Anti-COVID restrictions class action lawyer goes off script, ‘It we need to shed blood so be it’


She is also representing Jenny D’Ubios, who escaped hotel quarantine in Perth on Boxing Day after claiming that her detention was a violation of her human rights and based on a virus that did not exist. Ms D’Ubios was put into a maximum-security prison after police found out that Ms Teffaha had mistakenly given the wrong address in her bail application.

Ms Teffaha appeared at a rally in Broadmeadows on December 6 to prosecute her argument against coronavirus restrictions, with a speech that described bureaucrats as “liars”, judges as “corrupt” and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as “the most terrorist organisation”. She also said there was no need to wear masks at a time they were mandatory in numerous settings in Victoria.

“This is gaslighting,” she said.

“This is abusive behaviour. This is not on and we will call them out and if these judges are going to be corrupt we will call the judges on it.

Class action lawyer Serene Teffaha has raised more than $500,000.

“We will keep calling them all out until there’s a revolution on the streets and if we need to shed blood for peace, then so be it.”

Ms Teffaha was previously a senior lawyer with the Australian Taxation Office but left after lodging a whistleblower complaint and subsequently sued the ATO.

She said she has more than 2000 clients, each of whom must give a minimum upfront payment of $250. The money was being held in a trust, she said, and she had not yet paid herself for her work.

However, she said she was not required to hold in trust monies donated by people who had not signed a costs agreement.

Ms Teffaha has drawn the attention of anti-scamming activists including “Lucky Lance” Simon, a convicted criminal-cum-comedian married to Melbourne gangland lawyer Zarah Garde-Wilson, whose early scepticism about some coronavirus claims has been replaced by a crusade against those who seek to profit from it.

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Mr Simon started by skewering the anti-coronavirus groups who sought to enlist his support, including the libertarian Facebook group Reignite Democracy Australia and right-wing activist Avi Yemeni, who has raised close to $500,000 through crowdfunding for a constitutional challenge against the lockdown.

He encouraged his followers to report Mr Yemeni to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for deceptive and misleading conduct. Mr Yemeni reported Mr Simon to the police for making a death threat against him in a comedy skit. The matter was thrown out. No action has been taken against Mr Yemeni regarding his fundraising.

Mr Simon said he had been contacted by many people who had donated to Ms Teffaha’s class action and were concerned that nothing had happened yet. The rally footage has been sent to the Victorian Legal Services Board.

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“Nothing she says makes sense, but she’s a champion of the people because she’s a lawyer,” he said. “If someone like Serene Teffaha calls lawyers corrupt, people believe her and there’s a huge attitude in society that the judges are all against us and I don’t think that’s helpful.”

The Legal Services Board is prevented under the legislation from confirming whether a complaint has been received.

Ms Teffaha said she planned to file the “detention towers” class action this week, followed by the national class action and a COVID-19 vaccine challenge once it had been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

She said her use of the term “blood on the streets” was not meant to be taken literally, but referred to the expression coined by Baron Rothschild and intended as a plea for people to go against the crowd.

“My speech was a protest speech and was impassioned, which is not my usual demeanour,” she said.

“I was not referring to all judges as corrupt but specifically the Family Court of Australia has many corruption issues with people taking children and forcing them to go with the perpetrator parent — I am doing an action on that.”

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Australian Toby Price leads the motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally after winning stage one to Bisha



Australia’s two-time winner Toby Price has launched his quest for a another Dakar Rally title in fine fashion by taking the honours in the opening stage of the 2021 edition.

Price, 33, has opened up a slender 23-second overall lead in the motorcycle class of the great race after winning the 277km first stage from Jeddah to Bisha in Saudi Arabia.

Perhaps more significantly for the Gold Coast rider, American defending champion Ricky Brabec had a woeful opening day, finishing the stage in 24th place, having dropped 18 minutes and 32 seconds to his Australian rival.

“Opening stage went well! Made the finish line, looked after the tyres and bike but navigation was very tricky. Happy to take the stage,” enthused Price on his Twitter account.

“It’s been a good clean day for us with a few minor mistakes, just got to stay calm and make it work!”

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It represented a fine day’s work for the Red Bull Factory KTM rider Price, who was victorious both in 2016, becoming the first Australian ever to win any class of the Dakar Rally, and in 2019 when he was suffering from a broken wrist.

Price said he had made a navigational mistake near the end of the stage but it didn’t stop him taking his 13th career Dakar stage win.

“I got lost a little bit about seven kilometres from the finish. I took a little bit of time just trying to get back on track here,” Price told the official race website.

