Parramatta beats Cronulla 14-12, Gold Coast claims Queensland NRL honours with win over Cowboys


NRL premiership contender Parramatta has scrapped house to defeat Cronulla 14-12 in an absorbing encounter performed in atrocious situations at a waterlogged Kogarah Oval.

In Sunday’s previously match, the Gold Coastline Titans became Queensland’s prime-rated staff right after a 30-10 earn over the Cowboys in Robina.

At Kogarah Oval, gamers had been sliding everywhere and the ball typically stopped dead in on-field water puddles, with the Sharks likely down to the Eels in spite of scoring 3 attempts to two.

Eels 5-eighth Dylan Brown and Sharks counterpart Shaun Johnson both of those set on moist-weather conditions masterclasses, while Mitchell Moses was also influential for the victors.

Soon after the Eels led 12-4 early in the next fifty percent courtesy of a Brown try out and try out help, Johnson practically gave the Sharks the earn in a chaotic four minutes.

Obtaining kicked for Jesse Ramien for the Sharks’ first check out, he put a juggling Ronaldo Mulitalo more than for their next with a slash-out ball to make it 12-8.

From the following set he kicked a 40-20 as Eels captain Clint Gutherson enable the ball go out.

It place Cronulla on the assault and allowed Johnson and Will Kennedy to discover Mulitalo to go again against the grain and beat a few defenders to rating.

But Johnson’s errant goalkicking from the sideline was to confirm expensive.

With scores locked at 12-all and 11 minutes to engage in, Braden Hamlin-Uele was penalised for hitting Reagan Campbell-Gillard off the ball and the Eels kicked distinct.

Johnson then coughed up the previous chance to declare the match, fumbling his possess small grubber in the last moment.

Earlier, Brown experienced proven expertise well over and above his 20 several years of age.

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He received the to start with attempt of the match when he fooled the Sharks’ intention-line defence, faking left ahead of darting in excess of from dummy 50 percent in the 19th moment.

Brown’s superb day continued following 50 percent-time when he dummied his way to the line and offloaded for Kane Evans to rating.

The earn retains Parramatta 3rd on the ladder, when Cronulla is nevertheless eighth but two factors obvious of ninth.

Titans outclass struggling Cowboys

The Titans snapped a 10-match getting rid of streak in opposition to the Cowboys in type, racing to a 6-attempts-to-two gain in arguably their finest show beneath coach Justin Holbrook in his initially year at the club.

The earn lifts the Titans earlier mentioned the Cowboys, into 13th spot on the ladder.

With the Brisbane Broncos languishing down below both of those clubs in 15th placement following their operate of 10 defeats from their earlier 11 matches, the Titans are now the highest put of the Queensland groups in the competitiveness.

It is also the initially time in 10 yrs the Cowboys have missing six matches in a row.

The Titans were sensational in the opening 40 minutes, charging to 20- guide as the Cowboys imploded.

Whole-again AJ Brimson, actively playing in his second match back again from injury, scored a double as the Titans dominated possession and territory.

The Cowboys ended up as undesirable as the Titans were excellent in the opening period of time, with captain Michael Morgan getting a working day to overlook on his return from a shoulder injury that experienced kept him sidelined since March.

Morgan had five missed tackles in the 1st fifty percent, two of which led right to Titans tries.

He was also pinged for an escort penalty late in the 50 percent, with the Titans going on to rating by way of Brimson from the ensuing established.

In complete the Cowboys had a paltry 59 for each cent completion fee for the 50 percent, lacking 23 tackles and generating seven mistakes.

Brian Kelly (still left) is congratulated by Phillip Sami soon after scoring the Titans’ fifth test.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

The rout continued in the 2nd fifty percent with Kevin Proctor manufacturing a exclusive play to bat back again a kick that had gone above the dead-ball line for Brian Kelly to rating.

Immediately after that engage in the Cowboys at last responded.

Kyle Feldt pounced just after a horror bounce took a Morgan grubber absent from Titans’ winger Phillip Sami before Justin O’Neill manufactured it back-to-back again tries for the visitors minutes later on.

A threatened comeback did not materialise, as the Titans regained the higher hand with Sami wrapping up the scoring in the 69th minute.

