India’s Kumbh festival attracts big crowds amid devastating second Covid wave

The fear of increased Covid risk prompted Sachdanand Dabral, another resident, to petition the court last year, asking to know how the state was prepared in case of a Covid surge. Mr Dabral blamed the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat for the rise in cases, for allowing people in to the state unchecked. The BBC was unable to reach Mr Rawat for comment.

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Australia hammered again 5-0, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson’s big Tokyo Olympics challenge

The fact that the Matildas have not played together in more than a year and had not met their new coach until gathering in camp in Europe before these two games are clearly mitigating factors.

However, this Matildas squad boasts many players who have been in the system for years and have faced tough opponents alongside each other before, so familiarity should not have been a problem for the likes of Emily Van Egmond, Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord, Laura Alleway, Aivi Luik, Hayley Raso and Sam Kerr.

The Netherlands’ Stefanie van der Gragt (right) is hot on the heels of Australia’s Sam Kerr.Credit:Getty Images

It was never going to be easy taking on such high quality teams as Germany and the Netherlands so the outcome, in the circumstances, was predictable enough although few would have expected the Matildas to concede 10 goals in two games.

They will be better with the marauding Carpenter back in the side and Catley will add defensive experience to the rearguard.

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Big Brother is coming: ‘Vaccine passport can not be allowed to gain momentum’

Sky News host Alan Jones says the idea of a vaccine passport “cannot be allowed to gain momentum” stating in the last 15 months, we have seen an “extraordinary erosion of our fundamental freedoms”.

“There is loose talk which can’t be allowed to become anything more than that about vaccine passports,” he said.

“In other words, you can’t get on a plane, you can’t shop, you can’t go where you want to go unless you have proof of vaccination.

“I have warned since the beginning of all of this against the massive erosions of our freedoms. In many ways, we are all too busy trying to get on with our lives.

“If people in a certain precinct are unvaccinated, could they be declared a risk to public health? Could this be the extension of the vaccine passport idea? And where do our basic freedoms stand in relation to this?

“We have seen, in the last 15 months, an extraordinary erosion of fundamental freedoms. We learned early on in life, once bitten, twice shy. Beware lest big brother comes after us again. Vaccine passports; no.”

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Big surf flips boulders across road in Port Fairy, reigniting climate change, coastal erosion concerns

Wild surf has battered Victoria’s south-west coast, sweeping large boulders onto roads and trapping a family on an island off Port Fairy.

Emergency services rescued the family from Griffiths Island on Sunday after large waves and a high tide left them stranded, unable to access the narrow pedestrian walkway that would link them to the mainland.

Port Fairy-based shire councillor Jordan Lockett said the force of the ocean was incredible and roads were strewn with seaweed and large boulders.

Locals reported some rocks had been moved up to 20 or 30 metres from the sea wall, which lined a road along the town’s South Beach precinct.

Cr Lockett said the impact of climate change on the shire’s “vulnerable coastline” would continue and worsen over the years to come.

The Victorian government has already instructed councils to plan for a 0.8-metre sea level rise by 2100.

But updated data released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted sea level rises of up to 1.1m.

Speaking to the ABC last year, coastal geomorphologist David Kennedy from the University of Melbourne said Victorian coastal areas were under threat from changes to swell patterns as a consequence of climate change.

Friends of the Earth climate activist Leigh Ewbank said the “startling” images of displaced boulders at Port Fairy were “a sign of things to come”.

“It raises the question, if this is what Port Fairy is seeing today, how will this community cope with sea level rises of 10, 20 centimetres — let alone a metre of sea level rise,” he said.

Mr Ewbank said other Victorian towns, such as Apollo Bay and Inverloch, had already sounded the alarm about the issue.

“It was only a matter of time before the Port Fairy community started connecting the dots,” he said.

But some Port Fairy locals are already involved in a citizen-science program gathering data about coastal erosion and monitoring changes to the coastline.

The group formed after 4m of coastline was lost to coastal erosion in 2013 and threatened to expose an old rubbish site.

The wild weather over the weekend also impacted local penguin populations.

Tracey Wilson has been running a wildlife centre near Warrnambool and said she rescued three penguins that washed up on nearby beaches.

“The seas down here were absolutely horrendous,” she said.

Ms Wilson is urging anyone who sees a penguin on the beach to contact wildlife rescuers.

“Please don’t ignore a penguin that’s on the beach, if it’s still alive please get it help,” she said.

“If you can approach them, they’re in a lot of trouble and just shouldn’t be there at all.”

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Matthew Lloyd’s big worry about Geelong

Matthew Lloyd is concerned about Geelong’s current form, saying their side relies too heavy on star power rather than system to perform.

The Cats were well beaten by Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday, with the result seeing them enter Round 5 at two wins and two losses.

Lloyd said Geelong hadn’t played one good game of football in the first four rounds of the season, expressing his concern about their “player reliant” style of game.

“I would be concerned if I was (Geelong coach) Chris Scott,” he said on Sportsday.

“They can’t get their ball movement going, it’s slow. They fight back and get goals against the run of play sometimes because they have a pretty strong defence.

“Their rucks are a pretty major issue, (Melbourne ruckman) Max Gawn was dominant again on the weekend. They haven’t played a quality game of footy for four rounds and internally I think they’re even concerned.

“They have stars to come back, but to me it’s player reliant again more than the system. Does (Patrick) Dangerfield needs to come in and inject the explosiveness in the midfield or does (Jeremy) Cameron need to come in and kick three or four goals for them?

“I look at Richmond, they lose a few players and I still see a process. They had no (Trent) Cotchin and (Dion) Prestia and they still play a good game of football (against Port Adelaide).

“I don’t really see that from Geelong and I think they need all their stars back to get back into this (season).”

The Cats will be looking to notch up their third victory of the year when they take on bottom-placed North Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday.

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Big losses show Wests need help


Another big loss emphasised that Wests need help if it is to prevent the KFC Alice Springs A-Grade premiership from being a two-term competition. 

Rovers Complete Construction won their round 4 clash 61-22. This followed the 62-19 result in the season opener.

The Wests players are doing their best but are struggling against the power of Rovers and Federal Club Eastside. 

If Wests coach wanted to look for a positive it would be the first half when Rovers led 25-12 at the break.

But Rovers dominated the next two periods scoring 15 and 21 goals in a complete domination of the game.

A highlight of the game was Rovers shooter recruit Wendy Stafford who netted 44 goals for the contest.

Wests had no answer to the height and strength of Stafford as she feasted on the ball supply from Rovers dominant centre court.

Top A-Grade side Federal Club Eastside had a comfortable win against the previously undefeated Rovers Complete Construction A Reserves team.

Meats Glass Giants had a third win in the Reserves, 38-34 against reigning premier Federal Club Eastside.

This took Giants, which agreed to go up to the grade after originally nominating for B-Grade, to top of the grade.

In other netball news, Emily Bainbridge has been appointed by the Alice Springs Netball Association as the part-time development officer for the town.

Born in Yulara, she has been going to the Pat Gallagher Netball Centre since she was five-years old.

Beginning with NetSetGO, Bainbridge has mixed coaching and umpiring with playing.

“I will be running programs for all ages to them play the game,” Bainbridge says. 

“I bring a lot of experience across different aspects of netball. There are lots of ways people can be involved and enjoy it. 

“I will be going to the schools and I am keen to get more people to walking netball.”

Apart from playing as soon as she was old enough, Bainbridge has coached for six years beginning with 11-and-unders through 13s and 15s to 17s this year.

She has umpired since 2015, being awarded the Ann Jacobs Umpire Achievement Award in 2016.

PHOTOS by Jay Scott-Hunter: Katie Hannah ready to attack • Catriona Thomson a picture of concentration.

UPDATE April 11, 2pm

Senior netball (grades from 17-and-under through to A-Grade) returns to Friday evening this week with the second grand final rematch between Federal Club Eastside and Rovers Complete Construction a highlight.


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Wallabies 2021: Rugby Australia big decision on whether to keep director of rugby Scott Johnson, Dave Rennie, Andy Marinos,

Update: At the end of 2018 Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle hired Scott Johnson to rein in Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

Now Rugby Australia’s new CEO Andy Marinos, who was coached by Johnson at Wales, must decide whether or not to keep the well-travelled figure as director of rugby.

It can be revealed that Johnson’s contract with RA runs out at year’s end.

Johnson wants to continue in the role.

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Classic cars and big crowds roar in for first Rockynats, packing a $20m economic fuel injection

With exhaust fumes and cheers in the air, the first-ever Rockynats Car Festival roared, revved and ripped into the Beef Capital.

The three-day event started with a bang on Good Friday with what organisers claimed as the biggest car parade in Australian history.

More than 1,000 cars and motorbikes crowded the Rockhampton CBD in a display of the classic old and the shiny new.

Organisers and local officials said they were expecting 35,000 visitors for the weekend, injecting $20 million into the local economy.   

For Robert Berry it’s a chance to show off his prized 1934 five-door Ford Coupe.

The car connoisseur drove the bright yellow hot road in a three-car convoy from the Northern Territory’s Humpty Doo, just for the three-day Rockynats event.

“We all went together and tried to do 1,000 Ks a day,” he said.

“Slept on the side of the road. We just took our time and went across to Townsville to see what COVID was going to do and then got the all-clear.”

Mr Berry built and re-built the car after importing the antique vehicle from America eight years ago.

Working on the car with his sons, Mr Berry said he would never stop fiddling with the showstopper.

“Both of my sons are into cars,” he said.

“To keep them interested in it, I let them have a bit of input … that’s the reason it ended up with a couple of turbos.

“It was already running when I bought it but you never stop changing it.

“You’re always playing with it and doing different things. 

“I’ll never stop to be honest.”

Mr Berry is one of thousands of visitors who scrambled to secure tickets to the historic Rockynats.

The event was originally set for a jump start in June but was postponed due to the pandemic.

And it was a close call this year, too, with an outbreak of COVID-19 in the greater Brisbane area the week before Easter.

“We’ve worked very closely with Queensland Health throughout this process,” said organiser Annette Pearce from Advance Rockhampton.

The economic boost for the region was great news for newly elected mayor Tony Williams.

“That money coming into the region is really because of stays in beds, in the local hotels and motels, where traditionally people would be leaving to go to other places during the Easter break,” he said.

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ACT Brumbies bring back big guns, Queensland Reds star returns for top of table clash

Holland’s inclusion has shifted Reece Hodge to fullback and pushed Tom Pincus to the bench.

The headline change for the Force is the return of Kyle Godwin, who will line up at inside-centre.

The Perth product hasn’t played for the Force this season after suffering a foot injury in preseason.

Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force, AAMI Park, Friday, 7:45pm AEST

Rebels 1-15: Cabous Eloff, James Hanson, Pone Fa’amausili, Rob Leota, Trevor Hosea, Josh Kemeny, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells, Joe Powell, Matt To’omua, Marika Koroibete, Lewis Holland, Stacey Ili, Frank Lomani, Reece Hodge.
Bench: Jordan Uelese, Matt Gibbon, Lucio Sordoni, Steve Cummins, Brad Wilkin, James Tuttle, Tom Pincus, Jeral Skelton.

Force 1-15: Tom Robertson, Feleti Kaitu’u, Santiago Medrano, Jeremy Thrush, Sitaleki Timani, Fergus Lee-Warner, Kane Koteka, Tomas Lezana, Tomas Cubelli, Domingo Miotti, Jordan Olowofela, Kyle Godwin, Tevita Kuridrani, Byron Ralston, Jack McGregor.
Bench: Andrew Ready, Jack Winchester, Angus Wagner, Kieran Longbottom, Ryan McCauley, Tim Anstee, Brynard Stander, Ian Prior, Grason Makara, Richard Kahui.


Queensland Reds vs ACT Brumbies, Suncorp Stadium, Saturday, 7:45pm AEST

Reds 1-15: Feao Fotuaika, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Ryan Smith, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Scott-Young, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor, Jock Campbell, Hamish Stewart, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Bryce Hegarty.
Bench: Alex Mafi, Richie Asiata, Zane Nonggorr, Seru Uru, Liam Wright, Kalani Thomas, Josh Flook, Filipo Daugunu

Brumbies 1-15: James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Tom Cusack, Pete Samu, Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Tom Wright, Irae Simone, Len Ikitau, Andy Muirhead, Tom Banks.
Bench: Lachlan Lonergan, Scott Sio, Sefo Kautai, Nick Frost, James Tucker, Ryan Lonergan, Bayley Kuenzle, Mack Hansen

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AFL live: Giants, Demons face off after Blues' big win

The Giants host the in-form Demons in Canberra, after Carlton beat the Dockers at Docklands. Follow all the live scores, stats and results in our ScoreCentre. 

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