“I think you’re gonna see a lot of chopping and changing in the standings in this race. You just gotta stay calm and let it cruise along and make it work,” added the man who’s had five top-three finishes in the last six editions of the race.

Price, who had been lying ninth after the prologue, took the lead from Frenchman Xavier de Soultrait at the 135km mark and finished the stage 31 seconds clear of Honda’s Argentine rider Kevin Benavides, who now lies second overall.

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Price’s Austrian Red Bull teammate Matthias Walkner is one minute 12 seconds behind the Australian in third place.

Husqvarna rider de Soultrait ended up sixth at the finish and is now five minutes 23 seconds behind Price.

Price’s fellow Australian Daniel Sanders, who made a flying start on his race debut by finishing third in the prologue, dropped back to 25th overall after the stage, nearly 20 minutes behind.

Honda rider Brabec, though, had a bad day following his victory in the short prologue stage, having all sorts of navigational problems.

In the cars class, defending champion Carlos Sainz won the first stage, finishing 25 seconds ahead of French teammate Stephane Peterhansel.

Overall, Spain’s three-time winner holds the slenderest of eight-second leads from Peterhansel.

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Maiden winners step up to city class and show promise


But he rode his first Saturday metropolitan winner in months and started 2021 in the way he will hope to continue when he scored aboard Zac De Boss for the Ellerton-Zahra training partnership in the Vin Quirk Handicap at Caulfield on Saturday.

The three-year-old had won with Thornton in the saddle on his racetrack debut at Warrnambool a week before Christmas in a maiden.

On Saturday, he stepped up to restricted handicap company (a benchmark 64) and won well. The class might not have been great, but rarely do country maiden winners come straight to the city to win handicaps.

“He’s certainly on the up. Last prep, he didn’t show much at all but this time he has come back a different horse. It’s amazing what a bit of time can do for some breeds that can take a little bit longer and want a bit of ground,” Thornton said.

“It makes your life easier [to be on a horse with potential]. I thought I was on the best horse in the race but he was probably the most immature out of all of them.”

Another horse to make the step straight out of maiden company and into handicap grade was Dickin Medal, who had broken his duck three weeks ago at the first time of asking at Geelong.

Partnered by Damien Oliver – unlike Thornton, a man synonymous with big race success – Dickin Medal finished hard to win a benchmark 70 handicap (Erin Coldham Handicap) later in the afternoon in Godolphin’s navy blue.

”He’s a promising horse. He won a maiden well the other day and I think it was a decent maiden. For a horse to come from a maiden to a 70, you don’t see that very often so he is a nice, promising horse.

“He is still learning. He was on and off the bit at different stages. He was a bit relaxed and then he was a bit too keen so he is still learning to pace himself but I do like the horse and I think he has a nice future.”

Dean Holland is another rider who doesn’t get too many opportunities in town but he took his chance on outsider Classic WeiWei with both hands, getting up late to win the Jodie Burgess Handicap on the Tony McEvoy-trained gelding.



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How Josh Frydenberg is backing the boss class amid capital-on-capital skirmishes | Business


Despite fire, plague and the fog that perpetually shrouds Lake Burley Griffin, Josh Frydenberg’s agenda has become clear in 2020.

Never one to miss the opportunity a crisis presents, the treasurer has used the coronavirus pandemic to ram through changes to the way the Australian economy is regulated that will significantly shift advantage away from ordinary people.

But who benefits? With one significant and telling exception – the banks – the answer is not, as you might expect from the conservative side of politics, the forces of capital. Or at least, not so much.

Instead, a lot of the Frydenberg program favours what you might call the managerial class – the executives who in normal times prowl the mahogany-lined corridors of CBD towers but this year have been confined to their luxury homes in Point Piper or Toorak.

Frydenberg, aided or spurred on by a ginger group of backbenchers – it’s difficult to tell which is cart and which horse – is increasingly pursuing an agenda that will weaken the power of the owners of capital to hold the managers of their money accountable for bad decisions.

This is the unifying link between things as seemingly random as attacking industry super, making it harder for shareholders to sue company directors who cause losses by failing to keep the market properly informed and declaring war on the corporate regulator.

The nature of both management and capital have changed over the past decade or so.

Executive wages have moderated somewhat over the past couple of years, especially in finance where the banking royal commission trashed many an expensive reputation. But years of rising salaries have wrought a permanent change in the way the executive class sees the world.

This year, one banking source who’s been in the game for decades marvelled at how big pay packets had become.

Executives at the big four banks were always paid well, but “it’s generational wealth now” he says.

Meanwhile, the nature of capital in Australia has also changed, with control shifting somewhat from the big banks and financial institutions to industry super, with its – to corporate eyes – inherently suspicious links to the union movement.

