Judge accuses Immigration Minister Alan Tudge of criminal conduct in immigration case



A Federal Court judge has labelled a Federal Cabinet Minister’s behaviour as “criminal” after he left a Hazara Afghan man languishing in an immigration detention centre despite a tribunal ordering he be granted a visa.

The scathing critique of Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge is the latest in a number of judgments on the issue from Justice Geoffrey Flick, who has also taken aim at Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s handling of visa matters in recent months.

Justice Flick said Mr Tudge had “intentionally and without lawful authority been responsible for depriving a person of his liberty”, and his “conduct exposes him to both civil and potentially criminal sanctions, not limited to a proceeding for contempt”.

The case relates to a man known as PDWL, who arrived in Australian in 2012. He applied for a temporary protection visa four years later, fearful for his safety should he be returned to Afghanistan.

The man had worked with the Afghan National Army and government, and he held serious concerns he could be targeted by the Taliban.

In December 2019, an official from the Home Affairs Department rejected the visa application on the basis he had pleaded guilty and been convicted of assault over a drunken fight with a friend over a mobile phone.

This was seen as a breach of the “character test”, which is used to measure the risk someone might present to the Australian community.

On 11 March 2020, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) overturned that decision and ordered the man be granted a visa — and that the process should be carried out quickly, given he was “understandably anxious to be reunited with his wife and children”.

The Minister immediately appealed the AAT judgment in the Federal Court, but PDWL remained in the Yongah Hill Detention Centre in Western Australia for another five days.

He was released after a judgment in the Federal Court on March 17, after Justice Michael Wigney said he had remained in detention “because the Minister did not like the Tribunal’s decision”.

In his judgment today, Justice Flick found the AAT had made an error of law in granting PDWL the visa, but he argued the Minister’s subsequent poor treatment of the man meant the visa should be granted.

“The Minister has acted unlawfully.

“In the absence of explanation, the Minister has engaged in conduct which can only be described as criminal.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Tudge told the ABC he “strongly rejects any suggestion of improper conduct”.

“The Minister is considering the reasons for the court’s decision and options for an appeal,” she said.

“Therefore, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Labor joined the criticism of Mr Tudge, demanding he take responsibility for his actions.

“This is this second time Alan Tudge is facing contempt of court, how many times will he be given a chance?” Opposition home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said.

“Scott Morrison needs to explain why he believes the law doesn’t apply to him or his ministers and why it seems there is one rule for his ministers and another rule for normal Australians.”



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Army captain guilty of prejudicial conduct but cleared of indecency charges after court martial



An Australian army captain has been found guilty of prejudicial conduct but a court martial in Canberra has cleared him of charges he committed acts of indecency.

At the time of the allegations in 2018, Captain William Howieson, 29, was the Australian Defence Force liaison officer in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, where he was working with PNG defence force members during the APEC meeting.

The accusations arose after a PNG medical officer at a first-aid station complained that he had exposed himself to her.

She claimed Captain Howieson had asked to be examined alone, telling her he had a lump in his groin and asking her to feel it.

She told the court martial there was no lump.

She said he then pulled his pants down a second time.

The court martial has found Captain Howieson not guilty of those accusations.

But he has been found guilty over an incident later that day when he returned to the clinic, and presented the woman with an unsigned doctor’s note asking that she help him collect semen in a bottle.

Prosecutors told the court the offence was at the high end of the offending spectrum.

The court heard it had been a breach of trust and that Captain Howieson has used his position to gain entry to the aid station.

Prosecutors also noted it was clear the act had been premeditated.

Captain may for jailed for up to three months

But Captain Howieson’s lawyers told the court his good character should be taken into account.

The court heard his suspension over 18 months had genuinely hurt him.

And the panel was urged to take into account his activities outside work as a sports coach.

Instructing the panel, Chief Judge Advocate Brigadier Michael Cowan outlined the need for deterrence.

“There has been breach of trust in this case,” the military judge said.

“It’s for you to decide the quality of breach of trust.”

He said the panel might find that there was premeditation as suggested by the prosecution and that there was a brazen element to it.

The Chief Judge Advocate noted the role Captain Howieson played controlling a large amount of money with a great deal of discretion, and enjoying the confidence of the position.

The maximum punishment for the prejudicial conduct offence is three months’ jail.

However, alternative penalties include a fine and demotion.

The court martial panel is expected to sentence Captain Howieson later this week.