The Cowboys only a bit enhanced their completion fee to 63 for each cent and designed a whole of 14 glitches.

AAP



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At this COVID-19 testing site in Canberra, the nurses work to keep people calm


Cheryl Martine was a part-time nurse, helping care for her daughter’s two children, when the coronavirus pandemic struck Australia.

Saddened by the loss of her husband, she had gone back to working as a registered nurse, a job she loved.

But she had more recently reduced her hours to one day per week and was planning to retire.

She now works four days a week and loves being a nurse more than ever, as she makes them laugh while testing them for coronavirus.

She is one of thousands across the country at the frontline of Australia’s COVID-19 response.

‘They’ve heard the horror stories’

Cheryl stands outside the testing centre, smiling.
Cheryl Martine, 66, was considering retirement when the pandemic began.(ABC News: Niki Burnside)

By now, the rumours about the unpleasant nature of COVID-19 testing have spread far and wide.

Nurses at the EPIC testing centre in north Canberra say they can generally tell when someone is feeling anxious as they arrive, that they may have heard a few tales from those who came before.

“We try to allay that,” Ms Martine said.

“I say, ‘If you’ve heard the horror stories, don’t panic, we’re experienced, we know what we’re doing, we’re very quick.'”

Earlier on, the test for COVID-19 involved inserting a long swab — dubbed “the brain-scraper” — far into the nose, but now, it is shorter and less invasive.

Both the nose and throat are swabbed.

People react in different ways, with tears to the eyes, or they gag or sneeze.

“I say to people it’s like when you dive into a swimming pool and the water rushes up your nose,” Ms Martine said.

When it comes to children, they also have their tricks to ease any anxiety.

Tracey smiles, standing in the building near the driveway for testing.
Tracey Clarke, a mother of four, transferred from the Canberra Hospital to the EPIC COVID-19 testing site.(ABC News: Niki Burnside)

Ms Martine’s colleague Tracey Clarke said humour was one successful approach.

“You try to make a joke; you might say ‘I’m going to go as far into your nose as you do when you pull your boogers out,'” Ms Clarke said.

“You just try to relax them and explain exactly what you’re going to do, that it shouldn’t hurt.

“You take that time with each person.”

She said handling people’s emotions was all part of the job.

“When we’re in that role we’re the ones who are dealing with that anxiety,” she said.

But they said they believed they were mostly successful.

Tiring job comes with rewards

Cheryl smiles while sitting on her roller stool at the testing site, lots of bins nearby.
Testing people all day can be tiring work, but Cheryl Martine’s chair makes it easier.(ABC News: Niki Burnside)

At the age of 66, Ms Martine is considered to be in a higher risk category when it comes to the effects of coronavirus.

But she said she felt safe at work and was not concerned for her health.

She said she intended to delay her retirement until she was no longer needed for testing.

The role is not without its physical challenges, and after a few months she had developed some discomfort from leaning into car windows for hours on end.

That was despite a system that allowed nurses to swap roles to reduce any aches or chafing from the different masks they are required to wear.

But physiotherapy and a new rolling stool had since resolved those issues, she said.

She and Ms Clarke said they felt rewarded by the fact that they were helping Canberrans.

“I have very elderly grandparents and I want to keep them safe in the community.”

Tracey wears a mask and holds a clipboard.
Tracey Clarke’s role at the testing site includes taking down information from those getting tested.(ABC News: Niki Burnside)

She had not seen her grandparents since beginning work as a testing nurse but said it was worth it to ensure they stayed well.

“They’re not in a nursing home, they’re in their own home — I want to keep them there,” she said.

Ms Martine said she was grateful to Canberrans for being responsive to the testing requirements.

When an outbreak of coronavirus was confirmed at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, they were kept at work for nearly three extra hours due to a sudden spike in demand.

“I know we’re small compared to the rest of the country and I think the rest of the country is doing the best they can do, but I think that we live in a community that is very aware.”

‘Warm, soapy water is just as good’

Both nurses have procedures at home to ensure their families stay safe.

Ms Martine said everyone washed their hands as soon as they arrived home, including her grandchildren.

Her advice to others was to keep it simple and make sure they washed their hands regularly.

