The rest of Rugby Australia’s broadcast offering – including all other Super Rugby matches, Super W, the remainder of the Rugby Championship, inbound Tests for other southern hemisphere nations, Wallaroos games, Shute Shield, Hospital Cup, New Zealand’s Mitre 10 and South Africa’s Currie Cup – will be live and ad-free on Stan.
“Rugby Australia is making bold moves in the development of the sport – something that fits perfectly with what we do at Stan,” Stan chief executive Mike Sneesby said.
“This partnership with Rugby Australia will see Stan launch its live streaming capability in 2021, as we take Australian sports television into a new era. Through the combined audience reach and engagement across Nine’s television platforms, we are well positioned to bring rugby union to more Australians than ever before.”
The three-year, $100 million deal has a two-year option.
Rugby Australia chief executive Rob Clarke praised the landmark deal.
“The fantasy has become a reality for the Australian rugby community,” Clarke said.
“This is a landmark deal that includes everything in the showbag, and it gives more Australians more access to more rugby than ever before.
“Australian rugby is transforming with an exciting future ahead, and this innovative partnership enables us to fast-track that growth from the grassroots up as well as showcase and promote the game like never before.”
More than 100m Americans cast their ballots before election day, shattering previous records for early voting and putting the country on path to its highest participation rate in more than a century.
The mail-in and early ballot total, tallied on Tuesday by the US Election Project based on data provided by state election authorities, is equivalent to almost 73 per cent of the entire 2016 vote and means far fewer votes were up for grabs as Americans streamed to the polls on election day.
The campaigns of President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden claimed the heavy turnout would help their candidate, with Mr Trump himself telling aides at his campaign headquarters in Northern Virginia that early tallies in Texas and Arizona were “looking really very strong”.
“Winning is easy,” Mr Trump added. “Losing is never easy. Not for me, it’s not.”
Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Mr Biden’s campaign manager, said the data, which showed more Democrats than Republicans voted early, “really underscores how many pathways we believe we have to victory and how few Trump has”.
As Americans voted, law enforcement authorities and retailers prepared for possible unrest in several big cities. Buildings in Washington DC and other urban centres were boarded up on election day, making the campaign’s end as unusual as the seven months that came before, unfolding in the shadow of a pandemic that has claimed more than 231,000 American lives and resulted in Mr Trump’s own hospitalisation with Covid-19.
In the case of a close contest, the victor is unlikely to be announced on election night given that the crucial industrial states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin are not expected to complete their ballot counts in time.
Democrats hope that wins in Florida and possibly Texas, which has become a new battleground, will give Mr Biden an early and decisive victory.
But the final result could be delayed by days, or even weeks, if the race is close and Democrats fight expected legal efforts by Mr Trump and Republicans to prevent some mail-in votes from being counted.
The first polls will close at 6pm eastern time in the conservative states of Kentucky and Indiana. But the first signs from the key swing states will start to emerge after 7pm when Georgia and parts of Florida end voting.
In a sign of heightened tensions ahead of an election cast by both sides as one of the most consequential in history, retailers from Target to Tiffany boarded up their stores to prepare for possible violence.
Many other businesses and some government buildings in Washington were also secured, while fencing was erected around the White House.
The fears of turmoil come after Mr Trump made baseless claims about voter fraud that have energised his base and led to accusations from Democrats that he is relying on dirty tricks to win the election. It also follows months of anti-racism protests and a foiled plan to abduct the Democratic governor of Michigan.
On Monday evening the president appeared to suggest his supporters were ready to take to the streets because of a US Supreme Court decision to allow Pennsylvania to extend the deadline for mail-in ballots.
“The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a very dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
The post prompted the social media platform to add a disclaimer saying the president’s claim was “disputed” and “might be misleading”.
Mr Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power and, during his first debate with Mr Biden, even urged a white supremacist group to “stand back and stand by”.
On Monday the contenders made their closing arguments, with Mr Trump claiming that his Democratic rival would prevent the economy from recovering after pandemic-related lockdowns, while Mr Biden said Mr Trump should be ousted because of his handling of Covid-19.
