Delhi High Court to hear only urgent matters from Monday


Considering the alarming rise of Covid cases in the national capital, the Delhi High Court, starting tomorrow, will take up for hearing only the “extremely urgent cases” filed this year.

Routine or non-urgent matters pending before the court and the cases filed between March 22 to December 31 in 2020 will not be taken up for hearing.

“In case of any extreme urgency, the request in the pending matters may be made on the already notified designated link,” Delhi High Court Registrar General Manoj Jain said in an order.

The order comes close on the heels of Chief Justice D N Patel testing positive for Covid-19. At least three other high court judges also tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week.

Chief Justice Patel has not been holding the court since April 12 “due to the ill health of Hon’ble Mr Justice Jasmeet Singh”. Similarly, two other judges also have not been hearing cases since earlier this week after testing positive for coronavirus.

The high court had resumed physical functioning from March 15, but reverted to virtual mode, like for most of the previous year, from April 9 . The high court will hear the cases through virtual mode at least till April 23, as per an order passed on April 8.

The medical team of Delhi government’s Health Department will conduct Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Tests at the high court premises at least twice every week till May 31. However, testing is voluntary. The court, with assistance from the health department, has also held RT-PCR camps for staff in previous months.

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Adelaide wastewater COVID-19 traces remain high but decreasing, SA Health authorities say



Testing results have shown a decrease in the levels of COVID-19 traces in Adelaide’s wastewater.

SA Health authorities first reported on Sunday they had detected coronavirus in sewage from the north-eastern portion of Adelaide’s CBD, where the majority of Adelaide Fringe festival events are held.

On Thursday, SA Health said while results from testing on Wednesday night were still high, there was a decrease in levels.

SA Health said the two most likely explanations were virus shedding in old cases along with the concentration of visitors in the Adelaide CBD or undetected cases within the community.

The northern parts of Adelaide’s CBD have been frequented by tens of thousands of people during the festival season.

For several days, authorities have been urging anyone who has had any coronavirus symptoms and has been in the CBD in the past week to get a COVID-19 test.

It comes as the state recorded three new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

One case was a woman in her thirties who recently returned from overseas and has been in a medi-hotel since her arrival.

The other two cases are a man in his twenties and a woman in her fifties who are both considered to have old infections.

SA Health said they had included the latter cases in South Australia’s numbers because the man and woman had not been diagnosed and counted overseas.

‘Very small’ chance positive results are from local case

Epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said the odds the positive results stemmed from a local case were very low.

“We’ve got a history now of no community transmission across Australia that extends beyond multiple incubation periods,” she said.

While the testing area does not include medi-hotels housing positive cases, it does include hotels where returned travellers carry out their quarantine period.

“Because we don’t test our returned travellers every day, it is possible they are picking up a family who is positive in hotel quarantine but hasn’t yet been detected through the internal testing process,” Ms Bennett said.

Ms Bennett said people who have had the infection can intermittently shed the virus for up to three months

“Holidays, festivals, movement of people, can shift the pattern and then you might start to detect some positives if you’ve got these ‘shedders’ moving through,” she said.

“We hope it’s that, but let’s get the testing numbers up so we detect anything else that might be going on very early and then it won’t be a problem even with the festivals underway.”

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Charlotte Heron is carving her own path at innovative surf high school CooeeGC


Fifteen-year-old Charlotte Heron begins her school day with an important part of the CooeeGC timetable — chasing barrels.

“We surf Monday and Tuesday morning from six to eight and sometimes we go out Thursday mornings for a free surf,” she said.

The Elanora High School program has given year 11 and 12 students a unique, community-based education since 2017.

Students attain a Queensland Certificate of Education by completing four core subjects, while pursuing flexible traineeships, certificates and trades on the Gold Coast. 

“I love it here — it’s better than normal school,” Charlotte said.

When Charlotte isn’t studying Maths, English and Sport and Recreation, she’s honing her craft as a surfboard shaper and working with trainers to gain her surf coach qualifications and a certificate three in business.

The 2021 cohort comprises only senior students. Charlotte said the smaller class size helped work out strategies to meet individual goals after school.

“I think it’s better because we can get more one-on-one help,” she said.

“He pushes you to your limit and he is very good at helping you to achieve your goals – that’s what he wants for all of us.”