“And not to worry if you don’t have Pinoclean or Dettol wipes — warm, soapy water is just as good.”



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Homes Shake During 5.1 Earthquake Near Sparta, North Carolina



Residents near Sparta, North Carolina, reported feeling tremors from a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that struck there just after 8 am local time on August 9, according to the USGS. The USGS said the earthquake occurred 3 km (approximately 1.8 miles) southeast of Sparta and was preceded by at least four small foreshocks ranging from magnitude 2.1 to 2.6, beginning around 25 hours prior to the quake. This footage was posted to Facebook by Stephen Long, who said it was taken from his Nest camera in the town of East Bend, around 39 miles from Sparta. Large earthquakes are relatively uncommon in the region directly surrounding the earthquake, the USGS said. Credit: Stephen Long via Storyful



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A COVID test, a pub test and an “abusive” phone call: Libs’ meeting fallout



Premier Steven Marshall has been called out for allegedly “abusing” a radio producer amid the fallout from last night’s controversial Liberal Party gathering at Adelaide Oval that saw his moderate faction garner an overwhelming strategic victory.

The Liberal Women’s Council meeting went ahead despite some invitees expressing grave misgivings and some party members moving to have it deferred.

Marshall’s Facebook page was last night hammered by negative feedback about the event, which fell on the same week some other public gatherings were drastically curtailed due to escalating coronavirus concerns – a point emphasised by insiders who told InDaily the “double-standard” failed the “pub test”.

But those concerns were dismissed by SA Liberal moderates as factional grandstanding by the party’s Right wing, with InDaily revealing yesterday that moderate faction leader Simon Birmingham sent colleagues a scathing critique of Right faction “cronies” exploiting the Coronavirus crisis to “undermine democracy within our party”.

Marshall, a factional ally of Birmingham – whose wife Courtney Morcombe works as the Premier’s chief of staff and is understood to have attended the ballot – was today taken to task by FIVEaa presenters Will Goodings and David Penberthy, who broadcast concerns about the event yesterday.

“This morning the Premier rang our producer Andy Ruzgar and gave him a serve about it,” Penberthy said on air this morning.

“I think the Premier, rather than hassling our staff – which is something we will not tolerate… should hassle the people in the Liberal Party who are putting this about as a story.

“We aren’t the ones who described the event as “insane” [and] “inappropriate”… the people who said these things are members of the Liberal Party – some of them are Liberal members of parliament.

“If they can’t manage their internal politics, that’s a problem for the Liberal Party.”

Goodings, a former media adviser for the Liberals in Opposition, added that “browbeating the media when you’ve got internal Liberal Party problems is not a strategy – it’s a copout.”

Goodings said the station had given Health Minister Stephen Wade “an opportunity to explain [the event] in clear language, which he did… and subsequent to that there’s an abusive phone call” from the Premier.

Penberthy told InDaily he stood by his comments on air, saying: “I think the State Government’s handling of [the pandemic] has been very, very good, but clearly with this issue a lot of people have found it confusing – and some of them are members of the Liberal Party.”

Marshall told reporters today he was not in the habit of calling reporters to comment on stories but “we are in a global pandemic” and he did not want misunderstanding “about a seated AGM with strict guidelines”.

“When we can provide events safely, we should encourage that,” he said.

“We’ve got to be careful not to compare and contrast inaccurately.”

Fledgling state minister David Basham, joined by his adviser Sara Bray, was at the meeting – it’s understood he was there to look after his baby while his wife Kate attended. Photo: David Mariuz / InDaily

Right-aligned Women’s Council president Laura Curran – who was seeking re-election to the key role, which holds a seat on the party’s influential state executive – had told Women’s Council members that she would be “unable to attend” the meeting, having “recently developed flu-like symptoms that fit the criteria of COVID-19”.

“While I am sure I am fine, I have taken medical advice and been tested for COVID-19 which means I am required to remain in self-isolation until a negative result is received,” she wrote in an email sent to members this week.

However, she did attend after the test came back negative, and is understood to have delivered a contentious speech alleging she had received several abusive emails from members of the Women’s Council executive.

She did not respond to inquiries today.