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NT election: Mulka vote count error among 21 improper conduct allegations made to ICAC


The Northern Territory’s anti-corruption watchdog says it is responding to a vote counting error that saw some results in one of the Northern Territory election’s most hotly contested seats initially switched.

The issue is among 21 reports of alleged improper conduct made to the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) in relation to the election.

“These reports range from matters that are trivial, to matters that are serious,” ICAC Commissioner Ken Fleming said in a statement released late on Friday.

The errors, which were brought to light by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission days after the August 22 poll, misattributed two sets of results for the two candidates in the North East Arnhem seat of Mulka.

A count of a mobile booth wrongly gave 956 votes to independent candidate Yingiya Mark Guyula and 424 votes to his challenger, the ALP’s Lynne Walker.

The mistake was repeated in the early voting centre count, which gave 502 votes to Mr Guyula and 928 to Ms Walker.

The bungle was discovered during a later re-check by the NTEC, which said the results were recorded against the wrong candidates’ names in Nhulunbuy then phoned through to the NTEC on election night.

It described the incident as “unfortunate” at the time and corrected the results.

The correction did not significantly affect the outcome in the seat, which Mr Guyula retained.

The ICAC statement did not specifically outline the allegations nor if it was intending to launch an investigation.

Instead, it said the body had an obligation to investigate “the most serious, systemic and sensitive improper conduct” and could co-ordinate a response involving multiple relevant bodies, including the Court of Disputed Returns.

The NTEC says the error occurred when results were incorrectly recorded on election night.(ABC News: Kate Carter)

It vowed to prioritise serious matters that could impact the outcome in any division.

The seat of Mulka, which takes in the mining town of Nhulunbuy alongside nearby communities and outstations, was the most marginal electorate heading into the 2020 vote.

Mr Guyula unseated Ms Walker by just eight votes after preferences in what was one of the shock outcomes of the 2016 vote.

He was victorious with a margin of about 400 votes when the two candidates faced off again four years later.

That makes him one of two independents in the new legislative assembly.

Fourteen ALP members, eight from the CLP and one from Territory Alliance round out the incoming NT Parliament, which was finalised after counting closed yesterday.



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Jacob Blake pleads not guilty to sexual assault, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct


In this photo from Kenosha County Court video, Jacob Blake answers questions during a hearing Friday, Sept. 4. 2020 in Kenosha, Wis. (Kenosha County Court via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:20 PM PT – Friday, September 4, 2020

The Wisconsin man shot during an altercation with police last month has pleaded not guilty to crimes he allegedly committed prior to the shooting. On Friday, Jacob Blake made his first court appearance since being wounded.

The 29-year-old has been accused of sexual assault, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

Those charges, which were brought on by his ex-girlfriend and mother to three of his children, are unrelated to the shooting incident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

In this photo from Kenosha County Court video, Jacob Blake, bottom, right, answers questions during a hearing Friday, Sept. 4. 2020 in Kenosha, Wis. (Kenosha County Court via AP)

“Your Honor, the state recognizes these are serious charges, but also that the defendant has serious injuries and he’s recovering at the hospital. …I would ask for additional conditions of no violent contact with the person referenced in the complaint with the initials L and B or her children. Also, no contact with her residence. I would ask for additional conditions that the defendant not possess any weapons and that he not leave the state of Wisconsin for any purpose other than for medical treatment.” – Zeke Wiedenfeld, prosecutor

If convicted of sexual assault alone, Blake could face up to 10 years in prison and/or up to a $25,000 fine. His next court appearance is scheduled for October and his trial is slated for November.

MORE NEWS: Protesters March By Kenosha Courthouse In Support Of Jacob Blake





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Food fight in Aisle 3: Grocers, suppliers clash over need for code of conduct in Canada


Article content continued

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which oversees the code, found that by curtailing fees and penalties, the code drove supermarkets to work with suppliers to find ways to reduce waste and better manage their systems internally.

“It turned the focus to competing on the basis of their operations, rather than relying on squeezing suppliers to compete,” said Mick Keogh, deputy chair at the ACCC. “The code has basically said to them … if you want to compete, you better compete by getting your systems in order.”

FCPC and other industry advocates in Canada have been calling for a similar code here for several years, but have stepped things up after COVID-19 underscored the importance of a strong food supply chain. FCPC CEO Graydon said the government appears to be taking the request seriously.