CooeeGC teacher and founder Matt Barber has spent the past 13 years preparing senior students for their transition into the ‘real world’

The name means ‘come here’ in Dharug language and was chosen to reflect the notion of an echo, that students will get back the work they put in, Barber said.

The program focuses on place-based learning by immersing students in nature each morning through surfing and other outside activities, Barber said.

“There are lessons to be taught in the ocean — of course there’s risk and dangers — but it’s about respect for nature and that reciprocal agreement,” he said.

The approach aims to develop students’ soft skills by keeping a routine and being punctual.

“If they’re turning up at 6am for their surf coaching lessons to better themselves, there’s a good chance they can turn up to a job site at 6am as well,” he said.

“Accepting feedback from their coaches for something they are passionate about is also building the kind of people we want when they outgrow this setting and begin working.”

With only six hours in the school day, Barber accepts his influence is limited to the classroom, but said ‘small wins along the way’ motivate him to continue this work. 

“I can measure attendance — the person who was never turning up to school is now here every day.”

More than 40 per cent of Year 12 students face mental health challenges, which is why the program gives kids the tools to balance work and life, Barber said. 

High performance coach Nam Baldwin has given students lessons on effective breathing exercises to reduce stress in areas like surfing, exam preparation and relationships, Barber said.

“If we can form a pattern to eat, sleep, breathe properly and take time out, the kids can better understand themselves.

Barber said he hopes to build a graduate network that can provide work opportunities to future students.

“If we had a student who was doing an electrical apprenticeship, he may be able to then take on another student when they’re first year out or take on an apprentice once they’re a tradesman,” he said.

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Modi reviews oxygen crisis as cases touch new high: 21.7 lakh


Union minister Prakash Javadekar and Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa tested positive on Friday

New Delhi: As the daily fresh Covid-19 cases went over 2.17 lakhs and the death toll reached 1,185, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday chaired a comprehensive review meeting to ensure adequate medical grade oxygen supply in the country. The meeting took place a day afte. Union minister Prakash Javadekar and Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa were, meanwhile, among those who tested positive on Friday. Mr Yediyurappa has in fact tested positive for the second time in eight months and has been hospitalised.

In the wake of the nationwide surge in Covid-19 cases, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations on Friday deferred the ICSE Class 10 and ISC Class 12 examinations till further notice. This comes two days after similar action by the CBSE board.

 

During Friday’s meeting, the PM reviewed in detail the current oxygen supply situation and projected use in the coming 15 days across 12 high-burden states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The PM was informed that 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT have been allocated to these 12 states for meeting their projected demand as on April 20, April 25 and April 30 respectively. The PM suggested an increase in the oxygen production capacity of each plant. The use of surplus stocks of oxygen in steel plants for medical use was also discussed.

The PM urged officials to ensure seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout the country. The government has exempted all inter-state movement of oxygen tankers from registration of permits to enable easier movement. The PM was told that states and transporters had been asked to ensure tankers move around the clock, with drivers working in shifts to ensure a faster turnaround, and adequate capacity to meet the surge in demand. Cylinder filling plants will also be permitted to operate for 24 hours, with the necessary safeguards. The government is allowing industrial cylinders to be used for medical oxygen after due purging. Similarly, nitrogen and argon tankers will be automatically allowed to be converted to oxygen tankers to overcome the potential shortage of tankers.

The Centre has also decided to double the production of indigenously-made Covaxin by May-June and nearly 10 crore Covaxin doses will be produced per month by September.

 

The Union ministry of science and technology said the capacities of Bharat Biotech Ltd in Hyderabad as well as other public sector units are being upgraded and financial aid is being provided as a grant to the tune of around Rs 65 crores to Bharat Biotech’s new Bengaluru facility, which is being repurposed to increase the capacity of vaccine production. Besides, three PSUs are also being supported to hike the capacity of vaccine production. These are Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai, which will be able to produce 20 million doses per month; Indian Immunologicals Ltd, Hyderabad, and Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Ltd based in UP’s Bulandshahar.

 

On Friday Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and health secretary Rajesh Bhushan reviewed the Covid-19 situation in Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. These two states, along with Maharashtra, are the three states that have over one lakh active cases. Both Chhattisgarh and UP are reporting a very high number of daily new cases and high deaths due to Covid-19.