It’s understood Birmingham himself came in for criticism during a separate speech by Conservative-aligned Liberal vice-presidential candidate Emma Godfrey, who railed against his reported comments, suggesting the timing and location of the meeting was planned to prevent several members – including from regional areas – from attending.

Curran, however, was soundly defeated in the ballot – losing 184 votes to 38 to former Christopher Pyne staffer Sue Lawrie, a previous Liberal candidate who now works in the office of recently-elevated Marshall Government minister Vincent Tarzia.

One insider said the result was a defeat for the Hard Right, saying “the Taliban got slaughtered”.

The intrigue also appeared to provoke a pointed social media response from a former moderate-aligned Liberal candidate.

Lawrie and state Liberal president Sascha Meldrum declined to comment today, but Pyne’s former chief of staff Hannah March, a former Women’s Council president, told InDaily: “Laura Curran enjoyed the unanimous support of Liberal Women’s Council State Council delegates two weeks ago when she was preselected to a safe seat in the Legislative Council on a ticket that has six women.”

“Laura will become the youngest Liberal Woman ever elected to the Legislative Council – any suggestion she has not been supported is wrong,” she said.

Marshall too was in a bullish mood about the event, with a Facebook response to critics – signed off by his “Team” – arguing: “There’s been so much misinformation going round about an AGM held by the Liberal Women’s Council at Adelaide Oval last night.”

“The ridiculous claims that this was a ‘lavish dinner’ and 700 people were in attendance are completely false… contrary to those reports, the AGM met strict COVID-19 guidelines with all attendees seated and spaced appropriately,” the post read.

“There were not 700 people in attendance [and] this event followed the same strict guidelines that apply to the rest of South Australia.”

A photo of the event posted on the Premier’s Facebook page, with his Deputy Vickie Chapman seated on stage.

InDaily understands around 250 people attended, including party ‘observers’ – with many of the more than 600 council members rarely attending the annual event.

One attendee, Adelaide hypnotherapist Jean Cannon, told InDaily the complaints about the meeting was the result of “stupid misinformation that should never have been there” blaming “a silly bunch of girls” for the “totally and utterly silly and divisive” controversy.

“Most of the women there are completely sensible people who have been members of the Liberal Party for years,” she said.

The 78-year-old, who has been a party member for 60 years, denied factional infighting had escalated significantly, saying “every group you ever go to, you’ll find a small group of people who’ll get grumpy and dissatisfied – it’s normal”.

“Guys do it one way, and the girls do it by getting a little bit bitchy – and that’s just the way life has always been,” she said.

“It’s the way for humans… the vast majority of people in the party just want to get on with sensible policies and help the Liberal party to run a responsible economy.

“That’s all we’re interested in.”

She insisted Adelaide Oval was the “safest place probably in Adelaide with such a careful COVID plan”.

“There was a young man there sanitising the microphones and podium between every speaker,” she said, noting that there was “some alcohol” served but that attendees had to remain seated throughout the event.

“Probably a third of the people bought an alcoholic drink and sat down to drink it with what they bought at this horrible café outside,” she lamented.

But other insiders expressed dismay that the Women’s Council vote had been heavily influenced by male Liberal powerbrokers – from both factions.

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Simon Cowell breaks his back while testing electric bicycle | Ents & Arts News



Simon Cowell has broken his back while testing his new electric bicycle at his home in California.

The music mogul, 60, was trying out the bike in the courtyard of his Malibu home when he fell off.

A spokesperson for Cowell said he was due to have surgery on Saturday evening.

He is currently under observation in hospital and is said to be fine.

Cowell is the creator of America’s Got Talent and serves as a judge on the show.

He has also been the judge on Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor and American Idol.

The spokesperson told Deadline: “Simon had a fall from his bike on Saturday afternoon whilst testing his new electric bike in the courtyard at his house in Malibu with his family.

“He hurt his back and was taken to the hospital. He’s doing fine, he’s under observation and is in the best possible hands.”

Cowell has a six-year-old son Eric with his partner Lauren Silverman.

Just last month, it emerged that Cowell had bought Sony Music Entertainment’s stake in TV programmes including Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor.

The move sees him gain ownership of all the international versions of The X Factor and Got Talent programmes.

The Got Talent format airs in 76 markets, while The X Factor is broadcast in more than 130 territories.

:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Sony Music’s share of the venture has transferred to Syco Entertainment, a company solely owned by Cowell.

Filming on the next stage of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent has been postponed because of the coronavirus crisis but ITV has said it hopes to continue the series later this year.



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Chinese Government-Paid Scientists Plead Guilty to Stealing Research From an American Children’s Hospital – The Diplomat


A Chinese researcher pled guilty on July 30 for conspiring to steal proprietary trade secrets from a hospital research institute in the United States, and for the wire fraud that accompanied the theft. This was no ordinary hospital research facility, either. The victim was no less than the Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Research Institute. The hospital earned a place on the Honor Roll in U.S. News and World Report’s latest rankings of similar hospitals in America.

The FBI called the theft “another example of economic malfeasance related to the People’s Republic of China.” It added that “far from being an isolated incident, we see the PRC implicated in around 60 percent of all trade secret theft cases.”

The case illustrates one of the worst sides of the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to empty out the intellectual property coffers of not only the United States, but anywhere in the world where a hard-won nugget of scientific or engineering value may lurk.

The FBI said that researcher Li Chen “betrayed her employer of 10 years by stealing trade secrets from this American institution and transferring them to China after receiving payments from the Chinese government.”

Chen “was a trusted researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, conducting cutting-edge U.S. government-funded research,” said the FBI. “With her guilty plea, she admits that she abused this trust to establish a company in China for her own financial gain.”

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The secrets — at least five of them, according to the FBI — that Chen admitted she stole relate to exosomes. Exosomes are “key mediators of cell to cell communication, delivering a distinct cargo of lipids, proteins and nucleic acids that reflects their cell of origin. The exosomes released by regenerative cells such as stem cells, for example, are potent drivers of healing and repair,” according to Exopharm, an exosome medicine company. Both Chen and her husband (who is an alleged co-conspirator) worked in Nationwide medical labs for 10 years each.

The plea agreement says that Chen started a company in China to sell exosome isolation kits, and that she admitted to “receiving benefits from the Chinese government, including the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs and the National Natural Science Foundation of China,” while also applying for funds from “multiple Chinese government talent plans,” which China uses to soak up foreign technology and research for its own benefit.

Broadening the effect of the theft, a NASDAQ-listed American company, Avalon GloboCare, bought Chen‘s Chinese company. According to the FBI, Chen “agreed to forfeit approximately $1.4 million, 500,000 shares of common stock of Avalon GloboCare Corp. and 400 shares of common stock of GenExosome Technologies Inc.”

This case, and hundreds of others like it, point to direct collaboration with CCP-run talent attraction and other programs aimed at hoovering up primarily STEM-related IP from advanced foreign academic, business, and government research environments. This case also points to a level of official Chinese cynicism so great that it overrides what is supposed to be the key operating principle of Chinese culture: face.

CCP talent programs and the chicanery they invite are now well-known around the world. For a country and culture that purports to operate on the value of “face” — supposedly the currency of every relationship – it should defy logic that the CCP itself would bait Chinese living abroad to commit wholesale thievery in their host countries, and openly enrich them for doing so. The loss of face for the Chinese nation and people would surely act as a barrier to such behavior.

Apparently not. In fact, nothing so clearly illustrates how far the CCP has strayed from traditional Chinese cultural values than its current trend of recruiting well-educated Chinese citizens abroad, and encouraging them to betray their employers and colleagues by committing felony theft of that very employer‘s property, the development of which has often been funded by foreign taxpayers. In the United States alone, FBI Director Christopher Wray reported on July 7 that his agency is “opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours,” and that of the 5,000 such cases currently on their books, “almost half are related to China.”

By any definition of the word, the CCP is engaged in a conspiracy to steal from America, and is doing it in broad daylight. The CCP reads the news, so they know that we know. And since the theft, according to Wray, is ongoing and gives the FBI cause to open at least a case a day that is China-facilitated, the only possible conclusion is to say that the Chinese Communist Party leadership feels no shame or embarrassment in having been caught red-handed. In fact, they appear to have been emboldened by their “success” so far.