“They’re certainly doing their homework,” he said, adding that he and two of his major manufacturing members met with Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau this week. “COVID had a lot to do with changing the opinions.”

But it appears that despite heightened interest from the federal government in recent weeks, a Canadian version isn’t close at hand.

On Tuesday, Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains’ office criticized the fees charged to suppliers, but then said the federal government isn’t planning on moving forward with a code.

“It is disappointing to see grocers impose these costly fees,” John Power, the minister’s spokesperson, said in an email. “However, we recognize that terms of sale are generally the exclusive domain between suppliers and buyers, and that these fall under areas of provincial jurisdiction.”



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Grocers fight back against calls for a government enforced business code of conduct


Article content continued

“We are listening and will continue to work with the industry on a level playing field for all businesses,” Ng’s spokesperson Eleanore Catenaro said in an email.

Food and Consumer Products Canada (FCPC), which represents suppliers, has for several years been the most vocal critic of supplier fees. It has also chastised Walmart’s proposed new fees for having “diabolical timing,” since manufacturers are still struggling with reduced capacity due to safety protocols related to the pandemic.

Walmart Canada says it will charge its vendors more fees as a way of recouping some of the $3.5 billion it plans to spend on upgrading its infrastructure. Photo by Kevin King/Winnipeg Sun/Postmedia Network files

FCPC, which has long advocated for a grocery code of conduct, was one of the signatories of Wednesday’s letter, along with the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

“Some of the companies behind this push are amongst the world’s largest,” said Littler at RCC. “Go on the FCPC site and look at their membership. It’s Coca-Cola, it’s Nestlé, it’s Kraft-Heinz, it’s Johnson & Johnson.”

Littler also said supermarkets have operated on thinner margins than growers and food processors, citing 2018 Statistics Canada data that showed margins of 4.4 per cent for wholesale food sellers and 1.6 per cent for supermarkets.

“It’s not surprising that the food processors would like higher profits,” he said, “but it’s not something that we view the government should put its thumb on the scale on behalf of one party in this commercial negotiation.”

FCPC responded on Friday, stressing the code of conduct it is proposing is based on a model used in the United Kingdom, which would specifically address “unfair punitive behaviour” such as significant fines for minor delivery shortfalls, not “costing-related” negotiations between suppliers and grocers.

The move is “aimed at protecting our domestic food production and Canadian jobs,” FCPC spokesperson Anthony Fuchs said in an email. “If left unchecked, we will be faced with an environment in which we have shiny new retail stores but crippled manufacturing in Canada.”

Financial Post



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“Unsatisfactory conduct”: Workplace insurer slammed for compliance failures



Return To Work SA has been forced to review its dispute processes after being hit with a scathing judgement in the state Employment Tribunal, which criticised its “unsatisfactory conduct” and argued a “failure to comply” with rulings would see insurance premiums increase for SA businesses.

The finding was handed down in June after Return to Work – the state’s workplace injury insurance scheme, previously known as WorkCover – launched an appeal to an earlier ruling that a claimant, Renee Leighton, should be considered a seriously injured worker on an interim basis under the scheme.

But a full bench comprising Tribunal president Justice Steven Dolphin and deputies Mark Calligeros and Anthony Rossi issued a scathing rebuke, after the corporation’s counsel advised that Return To Work would not be proceeding with the Appeal – on the morning of the hearing.

Court transcripts detail that the counsel declared “he had received instructions a week earlier that the Corporation would not be proceeding with the Appeal, but final detail of the instructions with respect to proposed orders was not received until the morning of the hearing of the Appeal”.

That was despite the Full Bench earlier notifying Return To Work that it was “most concerned with the non-compliance with” the tribunal’s previous orders, and receiving “no response… to that expressed concern”.

Refusing to give leave for the appeal to be abandoned, the Tribunal noted that “the conduct of the Corporation – from the time of the institution of this Appeal, and consistently thereafter – has been unsatisfactory”.

“This was an Appeal that had no real prospect of success,” it said.

“The disregard for the orders made by the [earlier Tribunal] and [the corporation’s] failure to promptly report instructions to not proceed with the appeal have resulted, in a busy jurisdiction, in a morning set aside for hearing an appeal and the preparation time, being effectively costs thrown away.

“A failure to comply with orders made by the Tribunal increases costs to the parties, the costs paid by employers by way of premiums in the scheme, the cost to the community more generally associated with those impacts and unnecessary costs thrown away through the wasted resources of the Tribunal.”

It went on to note that the corporation’s actions had further “unnecessarily delayed the conduct of other matters, including matters where the parties have dutifully complied with orders made”.

While the Tribunal noted that an “occasional lapse in compliance” could be excused, “there can be no justification for the persistent failure to comply in this matter with the associated failure to communicate with the Tribunal”.

“There is a professional duty to comply with orders of the Tribunal and to keep the Tribunal properly informed of important developments in the proceeding,” it determined.

“In this case the deficiencies are also associated with the Corporation, which is a regular party to proceedings in this jurisdiction – and that is an additional concern.”

It noted that “the deficiencies in this matter are not isolated”.

“Indeed, they may have become too commonplace in this jurisdiction,” the Tribunal argued.

“Perhaps the Tribunal has been too tolerant in the past in relation to the failure to comply with its orders in a timely manner.

“Parties should not expect such an approach to be ongoing.”

It dismissed the Appeal, ruling Leighton was entitled to costs.

In a statement to InDaily, Treasurer Rob Lucas – who has ministerial oversight over Return To Work SA –  acknowledged “the failings identified by the Tribunal in this particular case”.

However, he insisted the issues identified were not endemic.

“I am advised that a thorough review of Return To Work SA’s disputes was conducted with its claims agents and legal providers and it indicated that this matter was an aberration and by no means representative of the way in which Return To Work SA conducts its litigation in the Tribunal,” Lucas said.

“In addition, Return To Work SA is continuing to work with its claims agents and legal providers to review its processes to ensure all disputes and appeals must be managed professionally, in a timely manner and in accordance with the SA Employment Tribunal rules, practice directions and orders.”

He said if there was “an unavoidable reason why an order cannot be complied with, the SAET must be advised in advance of the due date and an extension of time sought”.

Lucas said the matter in question had now been settled with the claimant.

“Return To Work SA agrees that the conduct of this particular matter falls short of the expectations of a model litigant in the Return to Work scheme,” he said.

“We take these obligations seriously and, as a statutory corporation funded by the employers of South Australia, Return To Work SA is well aware that its litigation must be conducted efficiently and effectively, avoiding unnecessary delay and keeping litigation costs to a minimum. 

“Making sure employers’ costs are contained within reasonable limits so the impact of work injuries on South Australian businesses is minimised is a legislative imperative for Return To Work SA… our efforts in this regard are reflected in SA’s average premium rate, which is the lowest it has ever been in the history of the WorkCover and Return to Work schemes.”

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Commission president asks Phil Hogan to clarify his conduct in golfgate scandal – POLITICO


Phil Hogan and Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels in January | Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Ursula von der Leyen ‘is in the process of gathering facts.’

By

Updated

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen asked Phil Hogan to give her additional information about his conduct in Ireland amid a scandal over breaking coronavirus restrictions, a spokesperson said Monday.

“The president has requested further clarifications because details are important and she wishes to have them,” Commission Spokesperson Dana Spinant told journalists.

“She is in the process of gathering facts,” the spokesperson said, adding that Hogan gave von der Leyen an initial account of his behavior on Sunday night — including his attendance at a rule-breaking golf society dinner last week.

Irish media reported late on Sunday that Hogan may have breached a local lockdown by traveling into Kildare county on August 17, when he was also stopped by police for using his cell phone while driving.

“[Von der Leyen] does expect commissioners to comply with the same rules as citizens do,” Spinant added.

Earlier on Monday, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin told the RTÉ broadcaster “people are furious and they’re angry at what has happened.” According to RTÉ, Martin insisted that Hogan should still reassure people the lockdown was not broken in Kildare, but did not call for the commissioner to go.

“In terms of his role as a European commissioner, I think he’s been a good commissioner. I can’t say I don’t have confidence in him as a European commissioner, particularly in terms of the trade talks,” Martin said.

The prime minister and his deputy Leo Varadkar on Saturday called for Hogan to “consider his position” over the affair although Varadkar later appeared to soften his stance on Hogan’s future, stating the commissioner’s apology on Sunday “definitely helps.”





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U.S. will conduct an unofficial dry run of a COVID-19 vaccine campaign this fall


This fall, the U.S. will need to vaccinate huge numbers of Americans in the middle of a public-health crisis. It will also be a valuable dry run should a coronavirus shot arrive months later.

The annual U.S. flu vaccine campaign has been cast into disarray by COVID-19, with people staying away from pharmacies, schools, offices, hospitals and other places where they typically get their shots. But with fears of a flu surge colliding with the coronavirus pandemic, health authorities are looking at how one vaccine effort can inform the other. 

In Denver, public-health officials are trying to increase the number of adults who get the flu vaccine this year to 65% from 45%. To do it, they’re setting up “strike teams” that can go from school to school giving vaccines, vans that can stop at construction sites and inoculate workers, and doing outreach to hard-to-reach communities.

Subscribe to The Capsule, a daily brief monitoring advances in health care and biopharma, delivered free to your inbox.

“This whole model that we’re building can then be moved into COVID,” said Judith Shlay a physician and associate director at Denver Public Health.

In Baltimore, the city has several vans it sends out to conduct COVID-19 testing, targeting high-risk residents. It will likely use those vehicles for flu vaccines and then COVID-19, City Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa said in an interview.

“Our flu vaccine distribution will inform a Covid vaccine distribution,” Dzirasa said.

The federal government has helped lead development of a vaccine, issuing more than $4 billion in contracts to drugmakers. The money is meant to speed production and cut financial risk for the most promising of the dozens of inoculations in development. President Donald Trump has said a shot could be ready by November, though other experts inside his government predict it will be well into 2021 before most Americans have access to one.

So far, federal health authorities have offered little detail about their plans for administering vaccines. The U.S. has said that it will likely rely on the private sector to distribute the shots, and last week extended a contract to health-care supplier McKesson Corp potentially worth more than $300 million. But the government has said almost nothing about who will get the shots first, where they’ll be given, and how to make sure they get to hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities.

At least 170,000 people in the U.S. have died of the virus, many of them as a new surge of cases has expanded outside the Northeast to other parts of the country. While new cases have fallen from last month’s daily high of almost 80,000, new outbreaks are being reported in schools and colleges as students return, forcing some to shut days or weeks after opening. 

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans a call with health-care providers to discuss flu vaccination, along with guidance for delivering vaccines during the pandemic and operating “large vaccination clinics held in satellite, temporary, or off-site locations.”

In the meantime, local authorities are still awaiting clarity. “We have not heard anything yet,” Baltimore’s Dzirasa said. 

The U.S. has been consulting with experts and medical ethicists on COVID-19 vaccine allocation plans. The government plans to work with the existing medical-distribution network to get shots to the public, said a senior Trump administration official, with possible help from the Defense Department.

Never Done Before

There is no single national U.S. flu vaccination campaign, per se. American and global health authorities pick the flu strains to target, drugmakers manufacture the shots, and they’re given by workplaces, schools, drugstores, local public-health departments, physicians and hospitals.

The federal government typically plays a role in financing and promoting the vaccines, but not in physically distributing them. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has purchased 9 million doses of the adult flu vaccine, compared with 500,000 in a normal year.

The scale of the vaccination campaign needed for COVID-19 will be a daunting logistical challenge, said Howard Markel, a physician and historian of medicine at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Past efforts to vaccinate against pandemic threats have fallen short.

“We’ve never vaccinated an entire American population,” he said in an interview.

In 1976, after an outbreak of swine flu at Fort Dix in New Jersey, the Gerald Ford administration planned a mass vaccination program to prevent a pandemic. “They were held in large gymnasiums and public meeting places,” said Markel, who recalled getting the shot when he was 16. “It was really very much an assembly line.”

The vaccination drive was dismantled after several cases of Guillen-Barre syndrome were identified in people who got the shots. A U.S. review of the campaign in 2003 confirmed the increase in cases of the disease, which can cause a form of muscle weakness or temporary paralysis, though the exact biological link between the vaccine and the condition wasn’t established.  

In 2009, the H1N1 flu pandemic prompted another effort to quickly produce vaccines. Ultimately, only about 20% of the population got the shot, Markel said.

“It is an enormous task, no question about it,” Markel said.

Public-health officials will also have to overcome reluctance by some Americans to get a shot. An Aug. 7 Gallup poll found that one-third of people would not get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s ready, even if it was free. And some Americans have rejected basic public health measures like wearing masks or social distancing, raising more questions about how willing they are to participate in a vaccine campaign.

