AFL spent more than $60m in Qld in 2020

The AFL spent more than $60 million in Queensland across the 2020 season.

All 16 non-Queensland clubs were temporarily based in Queensland at some point – a move that allowed the AFL to complete its season – which required the relocation and housing of more than 550 players, 750 staff and their families.

The total spend included 101,000 bed nights, 400,000 meals, 10,000 rental cars, 950 bus trips, 120 charter flights and rental of local sporting facilities.

The AFL announced on Friday $136.4 million of economic contribution in Queensland was generated as a result of its activity in the state.

“We were able to complete our season by hosting teams and holding the majority of our matches here,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said in a statement.

“This has not only provided an ongoing livelihood for many in our industry but also provided employment opportunities across many businesses in Queensland.

“I want to personally pass on my thanks for all the support we have had from so many businesses – whether hotels, bus carriers, car rental firms, food suppliers, security firms, local football clubs, gymnasiums, maintenance people and a host of other local suppliers who have helped to support our clubs.”

A record 80 games were played in Queensland, including the grand final at the Gabba, with Brisbane (35 games), Gold Coast (41) and Cairns (four) all playing host.

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Nearly 60m Americans cast early ballots, already surpassing 2016

On October 15, Democratic registrants cast 51 per cent of all ballots reported, compared with 25 per cent from Republicans. On Sunday, Democrats had a slightly smaller lead, 51 per cent to 31 per cent.

The early vote totals, reported by state and local election officials and tracked by the AP, are an imperfect indicator of which party may be leading. The data only shows party registration, not which candidate voters support. Most Republican voters are expected to vote on election day.

Analysts said the still sizable Democratic turnout puts extra pressure on the Republican Party to push its voters out in the final week and on November 3. That’s especially clear in closely contested states such as Florida, Nevada and North Carolina.

“This is a glass half-full, glass half-empty situation,” said John Couvillon, a Republican pollster who tracks early voting closely. “They’re showing up more,” he added, but “Republicans need to rapidly narrow that gap”.

In Florida, for example, Democrats have outvoted Republicans by a 596,000 margin by mail, while Republicans only have a 230,000 edge in person. In Nevada, where Democrats usually dominate in-person early voting but the state decided to send a mail ballot to every voter this year, Republicans have a 42,600 voter edge in-person while Democrats have a 97,500 advantage in mail ballots.

“At some point, Republicans have to vote,” said Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist who tracks early voting on “You can’t force everyone through a vote centre on election day. Are you going to expect all those Republicans to stand in line for eight hours?”

Campaigns typically push their voters to cast ballots early so they can focus scarce resources chasing more marginal voters as the days tick down to election day. That usually saves them money on mailers and digital ads – something the cash-strapped Trump campaign would likely want – and minimises the impact of late surprises that could change the race.

A woman inserts her ballot at a drop box in Salt Lake City.Credit:AP

Trump’s campaign has been pushing its voters to cast ballots early, but with limited success, delighting Democrats. “We see the Trump campaign, the RNC (Republican National Committee) and their state parties urging Trump’s supporters to vote by mail while the President’s Twitter account says it’s a fraud,” Tom Bonier, a Democratic data analyst, said on a recent call with reporters. “The Twitter account is going to win every time.”

But Bonier warned that he does not expect a one-sided election. “There are signs of Republicans being engaged,” he said. “We do expect them to come out in very high numbers on election day.”

That split in voting behaviour – Democrats voting early, Republicans on election day – has led some Democrats to worry about Trump declaring victory because early votes are counted last in Rust Belt battlegrounds. But they’re counted swiftly in swing states such as Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, which may balance out which party seems ahead on election night.

Some of the record-setting turnout has led to long lines at early-vote locations, and there have been occasional examples of voters receiving mail ballots that are incorrectly formatted. But on a whole, voting has gone relatively smoothly. With more than one-third of the 150 million ballots that experts predict will be cast in the election, there have been no armed confrontations at polling places or massive disenfranchisement that have worried election experts for months.


One sign of enthusiasm is the large number of new or infrequent voters who have already voted – 25 per cent of the total cast, according to an AP analysis of data from the political data firm L2. Those voters are younger than a typical voter and less likely to be white. So far similar shares of them are registering Democratic and Republican.

They have helped contribute to enormous turnouts in states such as Georgia, where 26.3 per cent of the people who’ve voted are new or infrequent voters, and Texas, which is expected to set turnout record and where 30.5 per cent are new or infrequent voters.

The strong share of new and infrequent voters in the early vote is part of what leads analysts to predict more than 150 million total votes will be cast and possibly the highest turnout in a US presidential election since 1908.