Not only do the U.S. prosecutions of CCP-facilitated cases of IP theft seem to be of little consequence to Chinese officialdom, the Chinese citizens who are used as a dragnet to pull in cutting-edge technologies and breakthroughs also appear to be expendable to the CCP, as the risk of being caught and convicted is growing. In the United States, the FBI has been exponentially developing its counterintelligence capabilities, with China as a particular target.

What smacks almost of desperation to acquire technologies at any cost is indeed counterintuitive on the surface of things. The reputational damage to China as a nation and to hard-working, honest Chinese themselves is incalculable.

So what explains China’s shortsightedness, and its seemingly carefree attitude toward its reputation – indeed, toward its “face”?

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One group of human rights activists and NGOs thinks it has the answer.

Late last month, a letter signed by “hundreds of U.S. and international religious and human rights groups and activists” was delivered to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

The letter urges Barr “to declare the Chinese Communist Party a ‘transnational criminal organization,’ or TCO.”

Among other crimes, the letter states that “for decades, the CCP perpetrated and proliferated IP embezzlement and economic espionage on Americans and U.S. businesses, resulting in theft and loss of vast wealth and prosperity. The extent and breadth of the criminal reach of the CCP knows no bounds.”

TCO designation in the United States has been used groups such as MS-13. If so designated, the CCP and its members would be slapped with multiple layers of penalties and sanctions anywhere in the world that U.S. laws have teeth.

Whether or not the United States would go so far as to officially designate the ruling party of China as a “criminal” organization remains to be seen. Nonetheless, just the concept is powerful.  It would certainly go a long way to explaining why the Chinese Communist Party is acting as a buyer of stolen goods.



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How Kristi Noem, Mount Rushmore and Trump Fueled Speculation About Pence’s Job


Corey Lewandowski, the political operative who was President Donald Trump’s first 2016 campaign manager, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Nov. 4, 2019. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — Since the first days after she was elected governor of South Dakota in 2018, Kristi Noem had been working to ensure that President Donald Trump would come to Mount Rushmore for a fireworks-filled July Fourth extravaganza.

After all, the president had told her in the Oval Office that he aspired to have his image etched on the monument. And last year, a White House aide reached out to the governor’s office with a question, according to a Republican official familiar with the conversation: What’s the process to add additional presidents to Mount Rushmore?

So last month, when the president arrived in the Black Hills for the star-spangled spectacle he had pined for, Noem made the most of it.

Introducing Trump against the floodlit backdrop of his carved predecessors, the governor played to the president’s craving for adulation by noting that in just three days more than 125,000 people had signed up for only 7,500 seats; she likened him to Theodore Roosevelt, a leader who “braves the dangers of the arena”; and she mimicked the president’s rhetoric by scorning protesters who she said were seeking to discredit the country’s founders.

In private, the efforts to charm Trump were more pointed, according to a person familiar with the episode: Noem greeted him with a 4-foot replica of Mount Rushmore that included a fifth presidential likeness: his.

But less than three weeks later, Noem came to the White House with far less fanfare — to meet not with Trump, but with Vice President Mike Pence. Word had circulated through the Trump administration that she was ingratiating herself with the president, fueling suspicions that there might have been a discussion about her serving as his running mate in November. Noem assured Pence that she wanted to help the ticket however she could, according to an official present.

She never stated it directly, but the vice president found her message clear: She was not after his job.

There is no indication Trump wants to replace Pence. Trump last month told Fox News that he’s sticking with Pence, whom he called a “friend.”

Yet with polls showing the president trailing Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and Republicans at risk of being shut out of power in Congress, a host of party leaders have begun eyeing the future, maneuvering around a mercurial president.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas was in New Hampshire late last month, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida is angling to take over the Senate Republican campaign arm to cultivate donors, and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is defending Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading expert on infectious disease, while separating herself from Trump on some national security issues.

At the same time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is attempting to shore up his conservative credentials by pushing a hard line on China, and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky are attempting to reclaim their standing as fiscal hawks by loudly opposing additional spending on coronavirus relief.

Drawing less attention, but working equally hard to burnish her national profile, is Noem. The governor, 48, has installed a TV studio in her state capitol, become a Fox News regular and started taking advice from Trump’s former 2016 campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who still has the president’s ear.

Next month, she’ll address a county Republican dinner in Iowa.