“It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home,” Mr Biden said in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as he campaigned with Lady Gaga, one of several musicians along with Bruce Springsteen and John Legend who is trying to help the Democrats boost turnout.
Across the state in Scranton, the northeastern Pennsylvania city where Mr Biden was born, Mr Trump slammed his rival during another of his big rallies, which have sparked concern because they run the risk of fuelling the rise in US coronavirus cases.
Mr Biden leads Mr Trump by 8.1 points, according to a Financial Times analysis of polling data compiled by RealClearPolitics. He also has the edge in every swing state, except Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina. And he is neck and neck with Mr Trump in Texas, a traditionally Republican state that awards 38 of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency.
But Mr Biden’s lead in some swing states, including Florida, is within the margin of error, raising concern among some Democrats that Mr Trump could repeat his surprise win of 2016, when some opinion polls underestimated the level of his support among white working-class voters in the rustbelt.
Mr Trump hopes that these “Trump Democrats”, who propelled him to victory four years ago, will support him again. Mr Biden is banking on winning back some of these white men, in addition to securing a higher turnout of black voters than Hillary Clinton managed four years ago while attracting the votes of enough suburban women.
In recent days, Mr Trump has repeated his allegation that the Democrats were trying to steal the election and warned that his lawyers would try to block the counting of absentee votes after election day.
But the president on Monday suffered a twin blow in his attempts to use the courts to influence the outcome, after judges in Nevada and Texas ruled against Republicans in high-profile legal cases concerning the validity of early ballots.
In Pittsburgh, Mr Biden slammed Mr Trump for trying to undermine the legitimacy of mail-in ballots. “I don’t care how hard Donald Trump tries, there is nothing . . . that is going to stop the people of this nation from voting.”
Men’s 100-metre world champion Christian Coleman was banned for two years on Tuesday and lost his chance to succeed Usain Bolt as the fastest man at the Olympic Games.
US sprinter Christian Coleman did not test positive for performance enhancing drugs, but missed three tests in a 12-month period
Anti-doping officials said Colemen had “received anti-doping education for a number of years”
Coleman had a similar case against him dropped before the 2019 world championships, where he won gold
Track and field’s Athletics Integrity Unit said it banned the American sprinter for two years, until May 13, 2022, because of three violations of doping control rules.
Coleman missed two visits by sample collection officials and failed to file correct information on another occasion, all in 2019 — the year he won his first world title.
“We see this case as involving behaviour by the athlete as very careless at best, and reckless at worst,” the three-person judging panel said in its published ruling.
Coleman can appeal against his ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The 24-year-old had been provisionally suspended from competition since May. Weeks later, details of his three so-called “whereabouts failures” were revealed.
Athletes face a two-year ban if they have three violations in a 12-month period.
A previous similar case against Coleman was dropped weeks before the 2019 world championships in Doha, Qatar.
That cleared him to take gold in the individual 100m and 4x100m relay and established him as favourite to win titles at the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jamaican icon Bolt won the marquee 100m dash at the past three Summer Games.
The judges said there was no suggestion Coleman ever took a banned substance.
However, even the panel noted Coleman was in a pool of top-level athletes targeted for no-notice testing since 2016, and “has received anti-doping education for a number of years”.
“The evidence indicated a complete failure to [comply with the rules] by the athlete,” the judges said.
Coleman previously wrote in his blog that his third and decisive whereabouts failure — on December 9 last year — occurred when drug testers showed up at his residence while he was Christmas shopping.
Elite athletes are required to fill out a “whereabouts form” to make it possible for anti-doping authorities to carry out surprise testing outside of competition.
A violation means an athlete either did not fill out forms telling authorities where they could be found, or that they weren’t where they said they would be when testers arrived.
Coleman also got silver in the 100m and relay at the 2017 world championships in London.
World 100 metres champion Christian Coleman will miss next year’s Tokyo Olympics after being banned for two years for breaching whereabouts rules, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said.
Coleman, who narrowly escaped a ban last year for missing three doping tests, was provisionally suspended by the AIU in June.