It’s important not to overstate the case. Retail super funds, which are are run by the finance sector for the benefit of a steady flow of fees, still have plenty of money in them.

But the litany of horrors exposed by the Hayne royal commission in 2018 accelerated a move away from the retail sector and towards the industry fund sector, which, while not free from problems, is generally the home of superior investment returns.

The results have been spectacular, with the nation’s biggest fund, AustralianSuper, this month hitting $200bn in retirement savings – a result achieved despite Frydenberg kicking the sector in the shins during the crisis by allowing people hurt by the economic effects of the virus to withdraw up to $20,000 from their super.

Many activists say industry super has not been nearly vigilant enough in holding the directors of companies in which they invest accountable for their decision-making.

Company directors would beg to differ. Between the industry funds and the hedge funds, there’s barely time for a nap during board meetings these days.

Executives also suffer a multitude of indignities as newly alert directors suddenly start asking difficult questions about, say, whether blowing up sacred rock shelters is a good idea or whether bonuses are really in order this year.

As company executives tend to be Liberal voters, it’s perhaps no surprise their agenda is reflected in party policy. The only real change is that those interests no longer so perfectly align with those of capital.

There are limits to this thesis, of course.

For example, coal fetishism among the Nationals and rural Liberals needs to be accommodated, through the government backing a George Christensen-led push to have parliament inquire into the unwillingness of banks to lend to coal companies and projects.

And the banks themselves remain both a potent source of capital and political lobbying, as can be seen from their victory in persuading Frydenberg to quash responsible lending laws after the “wagyu and shiraz” case.

While the banks are fleeing superannuation after copping a flogging at the hands of Hayne, the broader finance sector is still able to field powerful battalions in the fight against industry super in what amounts to a case of capital-on-capital violence.

But nonetheless, an understanding of the shifting power dynamics within Australia’s financial world goes a long way towards explaining what Frydenberg has been up to – and why we can expect more of the same in the new year.



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ANU penalises entire class of 300 students for alleged plagiarism after being unable to find perpetrators


An entire computer science class at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra has been told every student will be penalised 30 per cent of their marks because some of them cheated on an assignment.

ANU computer science convenor Hanna Kurniawati wrote to students of her third-year algorithms class on Monday to say that because she could not identify the perpetrators of “massive academic misconduct reports”, the entire class of about 300 students would be punished.

“Please don’t complain to teaching staff about this penalty, rather you should complain to your colleagues who were trying to outsource their [final project] (which is plentiful),” Dr Kurniawati wrote in the email.

“Though, we’re nice enough to put the minimum of [final project] mark to be zero (i.e. none get negative mark).”

The project, which was to develop a software application, was worth 25 per cent of the overall course mark.

The ABC understands the alleged cheating came to the light after the university noticed ads offering payment to complete the assessment.

However, the ads could not be linked back to individual students.

Students vented their anger on a private ANU Facebook group.

The affected students have complained about the decision on social media.(ABC News)

Some called the class an “evil course” and the decision a breach of academic misconduct rules.

“Wasn’t much better when I took that course … You should ABSOLUTELY complain to relevant teaching staff about it and it’s totally screwed up that they’re asking you not to,” a former student wrote.

Another joked it was “time to call ANU to The Hague”.

The ANU Computer Science Students Association said the penalty had caused students considerable stress.

“The announcement of such a change so late in the year — after grade release, even — as well as your attempt to direct enmity within the student cohort, only adds to the stress this announcement brings to students in what has already been an incredibly stressful year,” association president Felix Friedlander wrote to the university.

“By penalising uniformly, students who have learned and demonstrated an understanding of the course to what would have otherwise been an acceptable level may not pass.”

Rules require alleged misconduct to be fully investigated

Under the university’s academic misconduct rules, allegations of serious plagiarism must be reviewed by the course convenor or referred to a registrar for investigation.

The reviewer must write to the student to inform them of the allegation and offer them a chance to respond.

If the reviewer still believes there is misconduct, it must be referred for investigation. And if that investigation determines likely misconduct, an inquiry in which the student is able to make statements and call witnesses must proceed before a penalty is imposed.

Despite final marks being posted to ANU students almost a fortnight ago, Dr Kurniawati only told them by email on Monday of the 30 per cent penalty.

It is unclear how penalising students who have not been proven to have engaged in academic misconduct interacts with the ANU’s rules, which are set out under federal legislation.

In a statement, a university spokesman said it was working with students to clarify the situation and ensure that all marks for the course were appropriate.

“The university is aware of a situation surrounding alleged academic misconduct for an assessment for one course in the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science,” the spokesman said.

“Students are able to score 100 in total for the course.”