“There’s a huge chunk of voters who didn’t cast ballots in 2016,” Bonier said. “They’re the best sign of intensity at this point.”

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UK coronavirus LIVE: Boris Johnson accuses Sadiq Khan of ‘bankrupting’ Transport for London as PM confirms Manchester WILL get £60m funding

Boris Johnson has confirmed that Greater Manchester will receive a £60 million funding support package to implement Tier 3 lockdown measures.

At PMQs the Prime Minister said the money would be distributed among the region’s boroughs, despite talks between ministers and local leaders breaking down on Tuesday.

It comes after Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham accused Mr Johnson of “playing poker” with people’s lives. The PM confirmed the region would enter Tier 3 lockdown from midnight on Thursday.

South Yorkshire will follow Greater Manchester into the toughest Covid alert level on Saturday, after it was confirmed that the area will be put under Tier 3 curbs.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson also used PMQs to take a swipe at Sadiq Khan, claiming that the London mayor had “effectively bankrupted” the capital’s transport network. It comes as Transport for London seeks a £4.9 billion Covid bail-out, with reports that ministers have threatened to take direct control of TfL if conditions are not met.

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England’s hospital death toll up by nearly 100 overnight

A further 94 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England.

This brings the total number of deaths reported in the country’s hospitals to 31,275, NHS England has said.

Patients were aged between 49 and 97. All but one, aged 71, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between October 14 and 20.

Manchester won’t be bullied – Labour

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner told the Commons: “For hundreds of years Mancunians have been told to know our place but we’ve never listened… we will not be told what our place is and we will not be bullied into taking it.”

She said Labour’s motion “will ensure a fair national deal for the country”, adding: “Next week and in the weeks ahead, it will be communities in other parts of the country that find themselves in Tier 3.

“If the Government is prepared to wilfully inflict so much harm on its own people in the middle of a pandemic in one part of the country, then they will do it to people elsewhere as well.

“We are staring down the barrel of a bleak winter because the Government have lost control of the virus. Infections are rising, hospital admissions are rising, deaths tragically are rising, the testing system is collapsed.”

Two to three weeks before success of top-tier restrictions is known, MPs told

It will take two to three weeks to establish whether tough top-tier coronavirus restrictions are working in a region, MPs have been told.

Dr Clare Gardiner, director general of the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), told two select committees that it would take this long for the data to come through showing if new measures are working.

Giving evidence to the Science and Technology and Health and Social Care committees earlier today, Dr Gardiner said that part of the lag came from the virus having a 10-day incubation period.

When asked how long it will take to see the benefit of the measures she added: “We would expect to see indications in the data coming through within two to three weeks of interventions being established.

“The incubation period for people who are infected now is about 10 days and that is why there’s a lag on some of the indications.”

Under the top-tier restrictions, households are banned from mixing indoors and all pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals.

But additional restrictions will be imposed based on discussions with local leaders, including those that could cover the hospitality, leisure, entertainment and personal care sectors.

Here’s more on the raging fallout over plans for TfL:

Sadiq Khan has accused Boris Johnson of lying to Parliament after the Prime Minister claimed that the London mayor had “bankrupted” the capital’s transport network.

The war of words erupted shortly after Mr Khan made a direct appeal to Downing Street to resolve the row over the £4.9 billion covid bail-out being sought by Transport for London.

In response to a question on potential conditions for the bailout during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said: “I can certainly confirm – as I said in my answer to the first question – is that the black hole in TfL’s finance, the bankruptcy of TfL, which was left by the way in robust financial health by the previous mayor, it certainly was … is entirely the fault of the current Labour Mayor of London.

Read more…

It’s not up to schools to feed kids during holidays – No10

A Number 10 spokesman said there were no changes to the Government’s free school meal policy despite pressure to extend them over the holidays.

The spokesman said: “While schools continue to play an integral role in the community, it’s not for them to regularly provide food during school holidays.”

More on those free school meal calls here:

Region could escape Tier 3 lockdown thanks to drop in infections – No10

Government talks with Tees Valley and Tyneside over introducing Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions have been paused, it is understood.

It follows signs that progress has been made in controlling Covid-19 in the area.

Discussions have also taken place about moving Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire into the highest category of restrictions.

Tier 3 restrictions ‘coming to a town near you’ – Labour

Labour’s Anglea Rayner said the debate was not just about Greater Manchester because “this is coming to a town near you”.

She told the Commons: “I absolutely hope the Prime Minister does the right thing because this is not just about Greater Manchester.

“This is coming to a town near you. In so many areas now the R number is increasing. So many areas are in Tier 2. So many areas are going to go into Tier 3.