The American sprinter had claimed at the time that anti-doping officials had not followed procedure when he missed them after going Christmas shopping on December 9, 2019 at a time when he had said he would be at home.
“We impose on the athlete a period of ineligibility of two years, which will end on May 13, 2022,” the AIU said in a statement on its website on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT).
Lowe’s Cos. announced Wednesday that it is handing out another round of bonuses to recognize its front-line employees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A news release from the company said all full-time hourly workers will get $300, and part-time and seasonal employees will receive $150 on Oct. 16. The bonuses total $100 million and will affect hourly workers at Lowe’s stores, distribution centers and store support centers, the company said.
The latest bonus will match the money Lowe’s provided to all hourly associates in March, May, July and August, according to the company.
The retailer joins other companies from Amazon to Kroger to Target that have provided their front-line and warehouse workers bonuses. Some have even offered free access to virtual doctor visits during the pandemic.
With the latest bonuses, Lowe’s will have provided more than $675 million in financial support to its sales associates this year, the news release said.
Also, Lowe’s has committed more than $100 million to support its communities during the pandemic, including $55 million in grants to provide financial relief to rural, minority-owned and women-owned small businesses, according to the news release.
The Mooresville, North Carolina-based chain has more than 2,200 stores and about 300,000 full- and part-time employees. In August it reported that second-quarter sales surged and profits were better than expected as shoppers spent stimulus money — as well as funds formerly spent on travel and entertainment — on do-it-yourself projects around the house.
The court heard that Moses and Nicole Obeid moved next door to Peter and Nicki Fitzhenry in Elizabeth Bay in around 2004. “They were delightful people,” said panel beater Mr Fitzhenry. The two families became good friends dining at each other’s houses several times a week.
Mr Fitzhenry told the NSW Supreme Court that Moses’s father Eddie Obeid was looking for a rural retreat. “My dad wants to cook goats and hang around the property,” he said Moses told him.
The Obeids purchased Cherrydale Park, in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee with settlement taking place in November 2007. Moses told his neighbours it was a beautiful property that had been owned by Kerry Packer’s accountant.
Not long after the purchase Moses told Mr Fitzhenry there was coal underneath the property and if it was mined it would be “a life-changing situation, it would be fantastic money wise.”
Moses Obeid suggested that the Fitzhenrys buy the adjoining farm for $3 million because there was a rail line through it which would make it attractive for a mining company. “There was a substantial amount of money to be made out of it,” Mr Fitzhenry recalled Moses telling him.
Mr Fitzhenry said Moses Obeid said if his neighbours bought the adjoining property the Obeids would look after the mortgage payments.
“I understood the whole thing, and I didn’t want any part of it,” Mr Fitzhenry told the court.
Mrs Fitzhenry recalled Moses saying his family stood to make $100 million from the coal underneath Cherrydale Park. “Anyone who invested in the properties nearby would also make a lot of money,” she recalled Moses telling her.
Moses Obeid said there was a minister who notified the Obeids about the coal deposits.
“Who was that minister?” asked Crown prosecutor Rebekah Roger. “Ian Macdonald,” replied Mrs Fitzhenry.
Mr Fitzhenry said that he had seen Ian Macdonald at his neighbours’ house and, on another occasion, controversial former minister Joe Tripodi. On another occasion Eddie Obeid held a meeting with the now Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell in the Fitzhenrys’ kitchen, Mr Fitzhenry said.
The court has heard that in May 2008, Macdonald passed on confidential information to the Obeids about coal reserves at Mount Penny and the prospect of it being released for tender. The Obeid family subsequently negotiated a $60 million payout from the successful bidder for the coal exploration licence, of which the Obeids received half.
The trial continues.
Kate McClymont is an investigative journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.
The window officially opened last month after the completion of the delayed 2019-2020 Premier League season. Clubs will now be busy tweaking their squads ahead of the new campaign, with the window scheduled to close on October 5.
Arsenal have completed the signing of Willian and are set to sign Gabriel Magalhaes, while Chelsea have already brought in the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, and are now closing in on Thiago Silva, Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell.
James Maddison has signed a new contract with Leicester City, the club have confirmed.