The ANU did not provide evidence that this had been communicated to students when asked.

Dr Kurniawati referred to the university’s response when contacted for comment.



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Class action launched against Monash IVF over non-invasive embryo testing


A heartbroken woman has launched a multi-million-dollar class action against one of Australia’s leading IVF clinics, saying her chances of falling pregnant have been scuttled after a controversial genetic test labelled her embryos as “abnormal”.

Danielle Bopping, of Canberra, has launched a class action in Victoria’s Supreme Court accusing Monash IVF of breaching its duty of care by failing to tell her and others about the pitfalls of non-invasive pre-implantation genetic testing, which was being trumpeted by the fertility specialist.

She has since learned the testing can produce false-positives.

Her lawyer, Michel Margalit, said more than 100 people had already expressed interest in joining the suit and she was expecting up to 1,000.

“Danielle’s in her 40s now and had she known at the time that this technology was … not accurate in the manner she believed, she could have taken a different course,” Ms Margalit said.

“I think that there is a real possibility that many, many people will question whether or not they have lost their ability to have children because of this inaccurate testing.”

If successful, the class action could reap millions of dollars in compensation.

“This will be one of the largest class actions ever brought against a fertility provider,” Ms Margalit said.

“We will be fighting for the rights of these women who have placed their trust in the hands of a medical provider and unknowingly have had devastating consequences.”

‘Every week and month counts’

The class action centres on the way in which Monash IVF conducted genetic testing on embryos to uncover abnormalities.

There are two ways to conduct such testing: the first method is through a biopsy, which involves taking a tissue sample from an embryo, a method that is considered invasive.

The second method is called non-invasive pre-implantation genetic testing and involves collecting DNA from the culture that the embryo has been growing in while in the laboratory.

According to court documents, lawyers alleged that Monash IVF told patients including Ms Bopping that the two tests were “identical” in 95 per cent of cases.

In November 2019, Ms Bopping had the non-invasive testing done on an embryo and was informed that the results were “abnormal”.

As a result, she decided not to pursue inserting the embryo.

Her lawyers now say she was the victim of “false, misleading and deceptive” behaviour because she was not told that the non-invasive type of testing could return a false-positive.

Monash IVF has since suspended the non-invasive testing.

Ms Margalit said the decision her client made that was based on the test results had whittled away crucial time.

She has since been unable to find anyone willing to insert her embryo because it has already been labelled abnormal.

“Every week and month counts when you’re in your 40s,” Ms Margalit said.

“Some people fear that they’ve lost their last chance to produce their own genetically-related children.”

Others, she said, had since made life-altering decisions based on those testing results.

“Other people have gone on to use donor embryos and many women are now questioning their decision to cease treatment. So, there really will be lifelong consequences,” she said.

Monash IVF has been contacted for comment.



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The Morrison Government’s program of class warfare


Australians like to think of themselves as living in a classless society where anyone can succeed, unimpeded by socio-economic barriers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s mantra has been “if you have a go, you get a go”.

The reality is the Coalition Government has engaged in blatant class warfare that has punished and disenfranchised workers and the most vulnerable, whilst protecting corporate interests and its political donors.

Let’s take a tour of the most recent policy misadventures.

Robodebt was an initiative by the Federal Government in 2016 to recover alleged overpayments to recipients dating back to 2010.

The automated compliance system sent out discrepancy notices to welfare recipients, placing onus of proof upon individuals instead of the previous practice of collecting and verifying information through investigations. As such, debt notices increased dramatically with over one million sent out since the scheme began, including to over 3,000 who had already died.

The shameless demonising of vulnerable welfare recipients is where the Government reached a new low.  

Then-Human Services Minister, Alan Tudge, stated in 2016 that:

“We’ll find you, we’ll track you down and you will have to repay those debts and you may end up in prison.”

Even after Tudge was informed on 76 separate occasions by a tribunal that robodebt was not legally enforceable, the process continued unabated.  

Between 2016 and 2018, more than 2,030 recipients died after receiving debt notices — an unusually large number. The Government’s secretary of the Department of Human Services disputed any correlation, but two mothers in separate cases have written letters detailing how robodebt notices were a contributing factor in their sons’ suicides.  

When robodebt was introduced in the 2015-2016 Budget, a savings of $1.7 billion was announced. Instead last month the coalition government agreed to a $1.2 billion settlement in a class action with Gordon Legal on behalf of robodebt victims.

Ultimately, the robodebt scheme came at a significant human cost without any foreseeable financial benefit.