Some vaccine infrastructure already exists. A surge in demand for COVID-19 tests had drugstore chains, states and cities set up sites where people could line up or drive through. And the H1N1 flu pandemic also provided a roadmap for mass vaccination, said CVS Health Corp. Chief Executive Officer Larry Merlo.

“That was really the spark plug,” Merlo said in an interview this month. The company is in planning sessions with officials for an eventual coronavirus vaccine, Merlo said.

A spokesperson for Walgreens, the next-largest U.S. pharmacy chain behind CVS, said both existing testing and immunization infrastructure will support the future delivery of Covid vaccines.

Sanofi, the French drugmaker that’s working with GlaxoSmithKline Plc on a coronavirus vaccine, said it’s been in touch with CVS and other drugstores about vaccination plans.

“I would suspect that some of the blueprint that we’ve developed for flu immunization will also hopefully be a blueprint for COVID-19 vaccination,” said Elaine O’Hara, Sanofi’s head of vaccines for North America.

Denver Plan

At Denver’s public health department, Shlay said she began thinking about how to deliver COVID-19 vaccines back in June.  

She knew childhood immunizations had dropped sharply since March, when COVID shut things down, and she thought her agency could build a model to get a COVID-19 vaccine to people who need it.

Under a $1 million grant from the CARES Act, the federal stimulus law to respond to the pandemic, her team has begun working on alternative flu vaccination strategies. The strike teams they are developing will be targeted at 84 schools where vaccination rates have slipped. And the agency is working with leaders from the Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American communities to bring flu-shot sites into neighborhoods.

Particular outreach will focus on uninsured and unemployed adults — some of the same people are more likely to be hospitalized if they get sick — along with essential workers and people who are homeless.

“We are going to try to reach that group that people don’t always think about,” Shlay said.

There will be challenges making the switch to COVID-19. Early vaccines are expected to require two shots weeks apart, compared with a single flu dose. Health officials will have to keep careful registries of who has received which shots when, and make sure to reach people when their second doses are due. They’ll also have to handle the logistics of keeping vaccines refrigerated at the proper temperature.

“A two-dose COVID vaccine will be much more complicated,” Shlay said. That’s part of the reason Denver health officials are planning now. “COVID has made us do things quicker than we’ve ever done before, and so we figure it out and we do it.”

More coronavirus coverage from Fortune:



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Man charged with murdering Canberra Comanchero leader faces court as police conduct search for further evidence


A man accused of killing a Canberra bikie boss in front of hundreds of people at a popular nightspot last month has faced court charged with his murder.

Frederick Tuifua, 26, is accused of stabbing Canberra Comanchero commander Pitsoni Ulavalu in the neck during a brawl at Kokomo’s bar in the early hours of July 19.

The 48-year-old stumbled outside before he collapsed and died on the road. The brawl was captured on CCTV and recorded on mobile phones.

Mr Tuifua appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court via video link this morning facing a murder charge.

He did not apply for bail or enter a plea.

Osaiasi Kupu, 23, and Matthew Kupu, 22, also faced the Magistrates Court over their alleged role in the brawl inside the bar.

Both men have been charged with affray and neither applied for bail.

The trio were arrested on Tuesday night after they escorted a fourth man, who had multiple gunshot wounds, to the emergency department.

All three men are due to face court again later this month.

Police search underway in Braddon and Turner

Pitasoni Ulavalu wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket.
Pitasoni Ulavalu was the Comanchero Canberra commander.(Supplied: Facebook)

As the trio faced court, police and State Emergency Services workers were conducting a large-scale search in Haig Park.

In a statement, ACT Policing said searches in the suburbs of Braddon and Turner would continue “over the next few days”, in a bid to find additional evidence in relation to Mr Ulavalu’s murder.

“The investigation into the murder of Pitasoni Ulavalu remains ongoing and … detectives anticipate making further arrests,” an ACT Policing spokeswoman said.

ACT police’s criminal investigations boss Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said yesterday that the three men facing court had links to the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang.

“We’ve been looking at a group of men for some time and the opportunity at the hospital presented itself and he was arrested,” he said.

Chief Police Officer Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan said police were “also investigating” the incident that had led to the fourth man sustaining gunshot wounds.

“We don’t know much about the actual shooting,” Deputy Commissioner Gaughan said on Wednesday.

“He was brought in by three male persons … wanted for the affray at Kokomo’s a couple of weeks ago.”



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