Maddison was among Manchester United’s list of summer transfer targets with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking to strengthen his side further ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Maddison and Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish were among the options being considered at Old Trafford.
The 23-year-old has become a firm favourite at Leicester since arriving from Norwich City in a £24million deal in 2018, making 73 appearances across all competitions as a key starter in midfield.
Maddison recently said that he felt like a ‘part of the furniture’ at the King Power Stadium and has now committed his future to the club by signing a new four-year deal.
Speaking to LCFC.com, Maddison said: “I’m so happy to sign a new contract for this Football Club. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a Leicester City player with so many positive things happening on and off the pitch and I’m delighted to be part of that. What we’ve achieved as a Club this season is a huge step forward for us and I know there’s so much more to come from this team.
“I’ve enjoyed every moment since joining Leicester City. The supporters have been incredible to me and we’ve a fantastic set of players in that dressing room who are determined to show what we’re capable of doing together in both Europe and the Premier League next season.”
A bit more Arsenal news – The Gunners have this afternoon confirmed the permanent signings of Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares.
That might a little familiar – The Gunners did initially announce the pair were to commit to permanent deals in June but a further statement today says all parties have now agreed to the arrangement ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Mari moved from Brazilian team Flamengo and was restricted to three appearances for Arsenal before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury after the restart of the Premier League season following the coronavirus outbreak.
Soares is a Portugal international who joined from Southampton.
Following consultation with the EFL, a domestic-only window will be added from 5 October, closing 5pm on 16 October. During this window, Premier League clubs will only be able to trade with EFL clubs (either loans or permanent registrations). No transfers can take place between Premier League clubs in this period.
Chelsea will push ahead with moves for Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and remain interested in Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell, while Manchester United are also expected to be busy this summer.
Jadon Sancho remains Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s number one target, and a deal should be completed if Man United can negotiate a compromise on the £100m-plus valuation Dortmund has for the England international.
In the state’s most significant CBD development in over a decade, the design by Fender Katsalidis and SOM is set to transform the western edge of Central Station.
The project to be delivered by Dexus and Frasers Property Australia will complement the City of Sydney’s proposal to create a third new major civic-square.
The design for Central Place Sydney features two commercial towers at 37 and 39 levels and a landmark sculptural building which will activate the precinct that connects Railway Square, Central Station and the community beyond.
At Ultimo, the 1584 sq m property is one of only five freehold “island sites” and comprises the The Ultimo Hotel, a four-star rated boutique hotel operated by Rydges with 95 guest rooms and 10 retail tenancies.
Selling agents Andy Hu, Jordan Lee, Stuart Cox and Nick Lower of Savills Australia said buyers have the option of continuing management with Rydges Hotels or taking it with vacant possession.
Mr Cox, Savills’ director of residential site sales, said the chance of one of these island sites coming to market is extremely rare in Sydney, especially in the southern CBD.
“It offers not only a redevelopment or repositioning of The Ultimo Hotel but the ability to provide an additional 13 storeys above what is already present, in addition to re-leasing the retail tenancies as expiries arise or strata subdivide the retail space and sell off individually,” Mr Cox said.
The building was converted to the current hotel and retail/commercial uses in 1988 and subsequently underwent a $10 million renovation in 2016. There are redevelopment opportunities for the asset.
Mr Hu and Mr Lee – the joint state heads, Asia Markets at Savills Australia – believe local investors and developers are being just as aggressive as their offshore counterparts for these types of assets as the Sydney market is so supply stricken for quality assets.
“Over the years, The Ultimo Hotel has garnered a lot of interest in the mid-tier market with domestic and international investors and we are confident even during the pandemic that there will be further local and offshore interest, as the opportunity to acquire prestigious sites such as this are not readily available,” Mr Hu and Mr Jordan said.
Mr Lower, state director – NSW, metro & regional sales at Savills Australia, said the southern end of the Sydney CBD is well established with surrounding developments including a mixture of heritage style commercial buildings with ground floor retail and accommodation and mixed-use residential apartment and accommodation developments.
Carolyn Cummins is Commercial Property Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald.