India death toll rises by thousands; Jury unable to reach majority verdict in Jack De Belin case; Bert Newton has leg amputated; New advice on airborne spread of COVID-19



By 9News Staff, Associated Press10 May 2021 06:30India’s daily COVID-19 cases have dipped from the highs of recent days, with 366,161 new positive results.A further 3754 people have also died, according to the India Health Ministry, bringing the total death toll to 246,116.Health experts fear case numbers are being underreported as the country’s health system continues to stagger underneath the massive burden.India’s Supreme Court said on the weekend it would set up a national task force consisting of top experts and doctors to conduct an “oxygen audit” to determine whether supplies from the federal government were reaching states. Complaints of oxygen shortages have dominated the top court recently, which just stepped in to make sure the federal government provided more medical oxygen to hospitals in the capital, New Delhi.

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Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton says they will settle Dani Laidley case


Victoria’s top cop says police will settle a case brought by former North Melbourne AFL coach, Dani Laidley, for what was “inappropriate conduct” by officers.

The former AFL player and coach, who was outed in public as transgender after vulnerable photos of her in custody were allegedly leaked, is suing Victoria Police.

The images of Ms Laidley wearing make-up and a long blonde wig while being questioned by police were splashed across the tabloid press in May last year.

Last week Ms Laidley, 54, lodged action in Victoria’s Supreme Court, claiming the force is liable for the alleged actions of three police officers who are accused of sharing sensitive photos of her which quickly made their way into the public realm.

Speaking on 774 Melbourne radio on Thursday morning, Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said the matter would be resolved quickly.

“We have done the wrong thing,” he said.

When asked if that meant an apology and a payout, he replied “pretty much”, adding that the police did not want to cause more hurt or trauma.

Laywer Rob Stary, who is representing Ms Laidley, said she changed her name after undergoing a gender transition.

Eleven police officers have faced disciplinary hearings and have been personally ordered to pay Ms Laidley compensation between $500 and $3,000.

Three officers are facing criminal charges over the leak and at least six officers have been placed on 12-month good behaviour bonds.

In the writ lodged in the Supreme Court, Ms Laidley is seeking unspecified damages for the injuries caused by being publicly ridiculed.

One detective is accused of publishing the first photograph of Ms Laidley to a WhatsApp chat group and sending it to other officers, allegedly saying Ms Laidley was “dressing like a tranny” and calling her a “full-blown tranny”.

Another police officer, who is a senior constable, allegedly published the second photograph to the same WhatsApp group.

Ms Laidley’s lawyers argue the commentary exposed her to “humiliation and ridicule”, and implied that dressing or identifying as a woman “was deserving of disparagement and ridicule”.

It’s claimed while she was in custody, she was under the care of Victoria Police and that the organisation breached its duty of care to her.

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Christian Porter ABC defamation case stalls as judge considers lawyer’s alleged conflict of interest


There’s been a twist in former attorney-general Christian Porter’s defamation case against the ABC, with a friend of the alleged rape victim lodging a court action to remove Mr Porter’s barrister from the case due to an alleged conflict of interest.

Barrister Sue Crysanthou has so far represented Mr Porter, who is suing the ABC over a story about an unnamed cabinet minister accused of an historical alleged rape.

Mr Porter, who later revealed he was the subject of the accusation, has categorically denied the allegation.

His case is that he was defamed because he was identifiable from the material in the story.

Former attorney general Christian Porter is suing the ABC and reporter Louise Milligan for defamation.(

ABC News: Hugh Sando

)

An odd situation

There have already been some disruptions in the case since the ABC filed its defence.

Much of the broadcaster’s defence hasn’t been publicly released, with Mr Porter lodging an immediate application to have some of the case struck out.

Arrangements to hear that application were to be made today, but Justice Jayne Jagot — who is presiding over the defamation proceedings — started the hearing warning she may have to delay the matter, or ask Ms Crysanthou to quarantine herself from the case until the conflict-of-interest issue was resolved.

It’s an odd situation.

The challenge to Ms Crysanthou, which is a separate court action, has not been launched by the ABC, but by Joanne Dyer, a friend of the alleged rape victim referred to in the story Mr Porter is suing over. 

The court heard she was once a client of Ms Crysanthou.

Risk of ‘dreadful precedent’

Barrister Bret Walker, who represented Ms Crysanthou in this morning’s hearing, told the court Ms Dyer was effectively a stranger to the court.

He rejected the idea Ms Crysanthou should quarantine herself from the case.

Head shot of Louise Milligan.
Defemation proceedings have also been brought against ABC Four Corners reporter Louise Milligan.(

ABC News

)

“The threat is to Mr Porter’s right to his choice of counsel to appear,” Mr Walker told the court.

“It would set a most dreadful precedent.”

He also rejected the idea of a stay — a temporary halt in the case.

But Justice Jagot decided to delay the arrangements for the strike out application until after the conflict of issue claim was resolved at court in May. 

Minutes later Justice Thomas Thawley called on a case management hearing for the challenge to Ms Crysanthou. 

Lawyers in the case told the court they would need at least three days for the hearing, which is expected to involve cross examination of several witnesses.

Earlier Ms Crysanthou had asked the court to bring on the main defamation case before the end of the year.

There’s no talk about that being in doubt yet.

But even the lawyers admit things are tight, with case management of the strike out application put off until just days before the formal hearing, and Ms Crysanthou’s position possibly hanging in the balance until late May.

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Racing boss loses defamation case


Racing NSW and Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V’landys has lost the defamation case he brought against the ABC over an episode of 7.30 featuring graphic footage of horses being slaughtered at an abattoir in Queensland.
Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney said the program may not have portrayed Mr V’landys in a positive light but did not defame him in a judgment handed down on Friday afternoon.
The program, aired on October 17, 2019, was titled The Final Race and featured shocking footage of distressed horses being slaughtered at the Meramist Abbatoir, north of Brisbane.
A recorded interview with Mr V’landys was juxtaposed with the graphic footage throughout.

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Mr V’landys is the chief executive of Racing NSW and chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Steven SaphoreSource: News Corp Australia

Central to Mr V’landys case was the fact investigative journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna and the program’s producers did not show him the bombshell footage prior to his interview.
The Australian Rugby League Commission chairman said the program falsely portrayed him as someone who callously permitted the slaughter of horses and who was indifferent to the cruelty meted out at the abattoir.

But Justice Wigney ruled the program did not convey those things about Mr V’landys and it instead suggested regulators were “asleep at the wheel”.
The impression overall was not that racing bosses were knowingly permitting such cruelty, but rather the rules in place to stop it were ineffective and “unscrupulous operators” were exploiting the system, the judge said.

He said it made Mr V’landys assertions that he had confidence in the Racing NSW rules look “foolish” but did not go so far as to make him look like a liar.

Journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna reported the “The Final Race: The dark side of the horse racing industry” program on 7.30. Picture: ABC<br eom-tag-name=”br”/><br eom-tag-name=”br”/>Source: Supplied

Mr V’landys also argued the ABC and Ms Meldrum-Hanna acted with malice in publishing the story, but again Justice Wigney was unconvinced.

He said he understood why Mr V’landys felt aggrieved that he had not seen the footage or been made aware of it, and why he might be upset about how it was deployed in a “perhaps overly dramatic and sensationalist way”.
But on the whole, his evidence did not stack up to a finding the ABC acted dishonestly, the judge found.
More to come.

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Victorian locations high-risk for Tas after case


TASMANIA has declared a number of Victorian locations as high-risk following a case of COVID-19 in a recently returned traveller who had completed quarantine.

Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr Julie Graham, said effective from 12.01am Wednesday, 12 May anyone who had been in those locations needed to isolate.

“This decision has been made in response to an announcement by Victoria of a case of COVID-19 in a recently returned traveller who had completed 14 days quarantine in South Australia.

“Authorities in both Victoria and South Australia are investigating the source of the infection.

“Anyone who arrived in Tasmania from Victoria on or after 5 May has been contacted

and advised to review the list of high-risk premises.”

The locations are in the areas of Altona North and Epping.

“Anyone who has been at these sites at the time and date specified is required to isolate immediately and call the Public Health Hotline … for further advice and to arrange testing.

“A person who intends to travel to Tasmania who has been at a high-risk premises at the dates and times specified will not be permitted to enter Tasmania unless approved by the Deputy State Controller as an Essential Traveller.

“The list of high-risk premises may change as the Victoria public health response progresses and it should be checked regularly by anyone who has recently been in Victoria.

Dr Graham said anyone with cold or flu symptoms, even mild should contact the Public

Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to arrange a test.

Further advice will be issued as Victorian authorities continue contact tracing. Visit www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au for the latest Tasmanian information and a list of these premises.

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As Epic nears conclusion of case, Apple pushes back at experts


Epic Games Inc. is wrapping up its antitrust case against Apple Inc. much as it started: Fending off a relentless assault by Apple lawyers and experts challenging the premise of its historic lawsuit.

If this is beginning to sound like an echo, it’s because Apple
AAPL,
+1.29%
has used its considerable resources inside the courtroom and out to make its point clear: Epic’s market definition, which centers on Apple’s App Store, “is too narrow because it focuses on the one platform and consumers can transact on other platforms,” Francine LaFontaine, an economics professor at University of Michigan and Apple witness, said.

If the first eight days of the bench trial has proved anything, it is the difficult path Epic faces in convincing federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that Apple engaged in price-gouging monopolistic behavior. An Apple legal representative deemed Epic’s case a PR strategy in search of a legal theory — part of a pattern of Apple’s willingness to throw sharp elbows.

The tenor of Apple’s expert-witness testimony — precise, relentless, and unwavering — underscored what has been a comprehensive, no-holds-barred defense of the App Store, on which much of Apple’s business hinges.

In addition to a roster of experts who thoroughly pushed back at Epic’s experts, Apple requested the court expunge the testimony of Lori Wright, Microsoft’s vice president of business development, on the premise that Microsoft didn’t turn over documents Apple needed to properly question her. Epic and Microsoft have until Monday to respond.

Consider Wednesday’s court proceedings. Susan Athey, an economics professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Epic’s final witness, was repeatedly pressed by Apple attorney Karen Dunn about her work for Microsoft Corp.
MSFT,
+1.24%,
gaming technology jargon, and Athey’s methodology in depicting Apple’s App Store as an monopoly.

“What Epic is asking for in this case is for Apple to make its products interoperable,” Dunn said.

Athey and Epic’s previous witness, David Evans, chairman of Global Economics Group, have dominated the week trying to establish that Apple’s iOS platform constitutes a monopolistic market that harms consumers with higher prices and boxes out competing gaming developers. Evans calculated that nearly 80% profit margins contributed to a multibillion-dollar App Store business that had a market to itself.

“Apple has substantial market power” in smartphone operating systems, Evans said Monday. It and Google’s Android, he concluded, are a duopoly that have controlled 100% of the smartphone OS since 2013. Globally, excluding China, the split is 60%-40% Android; in the U.S., it’s about even, he said.

Read more: Epic takes aim at Apple’s financial advantage in App Store model

Like Athey, Evans faced withering questions from Apple’s legal counsel, who questioned his research, definition of market dominance, and thin history of testifying in antitrust cases. Indeed, Evans — who is Epic’s lead expert witness and is scheduled to take the stand again — has been the focus of a concerted push-back campaign by Apple.

More important, Athey’s testimony is where the battle of the dueling expert witness segment of the trial kicked in. Her testimony was followed by Apple’s experts, as earlier agreed upon by the federal court in Oakland, Calif. MIT economics professor Richard Schmalensee, testifying on behalf of Apple, argued Wednesday that Evans’ analysis is wrong. “There really isn’t a market there,” Schmalensee said. “The Apple iOS has never been licensed separately from devices.”

“Apple’s iOS business is clearly a platform linking consumers and developers,” Schmalensee said. “The iOS is at the core of that platform. It links apps to those devices.”

(Ironically, Schmalensee collaborated closely with Evans on three books, half a dozen articles, and amicus briefs that included one cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in the American Express case. Epic’s arguments draw on major antitrust cases against American Express Co. AXP, Eastman Kodak Co. KODK, and Microsoft, but apply those precedents in new ways that have not been tested in U.S. courts, legal experts said.)

Schmalensee did acknowledge that Apple has been under antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and elsewhere for years. This prompted Gonzalez Rogers, to eventually drop a telling comment. “I have the [American Bar Association’s] Antitrust Law book up here and I’ve heard quite a bit of evidence throughout the trial regarding how big Apple is and how anticompetitive it is,” she said.

Another Apple expert, Loren Hitt, professor at University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School, pointed out that Apple has reduced the rate of the commission over time. While the general commission remains 30%, subscriptions, video subscriptions, and small businesses that earn less than $1 million pay 15%.

There are 78 million phone purchases every year, Hitt said, and Apple, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
005930,
-1.88%,
LG , and Google
GOOGL,
+0.48%

GOOG,
+0.27%
create products designed to make it possible to easily switch between platforms.

The contours of expert testimony defining the reach and influence of the App Store elicited contrasting analogies. Francine LaFontaine, an economics professor at University of Michigan, compared the App Store to a supermarket, where shoppers buy many goods, while the Epic Game Store, she said, is more like a liquor store for specific purchases.

Schmalensee, conversely, said that because research costs for the App Store can’t be divorced from Apple’s hardware costs, the store is more like a cow (!). A farmer who raises cattle for meat and leather can’t allocate feed costs to just one product, because both benefit, he said.

Finally, Judge Gonzalez Rogers asked whether iOS is an “essential facility,” a vital system or technology that rivals can’t effectively compete without. The idea derives from railroads, Schmalensee said, where there might be only one bridge that several railroad lines need to use. “You had to have that bridge,” he said. “There was no alternative.”

Thursday’s court day, the ninth of the closely-watched trial, featured the testimony of Hitt, Michael Cragg, chairman at The Brattle Group, and Evans.

Epic may rest its case Friday, Epic counsel Katherine Forrest said late Wednesday.

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Victorian CHO Brett Sutton believes new COVID-19 case was contracted in SA hotel quarantine


Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warns people may be starting to get complacent towards COVID-19 as a new case is confirmed in the state after completing hotel quarantine in South Australia.

Look back at our blog below, or check out the list of exposure sites from Victorian health authorities.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting In This Case sells in New York for $119 million


Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting, In this Case, has sold for $US93.1 million ($119 million) at auction in New York, the second-highest price paid for a work by the late artist.

The 1983 painting, which depicts a skull on a red background, sold for $US81 million at Christie’s, but with fees and commissions the final price came to $US93.1 million, well above the estimate of $US50 million.

It was another skull, Untitled, that set the record for the most expensive by Basquiat. It went for $US110.5 million in May 2017 at Sotheby’s in New York.

In This Case reprises two dominant themes in Basquiat’s work, anatomy and representation of African-American characters.

In a sign of Basquiat’s growing status in the art world, the same canvas was sold in November 2002 for just $US999,500, barely more than a hundredth of the price paid on Tuesday.

With the exception of Basquiat, who was based in New York, African American painters have long been undervalued by collectors and underrepresented in museums.

In recent years, the market has started a process of re-evaluating many of them. On Tuesday, Christie’s had presented several Black artists as part of its big spring sale.

A Nina Chanel Abney work sold for $US990,000, a Jordan Casteel went for $US687,500 and a Rashid Johnson fetched $US1.95 million.

A work by British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye was sold for $US1.95 million and a piece by Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui went under the hammer for $US1.95 million, all of them setting new records.

A photo of the painting.
Untitled by Jean-Michel Basquiat was sold for $US110.5 million at an auction in 2017.(

Supplied: Sotheby’s

)

AFP

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Victorian COVID case ‘linked’ to Adelaide medi-hotel


UPDATED: SA Health has confirmed a recent Victorian COVID-19 case is linked to another positive case in an Adelaide medi-hotel, prompting authorities to scramble to isolate and test those who stayed on the same floor as the infectious men.

It comes as South Australia this afternoon enforced a ban on people travelling into the state if they visited a high-risk infectious site in Melbourne.

The sites are listed on the Victorian Department of Health website and include businesses in the suburbs of Altona North, Craigieburn, Docklands, Epping and Melbourne.

In a statement issued late this afternoon, South Australia’s chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said that genomic results showed that the Melbourne case is linked to a recent case currently in quarantine at the Tom’s Court medi-hotel.

Both infectious men were quarantining in neighbouring rooms on level three of Adelaide’s Playford medi-hotel earlier this month.

She said that investigations into the precise cause of transmission are ongoing.

“In an abundance of caution, those people who were on level three of the hotel during the period of concern who have subsequently been discharged will be required to quarantine for a further 14 days,” she said.

“This includes ten South Australians who will be able to quarantine at home, if the home setting is suitable.”

Spurrier said that SA Health had confirmed that the “vast majority” of staff at the Playford medi-hotel who were working at the time had their required daily testing.

She said SA Health was still trying to follow-up five staff.

“At this stage, there have been no new cases linked to this case,” she said.

Spurrier told reporters yesterday that the Melbourne man, who arrived in Adelaide from overseas, was quarantining at the Playford medi-hotel on North Terrace and stayed in a room next to another overseas arrival who tested positive for COVID-19 during his stay.

That man was later transferred to Tom’s Court medi-hotel, which is a dedicated facility set up for positive cases.

The Melbourne man, who did not test positive for COVID-19 during his quarantine stay, took a flight to Melbourne on May 4.

Authorities believe the man was not infectious while he was on the flight.

Before his infection was detected on Tuesday, he visited several public sites throughout Melbourne, prompting Victorian health authorities to issue an alert ordering anyone who visited the sites at designated times to quarantine and get tested.

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens told reporters this afternoon that he had signed a direction banning anyone who visited the sites from travelling into South Australia.

He said anyone who is already in South Australia and who visited the at-risk sites will be ordered to quarantine for 14 days and get tested.

“This means that anybody who has visited one of those sites at specific times of designated days will be prohibited from entering South Australia and it’s important to note that those people should be quarantining in Victoria at this time,” he said.

“This is being done in order to ensure we are protecting the South Australian community from the positive case that has been identified in Victoria.”

Stevens said flights from Victoria had arrived in Adelaide yesterday, but he was unsure how many people were in South Australia who could have visited the high-risk sites.

“At this time the list is quite limited so we don’t imagine this is going to have a significant impact on people’s plans to travel from Victoria to South Australia, or those who are returning at this point in time,” he said.

“If you’re planning to travel to Victoria or New South Wales it’s important to remember that there are elements of risk associated with those jurisdictions at this time.

“There is no concern about where you visit specifically because the high-risk locations relate to specific times on specific days.

“Obviously those days and times have passed, so there is no further ongoing concern for those locations, but it is about being mindful of the fact that whilst we have some element of concern, there is a possibility that the circumstances might change and we’d encourage people to be flexible with their travel arrangements so they can make changes if necessary.”

Meanwhile, SA Police has today launched “Taskforce Trace”, with plainclothed police officers to patrol businesses to ensure people check-in using QR codes or paper registers upon entering.

Stevens said the taskforce was established following “a level of complacency in the community regarding people QR coding into businesses and venues where that’s an obligation”.

He said from May 13, police officers would check people’s compliance with checking-in to businesses such as supermarkets and restaurants.

The taskforce will be reassessed on May 21.

“The purpose here is not to issue expiation notices in the first instance unless we see blatant disregard for the requirements, but to remind people of their obligation and pull people up who are simply walking past those QR codes,” Stevens said.

“This is a small part that we can play as SA Police to remind people of their obligations.”

Stevens said police would also remind businesses of their obligations to ensure QR codes are displayed near their entrance.

“These steps are being taken to make sure if we do have an outbreak in South Australia, SA Health are in the best position to respond and minimise the likelihood of us having to move to more harsh restrictions as a result,” he said.

“I think the outbreak from South Australia’s medi-hotel is a great reminder to us that whilst this particular individual travelled to Victoria they could have just as easily have moved back into the South Australian community.”

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Victorian man who tested positive for COVID–19 was on same flight as Adelaide hotel case


South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier says it is most likely a Victorian man, who tested positive to COVID-19 yesterday, caught it while staying in hotel quarantine in Adelaide.

Victorian health authorities announced the positive case yesterday.

The man in his 30s had stayed at the Playford medi-hotel before returning home to Melbourne.

Professor Spurrier said the man was on the same flight as another man who tested positive for the virus on day nine of his stay at the hotel.

She said it was not out of the realm of possibility that the virus was transmitted on the aeroplane, but unlikely.

The Playford Hotel on North Terrace where the two men stayed.(

Facebook: The Playford Adelaide

)

The Victorian man left the North Terrace hotel on the same day as the positive man was transferred to Adelaide’s Tom’s Court Hotel, where coronavirus cases are taken.

She said there would not have been an “overlap” between the two men in a hotel corridor because of the way travellers were moved, but SA Health officials were looking at CCTV.

“We do know that this virus can hang around in aerosols, so that’s one hypothesis,” she said.

“Because the gentleman who was our case could have been positive for a couple of days earlier so we’re of course looking at the fact that these are adjacent rooms.”

Hotel guests being tested again

SA Health yesterday contacted the 35 travellers who had been in the hotel at the same time as the Victorian positive case.  

Many of them had subsequently travelled interstate, Professor Spurrier said.

A woman
South Australian Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier yesterday.(

ABC News

)

They had been urged to get tested and isolate, she said.

“There’s quite a lot of follow-up and review if there’s a problem like this,” she said.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton yesterday said testing was still underway but he had little doubt the man became infected in South Australia’s hotel quarantine program.

Victorian health authorities have had trouble getting in touch with contacts because many had not used the state’s QR system to register at places they visited. 

There are a number of tier one and tier two exposure sites, which are being constantly updated on the Victorian government’s coronavirus website.

More than 21,000 test results were received by Victorian authorities yesterday, but no new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded today.

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