The three states have been advised to increase the number of isolation beds, oxygen beds, ventilators/ICU beds, ambulance fleet as per needs, plan for adequate oxygen supply; and focus on mortality reduction by early identification of positive cases and adherence to national treatment protocols. Prohibiting unnecessary travel and crowding in public places through strict and effective enforcement was stressed upon.

 

All states have been advised to make use of the hospitals of key Central institutions, the Indian Railways and public sector units for treating Covid-19 patients.

The ICMR has recommended setting up more testing labs, including mobile labs, in the affected states.  He also advised keeping a vigil and ramping up testing on a continuous basis in districts showing more than a five per cent positivity rate. The affected states were asked to ramp up RT-PCR testing, have timely tracing, containment and surveillance activity to curb the chain of transmission, and strict implementation of containment measures and encourage 100 per cent vaccination of eligible population groups, especially in high-focus districts.

 

The Union health ministry has said various mutations of the Covid-19 virus were found in many countries, including India, besides the UK (17 mutations), Brazil (17 mutations) and South Africa (12 mutations) variants. These variants have higher transmissibility. The UK variant has been found extensively in the UK, all across Europe and has spread to Asia and America. The double mutation (2 mutations) is another variant and has been found in several countries like Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Namibia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, USA. The higher transmissibility of this variant is not established as yet.

Officials said the RT-PCR tests used in India do not miss these mutations as the RT-PCR tests being used in India target more than two genes and sensitivity and specificity of RT-PCR tests remains the same as earlier. This clarification came amid reports that RT-PCR tests may be missing out in the detection of mutated variants and are turning “false negative” reports.

 

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Queensland’s holiday hotspots are in high demand with prestige home buyers, breathing life back into its luxury market


Demand for luxury homes across Queensland’s most prestigious coastal hideaways is rising as southern buyers pour millions into glamorous holiday abodes in lieu of a European getaway.  

Off the back of the global pandemic those oft-tumultuous markets from Port Douglas to the Gold Coast have become the playground of high-end home-hunters from Sydney and Melbourne who are fleeing more than just strict lockdowns, but a tropical escape where elite homes cost less than their southern counterparts and come with white sand just metres from their opulent steps.

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The luxury home market has boomed as a result of travel restrictions and buyers are craving the holiday feeling all year round, with14 The Cove Road Airlie Beach being an example of this Photo: Supplied

The wave of multimillion-dollar sales has breathed life back into key coastal spots such as Port Douglas and Whitsunday Islands, where in years gone by hurricanes and financial crises have all but crippled them.

Some property punters are now reporting price rises of up to 20 per cent in the past year alone with sale numbers tripling in what they’re calling a gift from the pandemic.

Ray White Whitsunday principal Mark Beale said while his patch of tropical paradise had always been popular with Brisbane buyers, the virus had sparked Victorian and NSW home-hunters to look beyond Byron Bay, resulting in a buyer tidal wave.

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14 The Cove Road Airlie Beach is just one of the properties on the market in Airlie Beach, where the demand for homes in the holiday hotspot have skyrocketed Photo: Supplied

“Right now, Airlie Beach is where it’s at and in the past six months alone we transacted 16 sales above $1 million. The 12 months before that we only sold five,” Mr Beale said.

“Southern buyers perceive it as a bargain here and it’s very cheap in comparison. We spoke to a buyer who sold his little place in Bondi for $5 million and bought a luxury home up here for $2 million.

“And, it’s mostly Sydney and Melbourne buyers, rather than spending $50,000 on a European holiday they’re thinking ‘let’s buy here’.

“Now to see a $5 or $10 million yacht in the harbour isn’t abnormal.”

It was that rejuvenation that led Mr Beale to clock $6.5 million for the off-market transaction of the “Hogs Breath” mansion at 3/188 Mandalay Road, Whitsunday, in September last year – with dozens of multimillion-dollar homes sold by his team since.

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14 The Cove Road Airlie Beach which is currently up for sale with a guide of $2.95 million Photo: Supplied

The three-storey mansion, which belonged to Hogs Breath Cafe co-founder Don Algie occupied a jaw-dropping slice of the pristine island and was bought by horse racing personality Alan Galloway.

It was the Whitsunday mainland’s highest sale in years, with Mandalay estate holding the record after it clocked $14 million in 2018.

Interest remains for new prestige properties coming on the market including a three-bedroom home with expansive water and rainforest views in Airlie Beach being sold by Ray White Whitsundays.