The crimes of 'robodebt'

When we examine JobSeeker, the Federal Government – after concerted lobbying from the union movement and bipartisan parliamentary support – introduced a substantial increase to unemployed Australians with a $550 fortnightly supplement during the height of the pandemic in Australia.

However, since then the supplement has been cut to $250 and cut again to $150 until March 2021 when it is completely removed.   

As early as June, Morrison laid the groundwork to justify the cuts by characterising the jobless as people who are turning down jobs “because they’re on these higher levels of payment”.

Such statements were baseless when data from Australian Unemployed Workers Union found that during that same time period 1,640,773 jobseekers were in market for only 79,281 jobs available (a ratio of one job for 20.69 jobseekers), while by August, the numbers improved only slightly to just over fifteen people to one job occupancy.   

As Greg Jericho has noted, our economy, especially in relation to jobs, is in a state of acute weakness. Jericho has rightly pointed out that for the economic situation is actually grim for “prime-aged workers” and that in September over 600,000 more people were either unemployed or wanting to work more, compared to February of this year.

Independent Australia’s Alan Austin has already pointed out Australia’s growth in the September quarter ranked 47th out of 55 and the jobless rate of 7.03% ranked 41st out 91 — Australia’s worst ranking to date.

Further, university-based modelling by Simone Casey and Liss Ralston has found that the cutting of JobSeeker will cause:

‘… crippling rental stress for unemployed and underemployed private renters.’

The research further found that low-income households and in particular young people and women to be the hardest hit by these cuts.

Meanwhile, corporate welfare has been rampant and shamelessly handed out by the Morrison Government.

The $70 billion in JobKeeper wage subsidy has potentially been rorted by thousands of businesses. The Government has not dealt out any fines in relation to over 8,000 tip-offs to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and employers placing 2,200 employees on multiple applications for payments. 

Companies have also used their JobKeeper payments to subsidise dividends to shareholders, including Adairs providing $11.3 million to shareholders and Nick Scali giving $2.5 million of $3.9 million in dividends to the Scali family.

Liberal party donors, in particular, have profited nicely with the Coalition Government in power.

World's media derision for Scott Morrison over bushfire crisis

The Government’s bushfire recovery fund has been difficult to access for some of the most vulnerable bushfire victims and community groups. At the same time, Visy, owned by one of the Liberal Party’s largest political donors, Anthony Pratt, has received $10 million from the fund to upgrade technology and improve productivity at its Tumut mill.

The superannuation reform package “Your Money, Your Super” is a policy designed to undermine not-for-profit – mostly union-run – industry superannuation funds whilst protecting for-profit retail superannuation funds, dominated by the big banks (Westpac and NAB are some of the leading donors to the Liberal Party).

The proposed legislation would potentially restrict industry super advertising critical of the Government and “compare the pair” marketing.

Super funds consistently outperform their retail counterparts and have been proven to be more financially beneficial to their members. Meanwhile, retail super funds have been exposed in the Hayne-led Royal Commission into Financial Services Report as using unethical profit-extraction practices.  

Industry Super Australia CEO, Bernie Dean, has lodged a submission detailing that the new laws will exempt retail super funds from justifying their profit-making, whilst scrutinising industry super funds’ every decision in an effort to hamstring their business model.

The legislated super guarantee was meant to increase to 12% by July 2025 but successive Coalition governments have stalled on such changes. Former prime minister and chief architect of superannuation in Australia, Paul Keating, has accused the Morrison Government of using the cover of COVID-19 to destroy super through early withdrawals and stopping the 2.5% increase.

Meanwhile, the super of parliamentarians is set at the far more generous 15.4%.

In the last six years, wage growth in Australia has stagnated while super has been frozen at 9.5%.

Super’s potential should not be superseded, says ACTU

Insecure work has become increasingly more pervasive with a 2019 OECD report finding one in four Australian workers identified as casual.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has patently ignored such economic conditions for workers to introduce new anti-worker laws by Attorney-General, Christian Porter.  

Such reforms include removing the “better-off overall test” in enterprise bargaining agreements (EBA) if a business can prove that it is in economic hardship. The test is a necessary precondition to guarantee that the EBA is better for workers than the standard award.

Its removal could allow business to impose unfair wages and conditions upon workers.

Other reforms include part-time workers being offered more hours without being paid overtime wages, removing backpay claims for misclassified casuals and the locking-in of workers into long-term contracts without opportunities to improve pay and conditions.

Research by Professor David Peetz has shown that the new reforms of casual labour would empower employers to hire and fire workers at will, whilst subjecting employees to perpetual insecure work.

Porter has offered an olive branch to unions with increased penalties for wage theft, but overall, the reforms are simply creating new legal pathways for employers to maximise profits and disempower workers.

Scott Morrison markets himself as an everyday, suburban, daggy dad. The reality is with each new policy the Morrison Government is damaging the economic health of working Australians whilst serving the interests of corporate Australia.

There is some hope though. Remember John Howard’s WorkChoices was roundly rejected by a nation-wide union movement. Support for bushfire-ravaged communities came about through large-scale public scrutiny and criticism of the Government’s mismanagement.  

With a mainstream media that appears incapable of holding this Government to account and an Opposition following a consistent policy of keeping quiet until the next election, such class warfare will continue unless working Australians realise their collective power to challenge this status quo.

Dr Rashad Seedeen holds a PhD in international relations and works as a high school teacher. You can follow Rashad on Twitter @rash_seedeen.

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ANU apologises, reverses penalty for students after lecturer punished class of 300 for alleged plagiarism


The Australian National University (ANU) has apologised to about 300 students who were told that they would all be penalised on an assignment because some of their classmates had allegedly cheated.

The third-year computer sciences class thought the academic year had ended, until they received an unexpected email on Monday from class convenor Hanna Kurniawati saying they would all be docked 30 points on a final project for which grades had already been awarded.

“We have received massive academic misconduct reports that are unable to trace the perpetrators,” Dr Kurniawati wrote.

“Due to this, unfortunately, we need to put a 30 points penalty on everyone’s [project] mark.”

Dr Kurniawati’s email also provoked anger from students after she instructed them not to complain to teachers, but instead place the blame on their colleagues who had allegedly cheated.

The decision caused deep upset among students who said it had already been an exceptionally stressful year.

School reverses marking penalty, continues cheating investigation

In an email sent just after 6:00pm on Tuesday, the ANU’s director of computer sciences Tony Hosking wrote to apologise, and inform students the decision had been reversed.

“The school apologises for the confusion and any distress caused by the notice yesterday,” Professor Hosking wrote.

Professor Hosking said it had not been the school’s intention to administer a group punishment for the alleged plagiarism.

He explained that the spread of marks was unusually skewed and so, “as is procedure”, a standard adjustment was applied.

Separately, he said, there was evidence of widespread academic misconduct.

“Nonetheless, in order to alleviate any possible suspicion of the connection between routine mark adjustments and the detection of widespread academic misconduct, we are reinstating the original marks for this assessment for all students,” he wrote.

The affected students have complained about the decision on social media.(ABC News)

Computer Science Students Association president Felix Friedlander said he appreciated the issue could be resolved quickly.

“This incident has highlighted how in the face of rampant academic misconduct, even routine measures like scaling can become a punishment on honest students,” Mr Friedlander said.

“For now, though, this seems like a positive outcome for the students in that course.”

Mr Friedlander said it was critical the allegations of cheating now be thoroughly — and fairly — investigated.



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Dow Jones Futures: Coronavirus Vaccine Era Begins For Market Rally; Tesla Has ‘High Class Problem’; AMD, Shopify Near Buy Points


Dow Jones futures will begin trading Sunday evening, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures. The Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) coronavirus vaccine distribution in getting underway after the FDA granted emergency approval Friday night. Advanced Micro Devices, Shopify and Tesla (TSLA) also are in focus.




X



Last week the stock market rally got a small dose of reality. The Nasdaq tumbled Wednesday, led by growth names. But they rebounded Thursday. For the week, the major indexes ended with only modest losses. Most leading stocks held up well.

AMD stock, Shopify (SHOP), PayPal (PYPL), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) and 10X Genomics (TXG) are all forming handles of various sorts. Shopify stock, 10X Genomics and Intuitive Surgical stock have formed traditional handles. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and PayPal stock have formed “high handles” right at the top of buy zones.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in the now-common end-of-quarter “leaked” email to staff that the electric car maker has a “high-class problem” of too much demand.

Finally, AstraZeneca (AZN) agreed to buy Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) for $39 billion in cash and stock, adding a rare-disease specialist to the drug giant’s portfolio. The deal values ALXN stock at $175 a share, a 45% premium to Friday’s close.

Tesla stock, AMD and PayPal are on IBD Leaderboard, while 10X Genomics is on the Leaderboard watch list. PayPal stock is on IBD Long-Term Leaders. AMD stock and PayPal are on the IBD 50 list.

Now can the stock market rally hold above some key short-term levels?


Join IBD experts as they analyze actionable stocks in the stock market rally on IBD Live.


Coronavirus Vaccines

Late Friday, the FDA granted emergency use approval for the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. That followed an advisory panel backed the Pfizer vaccine Thursday evening.

The first vaccine shipments will leave Pfizer within 24 hours, Gen. Gus Perna said Saturday morning at an Operation Warp Speed briefing. They will arrive at destinations on Monday-Wednesday for vaccinations.

