and this Brazilian drama duly horrifies. But it doesn’t evolve in quite the direction you might anticipate which, strictly from a film point of view, makes it much more interesting than your standard social realism. With a Brechtian approach that compels the viewer to question both their own ethical assumptions and tacit complicity in a worldwide consumerist culture that exploits people all over the planet, 7 Prisoners is deeply uncomfortable but utterly compelling viewing.

The film reteams director Alexandre Moratto, making his second feature-length work after Sócrates in 2018 with young actor Christian Malheiros, who starred as the title character. This time Malheiros plays Mateus, a young man from Brazil’s deep inland farm country, who has accepted a job offer in São Paulo doing hard menial work, for significant enough money that it will make a real difference to his mother and siblings’ quality of life back home. But when Mateus and three other young men from the region arrive at the squalid junkyard where they will spend their days salvaging copper and scrap metal it soon becomes clear they’ve all been duped. First their passports are confiscated, and then absurd amounts for travel and accommodation expenses are deducted from the pay they were promised.

Strike in heart of Syrian capital is deadliest to hit city in four years

A bomb attack on an army bus in Damascus has killed 14 people in the bloodiest attack in the Syrian capital in four years, the Sana state news agency reported.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing but moments later shelling by government forces killed eight people in the Idlib region, which is controlled by groups that have claimed to have carried out such attacks in the past.

Damning report highlights greater risk of EU worker exploitation and vulnerability of undocumented migrants

A damning new report on trafficking in the UK has warned that Brexit and the Home Office’s new plan for immigration are increasing the risks to trafficking victims.

The report has also found links between terrorism and trafficking in cases involving families from the UK ending up with Islamic State in Syria and an increase in the recruitment of trafficking victims via social media.

Mini model trounces competition with great camera and performance, but isn’t the best iPhone for the year

The iPhone 13 mini takes what’s great about the full-size iPhone 13 and squeezes it into a body not much larger than the iPhone 5S without cutting back on features or power.

The smallest of Apple’s 2021 lineup costs £679 ($699/A$1,199), sitting above the £389 iPhone SE and below the £779 iPhone 13.

West Virginia senator who opposes Biden’s climate bill has enjoyed fruitful connections to the fossil-fuel sector

In the tumult of negotiations over the most consequential climate legislation ever proposed in the US, there is growing scrutiny of the fossil fuel industry connections of the man poised to tear down the core of the bill – the West Virginia senator Joe Manchin.

Manchin, a centrist Democrat, has objected to key provisions of a multitrillion-dollar reconciliation bill that would slash planet-heating emissions and help the US, and the world, to avert catastrophic climate breakdown. In a finely balanced Senate, Democrats need all 50 of their senators to vote for the bill, with no Republicans willing to vote for the climate measures.

Rebrand could position tech giant’s social media app as one of many products under a parent company which oversees the likes of Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus

Social media giant Facebook is planning to rebrand the company with a new name next week, the Verge reported on Tuesday, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about the name change at the company’s annual Connect conference on 28 October, but it could be unveiled sooner, the Verge report said.

Speaker Tony Smith agrees there is a ‘prima facie case’ former attorney general breached disclosure rules but Coalition votes down referral

The Morrison government has blocked Labor’s bid to refer Christian Porter to the privileges committee over his declaration that part of his defamation legal fees were paid by a blind trust with funds from an unknown source.

The Speaker of the house, Tony Smith, on Wednesday agreed there was a “prima facie case” Porter should be investigated for a possible breach of disclosure rules, but the government voted down the referral, the first time that’s happened since federation.

The F.D.A. approves more boosters.

Plus: recent Champions League teams with no foreigners, two unbeaten sides in the same league season and more

“What is the longest time a person has been at a club?” tweets Jack Chesterman. “This could be as a player then coach, not just in one position.”

“I’d like to offer Ronnie Moran, whose Liverpool career started in 1952 as a player, before moving into coaching in the 60s and finally retiring in 1998,” writes Chris Charlton-Matthews. “If ‘longest time at a club’ doesn’t have to be continuous, then I’ll throw in Guy Roux, who started at Auxerre in 1954, left in 1957, returned in 1961 and didn’t leave until 2005 for a total of 47 years.”

Former French president told he must appear in trial over misuse of public funds to finance opinion polls

France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy has been ordered to testify in the trial of one-time aides and allies who are accused of misusing public money to finance opinion poll contracts, a judge has ruled.

Sarkozy was at the Élysée Palace at the time and has presidential immunity in this specific case but had said he would not appear in court as a witness.

With two outs in the ninth, Nathan Eovaldi thought he had a strike three. Laz Diaz disagreed and by the time the dust settled, Houston had scored seven runs, tying the series.
They fear that they or their loved ones could be tracked down and killed because of their work delivering justice to women. “We have lost everything — our jobs, our homes, the way we lived.”

Kidnappings of 16 Americans and a Canadian in Port-au-Prince come as hundreds of local residents face similar targeting, with at least 628 abductions so far this year

Firel Joseph was driving through Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, one evening this year when he noticed a white Toyota Land Cruiser with official license plates trailing close to his rear bumper. Assuming the other driver wanted to overtake him, the 44-year-old development worker gave way. Then things took a hellish turn.

The car skidded to a halt in front of Joseph, while another vehicle appeared behind, boxing him in. Six men, wearing flak jackets and armed with rifles, piled out of the Land Cruiser, moving with military discipline.

Researchers in US say trial on dead person is a ‘significant step’ toward animal-to-human organ transplants

Surgeons have attached a pig’s kidney to a human and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants.

Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but a sugar in their cells, which is foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.

The Islamic authorities want to imprison her for wearing female clothing at a religious event and threatened to put her in a rehabilitation camp where she could “return to the right path.”

Ruth Rankine says people are less motivated to get top-up dose as restrictions have been eased

The Covid booster jabs programme is being undermined by the public’s complacency about the threat posed by the virus, a senior NHS leader involved in the rollout has said.

The number of people getting their top-up shot is too low because the lifting of lockdown restrictions means many people do not see the point, said Ruth Rankine, the director of primary care at the NHS Confederation.

Medical groups said the coronavirus pandemic worsened an already existing mental health crisis among children and teens.

Latest updates: Kwasi Kwarteng says government ‘has plotted a path’ between two extremes of lockdown and opening up

Good morning. It has been a while since Covid has been leading the news but cases in the UK are going up, and they are now far higher than they are in most other European countries. As we reported overnight, the NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals and other NHS trusts, is saying ministers must urgently implement sweeping “plan B” winter measures or derail efforts to tackle the backlog of 5 million patients.

This morning Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, has been on microphone duty for the government. On Sky News he was asked about a suggestion from Prof Stephen Reicher, professor of social psychology at St Andrews University and one of the government’s science advisers, that the government’s refusal to act now made a future lockdown more likely.