“There seems like there might be some interest on her part — it certainly gets noticed,” Jon Hansen, a Republican state representative in South Dakota, said of Noem’s positioning for national office.

Her efforts have paid off, as evidenced by the news-driving celebration at Mount Rushmore. Yet Noem’s attempts to raise her profile have not been without complications. And they illustrate the risks in political maneuvering with a president who has little restraint when it comes to confidentiality, and a White House that shares his obsession about, and antenna for, palace intrigue.

To the surprise of some of her own advisers, Noem flew with Trump to Washington on Air Force One late in the evening after his Mount Rushmore speech. Joined by Lewandowski, she and the president spoke for over an hour privately during the flight — a fact that Trump and some of his aides soon shared with other Republicans, according to officials familiar with his disclosure.

An aide to Noem, Maggie Seidel, said she did not raise the vice presidency with Trump. Lewandowski, who is a paid adviser to the Pence-aligned Great America PAC, also denied that he or the governor ever raised the subject of replacing Pence on the ticket.

Lewandowski, in a brief interview, described Noem as a star who “has a huge future in Republican politics.”

A White House official laughed at the notion that Trump is open to replacing Pence, a move that, among other things, would exude desperation. And regarding the phone call about adding the president’s image to Rushmore, the official noted that it is a federal, not state, monument.

Still, word of the Air Force One conversation quickly reached White House officials, including those in Pence’s office.

A short time later, Noem was jetting back to the capital, this time in less grand fashion, after requesting a meeting with Pence.

White House aides kept Noem from meeting with Trump again, one person familiar with the planning said. But Pence’s office gladly put his session with the governor on his public schedule and the vice president tweeted about it afterward. Noem’s aides, hoping to tamp down questions about the second trip, emphasized that she had also met with officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies while she was in the capital.

One official close to the vice president said that Noem did not discuss her Air Force One flight with Pence but used the conversation to say she wanted to help the campaign however she could. The official suggested that the vice president’s team has an opportunity for her in mind: helping Pence prepare to debate whichever woman Biden selects as his running mate.

Yet one senior Trump adviser has recently lamented to others that Trump could have boosted his reelection campaign had he replaced Pence with a woman, according to people familiar with the conversations. One potential candidate mentioned was Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador who is close to the president’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

However, Pence has been an unstinting ally of Trump, and the vice president retains a number of allies in the president’s orbit.

“I think we’ll win South Dakota either way,” Brian Ballard, a lobbyist close to Trump, said.

That these kinds of speculative conversations about a different running mate have taken place at all, though, illustrates the depth of frustration in Trump’s inner circle over his political fortunes. With early voting starting in less than two months in some states, the president’s ineffectual response to the coronavirus has alienated voters and made the election primarily a referendum on him.

Speculation has long lingered in Republican circles that Trump could swap out Pence for Haley, partly because of the president’s own musings about it.

For a time in 2018, Trump queried people about Pence’s loyalty. And officials in the administration, including some close to Pence, said they believed that Kushner and Ivanka Trump were angling to replace him with Haley.

In his memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” the former national security adviser John Bolton recounts how, flying to Iraq on Christmas night in 2018, the president asked him for his opinion on jettisoning Pence.

Noem, the daughter of a rancher who took over her family’s property after her father died, has insisted that she has little appetite to return to Washington, where she served as South Dakota’s sole House member for eight years before becoming governor.

“She’s focused on being the governor of South Dakota,” said Seidel, her senior adviser.

The president’s transition team contacted her about interviewing for a Cabinet post after the 2016 election, but she was already planning to run for governor then. Some of her allies believe she’d also be open to the interior or agricultural secretary roles in a second Trump term before the 2024 race.

Noem’s poll numbers have increased after a difficult first year in office. But to some of her aides, Lewandowski, a hard-charging New Englander, has been a disruptive presence in Pierre, South Dakota’s small state capital. He appeared as a guest speaker at one luncheon with cabinet officials and pressed the governor’s appointees to make a more aggressive case for her, irritating the state officials, according to a person briefed on the events.

The governor is now on her third chief of staff because the last one, Joshua Shields, left in part because of the increased role of Lewandowski, according to South Dakota Republicans.