The CDC has recommended giving priority to health-care workers and nursing homes, but states can distribute the coronavirus vaccine as they see fit.

The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine distribution and storage is complicated by the fact that the doses must be kept an extremely cold temperatures. Pfizer plans to ship 50 million vaccine doses this year, enough to inoculate 25 million people with two doses each, three weeks apart. Pfizer and BioNTech expect to produce more than one billion doses in 2021.

Meanwhile, an FDA panel will review the Moderna coronavirus vaccine on Dec. 17. Like the Pfizer/BioNTech treatment, the Moderna vaccine uses messenger RNA (MRNA) technology and is roughly 95% effective. On the upside, the Moderna vaccine doesn’t have to be kept so cold.

Late Friday, Moderna said the U.S. agreed to buy another 100 million vaccine doses, enough for 50 million people. That pushed Moderna stock up 3% late Friday.

Moderna stock climbed 2.9% last week, not including the late Friday bump. BioNTech stock advanced 6.1%. Pfizer stock was up 1.9%.


Why This IBD Tool Simplifies The Search For Top Stocks


Coronavirus News

The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, and presumably the Moderna vaccine, come at a critical time.

Coronavirus cases worldwide reached 71.73 million. Covid-19 deaths topped 1.60 million.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have hit 16.33 million, with deaths above 303,000. New coronavirus cases topped a record 246,000 on Friday, with deaths once again more than 3,000.

Dow Jones Futures Today

Dow Jones futures will open for trading on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures.

Remember that overnight action in Dow futures and elsewhere doesn’t necessarily translate into actual trading in the next regular stock market session.

Stock Market Rally Last Week

The stock market rally closed the week with slim losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.6% in last week’s stock market trading. The S&P 500 index lost almost 1%. The Nasdaq composite sank 0.7%.

Growth stocks led declines on Wednesday and Thursday morning, but overall did OK.

Among the best ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) was flat last week. The Innovator IBD Breakout Opportunities ETF (BOUT) leapt 4.6%. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) advanced 0.5%.

The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) sank 3.1% as a steady AMD was overwhelmed by big losses in Nvidia (NVDA), Intel (INTC) and Apple (AAPL) chipmakers Qualcomm (QCOM) and Qorvo (QRVO).


See 8 Of The Fastest-Growing Stocks For 2021 Expecting Up To 144% Growth


Tesla Demand Strong, Musk Says

Tesla demand is strong in the fourth quarter, but the company must boost production to take advantage, Elon Musk said in an email to employees.

“We are fortunate to have a high-class problem of demand being quite a bit higher than production this quarter,” Musk said in the email, obtained by pro-Tesla site Electrek. Citing customers and investors, Musk added we need to increase production for the remainder of this quarter as much as possible.”

Musk has set a Tesla delivery goal of 500,000 vehicles in 2020. That will require 181,000 deliveries in Q4, more than 40,000 above Q3’s record level. A huge jump in China sales last month makes that more likely.

Tesla stock was up and down last week, like many growth stocks. But ultimately shares rose 1.8% to 609.99, even with a $5 billion Tesla stock sale. Tesla stock has surged nearly 50% since the announcement that it will join the S&P 500 index before the open on Dec. 21. That will require massive buying by S&P 500 tracking funds.

PayPal Stock

PayPal stock broke past a 215.93 buy point on Dec. 1, but then consolidated just above or below that level for the next few days. Shares fell 1.7% last week to 214.06, back below the 215.93 buy point, but it found support at its 21-day line and came off lows somewhat. The digital payments leader could easily back above the 215.93, but the mini-consolidation or high handle might offer a better resistance point around 219-220.

Intuitive Surgical Stock

Intuitive Surgical, maker of the da Vinci robotic-surgical system, could be a winner from the coronavirus vaccine. During the pandemic, many surgeries have been put on hold with hospitals dealing with coronavirus patients. By late spring or summer 2021, the pandemic likely will be receding, allowing a return of normal hospital operations a revival in Intuitive Surgical’s business.

Intuitive Surgical stock last week fell 2.6% to 760. It now has a handle in its short consolidation right next to a cup-with-handle base. The new entry for ISRG stock is 782.

Shopify Stock

Shopify stock had been consolidating in a handle-like way in early December, but it suffered from being upward-wedging. Then came Wednesday’s 5.8% drop, finally providing a shakeout for weak holders. On Thursday, SHOP stock rebounded from its 50-day line. For the week, Shopify stock rose 0.4% to 1,057.87.

The now-proper handle has a 1,112.51 buy point. There also is a 1,130 resistance point for SHOP stock.