“So this is a marker to ensure that our economy survives through these problems.

“I remember the promises the Prime Minister made, not just in this crisis but before it. He offered ‘levelling up’ for communities like mine.

“But he’s not levelling us up. He’s letting us down. Under Thatcher we were consigned to managed decline. Now it feels like mismanaged decline.”

Labour slams ‘insulting’ Greater Manchester support package

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has called the Government’s financial support package for Greater Manchester “an insult”.

She also told the Commons her aunt died last week from Covid-19 at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

During a Commons debate on financial support for areas under tighter Covid-19 restrictions, she said: “So I speak today not just as a member of this House, nor as a Mancunian, but as someone who, like many others across our city and our country, who in the last few weeks has lost loved ones to this terrible virus.

“We were offered £8 per head or, to put it another way, 30 seconds work for a consultant working on the collapsed Test and Trace system.

“Let me say this: £8 per person is an insult and now they are attempting to play us off against each other across GM.

“Well let me tell the Prime Minister, our mayor stood up for Greater Manchester but he spoke for Great Britain.”

Wales cases up by almost 1,000 overnight

There have been a further 962 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 38,361.

Public Health Wales said 14 further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rising to 1,736.

Speaking of enforcement measures…

A football team has been fined £200 each for claiming to be from the same household in order to drink in their local pub.

The 12 men were together at a boozer in South Tyneside, near Newcastle, on Sunday night when a concerned staff member challenged them.

South Tyneside is classified as “high risk” Tier 2 under the Government’s Covid alert system, which means mixing between different households is prohibited and the “rule of six” still applies.

Read more…

Ministers are “urgently reviewing” Covid-19 powers which enable government officials to use “reasonable force” to make people self-isolate.

Conservative former Home Office minister Mark Harper welcomed regulations to put the requirement to self-isolate in law but told the Commons: “I have grave concerns about the powers to use reasonable force that have been given to state officials other than police officers who are simply not trained to use those powers safely.

“As a former Home Office minister, I think this risks the safety and lives of individuals.”

He asked health minister Edward Argar to assure him that these powers would be limited to police officers only, adding: “If he can’t give me that reassurance, I regret to say I am unable to support the measures on today’s order paper.”

Mr Argar replied: “We do appreciate concerns about the reasonable force allowances in the regulations. The powers to authorise persons other than the police and PCSOs to use reasonable force have not been used and there are no intentions to use them.

“But he does make his point well, as always, and we’re urgently reviewing these powers given concerns he and others have raised around proportionality of enforcement.”

Hospitality is being ‘hung out to dry’, Sheffield MP claims

Labour MP Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) argued hospitality businesses were being “hung out to dry”, adding the deal “doesn’t meet all the concerns of local leaders, nor does it provide the support that businesses need”.

He said: “Because they are not being required to close, they won’t get the support that they need, they are simply being hung out to dry.”

Mr Argar said the Government’s deal was “fair and proportionate”.

Tory Miriam Cates (Penistone and Stocksbridge) said it was very important “that we do know what we’re aiming for”, adding: “Can he guarantee that he will have regular ongoing discussions with local leaders and local people about whether we’re heading in the right direction to make sure that people do know that we’re on the right track?”

Mr Argar replied: “The 28-day period is the sunset point at which these fall unless renewed or altered, there are actually reviews within 14 days, the secretary of state continues to monitor data and so will be reviewing progress at more frequent intervals.”

It comes after Government talks with Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham broke down over an extra £5m funding

Read more here:

PM confirms Greater Manchester will get the £60m for Tier 3 lockdown

Evening StandardBoris Johnson has now confirmed that Greater Manchester will get the £60million to support local businesses as Sir Keir Starmer tore into him over his “corrosive” local lockdown approach. The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday that he will plunge the region into the strictest coronavirus measures on Friday morning after talks with local leaders broke down. It comes after the government failed to reach an agreement with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham over financial support for going into Tier 3 measures.

No cap on length of time regions will remain under Tier 2 and 3

Regions in Tier 2 and 3 will remain under restrictions “as long as is necessary”, health minister Edward Argar said.

Responding to Labour, he told the Commons: “Areas in Tier 3 or in Tier 2 will remain in those areas as long as is necessary to protect the health of the local people and the NHS in that region.

“So he asked about the sort of things that will be relevant to when an area both enters it and comes out of it: infection rates per 100,000, the impact on the NHS of hospital capacity, and how full they are, and hospitalisation rates, as well as, of course, relying and listening to local knowledge from local public health officials.”

He added: “In respect of … neighbouring Tier 2 areas it is only at this point this announcement that we are planning to make. This is the only move that has been announced and that is currently being considered.”

Business leader slams wrangling between civic chiefs and Government

Wrangling over coronavirus support between local leaders and Whitehall “wastes vital time and erodes unity”, the leader of the Confederation of British Industry warned.

CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said: “Business is suffering badly from lack of clarity and delayed timing on financial support through lockdown.”

She said support must be available as soon as restrictions come into force.

Dame Carolyn said: “The Government urgently needs to move to a more standardised system of support for areas and businesses moving into Tiers 2 or 3, with buy-in across all regions.

“Local authorities should receive additional funds so they can target grants to businesses and others most in need.

“The Government’s contribution to the new job support scheme should be increased to protect jobs, especially in areas where firms are seeing demand fall away.

“Now is the time to press the reset button. National unity is the only way to defeat the virus and protect our economy.”

South Yorkshire moves to ‘very high’ alert level

Health minister Edward Argar indicated that action had to be taken in order to stop the spread of the virus in South Yorkshire.

He told the Commons: “We need to act now to prevent the epidemic in South Yorkshire continuing to grow. I am pleased to inform the House that following discussions this week, the Government has reached an agreement with South Yorkshire on a package of measures to drive down transmission.

“That means that South Yorkshire, so the city of Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster, will be moving to the local Covid alert level very high, taking effect at one minute past midnight on Saturday morning.

“This includes the baseline measures for the very high alert level which were agreed by the House earlier this month. And, as well as this, and as agreed with local leaders, unfortunately casinos, betting shops, adult gaming centres and soft play centres will also have to close.

“While gyms will remain open, classes will not be allowed.”

Jenrick offers to work together with Manchester’s local leaders

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said he has written to the local leaders of Greater Manchester “inviting them to work with us at pace to design their business support schemes and ensure the funding reaches the people and businesses who need it”.

He said: “My officials at @Mhclg stand ready to assist – today.

“We will ensure these discussions are conducted in accordance with those proceeding productively with councils in Merseyside, Lancashire and South Yorkshire. The £60m support scheme comes in addition to the Job Support Scheme and grants of up to £3,000 for closed businesses. “

‘Worryingly high’ infection in older Welsh people

Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething has said “worryingly high levels of infection” are being seen in the older population of the country.

He said the “firebreak”, which comes into force in Wales at 6pm on Friday, is designed to reduce transmission of coronavirus as much as possible by preventing household, workplace and social contacts.

“We’ve chosen to make the firebreak as short as possible but to be as effective as possible, it needs to be sharp and deep, including all parts of society, to have a maximum impact on the transmission of the virus,” Mr Gething said.

“Most importantly, it needs to target the main sources of transmission – places where people meet with other people.”

Mr Gething said the estimated R value – the number of people each coronavirus case infects – in Wales was between 1.1 and 1.4 but could be driven down to below one with the “firebreak”.

“This will slow the spread of the virus, reducing the infection rate, which ultimately means fewer people needing hospital treatment and fewer people dying,” he said.

Wales ‘could be overwhelmed’

Wales’s health minister Vaughan Gething has said there is “a very real risk” that the country’s health service would be overwhelmed without action being taken to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Scientific experts in Wales have calculated that the number of Covid-19 infections is growing by 4% each day in Wales, with an estimated 2,500 daily infections.

Mr Gething told a press conference there were 894 people in hospital with coronavirus, up 26% from last week.

“This is the highest that is has been since June this year,” Mr Gething said.

There are 43 people in critical care with Covid-19, which is 72% higher than last week and amounting to one in four critical care beds across Wales.

PM confirms Manchester will receive £60m

Sir Keir Starmer told Boris Johnson to “stop bargaining with people’s lives”.

He told the Commons: “On Friday, thousands of people in Greater Manchester – taxi drivers, pub and hospitality workers, people working in betting shops, the self-employed and freelancers will either be out of work or face significant pay cuts, that’s the reality on Friday in Greater Manchester.

“But their rent and their mortgage won’t be lower, their food and their heating bills won’t be lower, and that could last for months. Why can’t the Prime Minister and the Chancellor understand this? Stop bargaining with people’s lives, stop dividing communities and provide the support that’s needed in Manchester.”

Boris Johnson responded: “I’m very proud that this Government has already given Greater Manchester £1.1 billion in support for business, £200 million in extra un-ringfenced funding, £50 million to tackle infections in care homes, £20 million for test and trace, another £22 million for local response that we announced yesterday.

“Yesterday the Mayor of Greater Manchester was offered a further £60 million which he turned down with no encouragement, I may say support from (Sir Keir Starmer). So I can tell the House today that that cash will be distributed to the boroughs of Greater Manchester.”

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