Lewandowski has sought opportunities that could benefit both Trump and Noem. He recently discussed with the president’s advisers sending Trump to the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, where there would be a big crowd and where the two might have appeared together again; Trump’s aides did not want him in the same politically safe state twice in two months.

Noem has been a steadfast ally of Trump and has mirrored his handling of the virus.

She has pushed for schools to reopen for in-person classes, denounced mask mandates and had South Dakota participate in a study on hydroxychloroquine, the malaria treatment Trump has trumpeted.

It was her star turn at Mount Rushmore, though, that has gotten Republicans talking and been a boon to South Dakota tourism, the state’s second-largest industry.

Recognizing the president’s immense interest in the monument, Noem worked with his Interior Department to ensure there would be fireworks for the celebration, a long-standing priority for Trump. There had been no fireworks there for the previous decade because of environmental and fire-risk concerns.

In the weeks leading up to the event, Noem went on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News to make clear she was expecting to “have a large event” for the president and would not require social distancing or masks.

Then, as the president sat watching her remarks in a bunting-wrapped box just offstage, she praised America as a place where someone who was “just a farm kid” could become “the first female governor of South Dakota.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

© 2020 The New York Times Company



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Goulburn SES Unit and NSW RFS work tirelessly all day | Goulburn Post


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It’s getting late. In fact, it’s past 9pm and after a horrendously wet day in the Southern Tablelands, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Goulburn SES Units are just about done for the day and deservedly so. Local controller Daryl Skinner said some SES crews began their shift at 5am including himself. “It’s been a pretty long day and pretty tiring, but we’re coping pretty well at the moment,” Mr Skinner said. “There’s still one crew out working at the moment, but we’ll be closing operations for the night after that. Read more: Mother Nature drops a bright ray of hope on rural sector “We’ll be picking things up again in the morning at 8am.” As we come to the latter stages of Sunday night, there are about 10 roads closed at the moment. “The worst ones would be the underpass at Blackshaw Road going through to Eastgrove and Mulwaree Ponds. “Things may be steady at Mulwaree Ponds, but there is still a lot of water to come through,” Mr Skinner said. “We’ll be keeping a close eye on those overnight.” Read more: Steady rain floods low-lying areas and breaks riverbanks | Rolling updates As for the RFS, they are just about done too after a long day’s work. “We’re finished for the night and just waiting to see if the SES Unit need our help, but we’ll be ready to go when that time comes.” With the rain just about having run its course, conditions should be much better on Monday, although some roads will still be closed. “People can expect pretty much the same amount of water to be flowing through,” Mr Skinner said. “We’re looking at the rain dropping off for the next hour at least, but the radar’s looking pretty clear after that.” Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.

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Sydney has chance to show Lebanese Australians they belong


Cities around the world have made a visible show of solidarity with Lebanon, including Melbourne and Brisbane and even Tel Aviv, the capital of Lebanon’s greatest enemy, which projected the Lebanese flag on to its town hall. But in Sydney, home to one of the world’s largest Lebanese diaspora, there has been nothing.

City Hall in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square was lit up in the colours of the Lebanese flag on Wednesday.

City Hall in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square was lit up in the colours of the Lebanese flag on Wednesday.Credit:Facebook/TelAvivCityIL

Sydney projected the French flag on to the sails of the Opera House when 130 people were killed in the Paris terrorism attacks of 2015, but didn’t do the same for Lebanon when it was attacked a day earlier. We should now right that wrong.

More than 68,000 people in NSW were born in Lebanon and hundreds of thousands more are of Lebanese descent. Such an act of solidarity and care would show such a sizeable part of the Sydney community that their blood, that their identity, matters.

It would be a nod of appreciation to those who have toiled for this country and this state, serving in the military, playing in local and national sporting teams, serving in government, and even, as many a Lebanese tradie can attest, building parts of this city with their very hands.

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Like many within my community, I am a proud Australian, but my connection to Lebanon is more than heritage and nostalgia. Most of us might only know our motherland through memories of tragedy and trauma, but we also know it as a place that offered us belonging when we knew anything but.

This is a chance for Sydney to change that — and show us we are part of this city we’ve always called home.

Sarah Ayoub is an author and a lecturer in journalism and writing at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney.



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