The relative strength line for Shopify stock has drifted lower since early July, signaling underperformance vs. the S&P 500 index. A strong breakout could quickly revive Shopify stock’s leadership, but it is a question mark today.

10X Genomics Stock

10X Genomics stock fell back to its 50-day line on Wednesday, but rebounded to finish with slim declines for a second straight week. TXG stock dipped 0.7% to 147.95, still within the handle in the cup base. The buy point is 157.58. The handle started with a strong, high-volume gains.

AMD Stock

AMD stock broke out past an 88.92 double-bottom buy point on Nov. 30, running up to 96.37 a few days later. The chipmaker then began building a high handle right next to the old high. Last week, AMD stock fell back, but found support just above the buy point and its 21-day line. By Friday’s close, AMD stock finished down 2.5% at 91.65.

That’s easily in buy range, but investors might use 96.47 as buy point from the high handle, with an early entry just below 95.

Stock Market Rally Analysis

It would be nice if the stock market went up every day, but obviously that can’t happen. The Nasdaq closed 4.6% above its 10-week moving average after the prior week’s 6.5%. Some highfliers pulled back to their 10-day or 21-day lines. Perhaps bullish sentiment — the highest since early 2018 — can come down a peg.

But last week’s turbulence was more like a jump scare in a PG-13 move rather than a hard-R slasher film. Investors were startled, but not scarred.

In the short run, it would be a good sign for the stock market rally if the major indexes, especially the Nasdaq, can stay above or at least close above their 21-day exponential moving averages. The 21-day line is the green line in the chart provided.

During the April-September stock market rally, the Nasdaq had several instances of one- or two-day pullbacks to around the 21-day line, but quickly rebound. If the Nasdaq does close below the 21-day line, it’s not the end of the world. But it would suggest some weakness, with risks that the selling could go deeper.

Follow The Rules

Check out your current holdings. Did some of your stocks suffer serious damage, or get close to doing so?  Consider taking full or partial profits. Make a game plan. What will you do if Stock X does this?

Follow those rules. They won’t always work. Sometimes a stock will break key support, trigger a sell, and then race higher. But if you have sound rules and follow them, you’re going to be much better off over time.

Coronavirus Vaccine Era For Stock Market Rally

Make sure you have diversity in your portfolio and watchlists.

One aspect about the five stocks highlighted here, from AMD to Shopify, is that they hail from different sectors. They also range from mild coronavirus plays, such as Shopify, to vaccine plays like ISRG stock.

The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine approval signals the beginning of a new era for the stock market rally.

With coronavirus cases and deaths at record levels, the market rally and leading stocks could be in flux for weeks or months. Stay alert and flexible and be decisive.

Read The Big Picture every day to stay in sync with the market direction and leading stocks and sectors.

Please follow Ed Carson on Twitter at @IBD_ECarson for stock market updates and more.

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Pandemic Closures Devastate Restaurant Industry’s Middle Class


Around the same time, the industry was staggering back to life. In Chicago, the Michelin-starred Elske, known for its moderately priced tasting menu, began opening three days a week to offer takeout. “Our first meal was Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and cucumber salad,” said David Posey, the chef who co-owns Elske with his wife. “We thought we’d go through that in a week. It was enough for one day.”

In Nashville, Tony Galzin, the co-owner and chef at Nicky’s, revved up his coal-fired oven and sold housemade pizzas and fresh pasta to go. In Washington, Cork Wine Bar, an early fixture in the city’s booming 14th Street corridor, did a brisk business in Seder boxes.

Later, as dining restrictions eased and government aid flowed, many restaurants found they could come close to breaking even while paying workers fairly. Instead of resuming traditional table-side service, Mr. Galzin asked customers to order from a counter. Several former waiters took on other jobs, and Mr. Galzin distributed tips evenly to all staff members, who earned between $16 and $20 per hour, more than many had pre-pandemic.

Elske limited its menu and served customers on a patio as well as inside near the windows. Alison Miller, the restaurant’s former assistant general manager who became a server this summer, said she took home at least $1,000 most weeks.

Still, the restaurants could rehire only a small fraction of their workers. Nicky’s eventually brought back just over half of the 34 people it once employed; Elske brought back about half of its 16. Diane Gross, the co-owner of Cork, had to lay off nearly two-thirds of her pre-pandemic team of 30.

Over all, full-service restaurants accounted for more than three times as many job losses as limited-service restaurants like fast food, according to the Labor Department.

Data compiled by ZipRecruiter show that job postings at high-end restaurants like Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris dropped nearly 45 percent from March to May, versus only about 20 percent for the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King.



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