Farther north in Port Douglas, tropical north Queensland director of Sotheby’s International Realty, Barbara Wolveridge, said high-end sales were now transacting at rapid rates with the latest buyer wave rolling in from NSW.

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According to Sotheby’s agent Barbara Wolveridge, Sydeysiders are now purchasing prestige homes in the region where they haven’t normally been investing in with homes like 1 Island Point Rd Port Douglas on their radar Photo: Supplied

“Sydney has now discovered us. We used to find that it was always just Melbourne but the last few [multimillion-dollar sale] have come from Sydney,” Ms Wolveridge said.

“And, it makes sense. Look at places like Noosa and we are still very achievable.”

Ms Wolveridge, who this month sold the five-bedroom avant garde mansion at 15 Wharf Street, Port Douglas alongside the nearby masterpiece at 1 Wharf Stree,t for between $7 million and $9 million each, said 95 per cent of her sales were still holiday homes for southern buyers.

Today a six-bedroom home with tennis court , stunning views and a price guide at $10.8 million, at 1 Island Road, Port Douglas, is attracting further interest.

1 Island Point Road, Port Douglas
1 Island Point Road, Port Douglas is currently on the market with Barbara Wolveridge guiding the home at $10.8 million

On the Gold Coast, Ray White Sovereign Islands agent Edin Kara said the $5-$6 million market was again on the move in the city’s exclusive pocket thanks to the interstate buyer swell.

“We used to rely on Chinese buyers but now we have a lot of Sydney and Melbourne people and this is a permanent move for them,” Mr Kara said.

“This is because of the lifestyle here and prices have absolutely increased by 20 per cent just here on Sovereign Islands over the past 12 months.

“Before the pandemic we were struggling to sell properties over $5 million but now we are getting four times the usual level of inquiry. It’s the best market I’ve seen in 10 years.”

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Change of pace: Cowboy riding ‘high’ on momentum



CONNELLY Lemuelu walked into Cowboys training this week and barely recognised the place.

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Sydney News: COVID-19 restrictions on public transport to ease, rental prices hit record high


COVID-19 restrictions will be eased on public transport from next Monday as the government continues to encourage more people to return to the office.

Capacity will jump to 75 per cent in Sydney, all caps will be lifted on regional public transport.and people will no longer have to allocate spare seats between themselves and others.

In December last year, capacity was lifted to 55 per cent on trains, 45 per cent on buses, 51 per cent on ferries and 25 per cent on light rail.

Last month, face masks became no longer mandatory on public transport and are now only recommended.

Sydney’s housing rental prices hit record highs in the March quarter along with most other capital cities.

In Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Sutherland, outer south-west, outer west and Blue Mountains regions, rental prices are still rising along with demand.

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Eastern Young Cattle Indicator hits historic high, putting ‘massive’ pressure on meat processing industry


The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) has passed the 900 cents a kilogram mark for the first time in history.

The EYCI closed yesterday at 901.75 cents per kilogram carcase weight, almost 200 cents up on the same time last year.

The indicator is used as a general benchmark of young cattle prices nationally and has been on a steady rise since drought-breaking rains in New South Wales and Queensland early last year.

That dramatic change in fortunes for cattle producers has created extraordinary demand and extremely limited supply.

Matt Dalgleish, manager of commodity market insights at Thomas Elder Markets, said there had been a sense of inevitability that the 900-cent mark would be passed at some stage.

“That, combined with the lowest national herd in 30 years, has really got the rocket under young cattle prices.”

Mr Dalgleish said he believed the EYCI was nearing a ceiling.

“I suspect [at] around that 920 to 930 cents level we will start to get some real resistance,” he said.

“Because people are going to look at this and say, ‘It’s just not economical to buy young cattle at those levels’ and hope they’re going to turn a profit.

High cattle prices are also putting extraordinary pressure on the processing sector, which Mr Dalgleish said was trading at a loss.

“For processors, it’s a very difficult time and the models show they’ve been losing in excess of $300 per head slaughtered,” he said.

Patrick Hutchinson is chief executive of the Australian Meat Industry Council.

He said the herd rebuild phase, and hence high prices, could continue for another 12 months, and that would be devastating for processors.

“The processing industry in Australia is under historically immense strain — taking into consideration COVID-19, soft export demand, the Australian dollar, and our inability to be able to access labour,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“One of those things happening is a massive impact on our businesses.

“This will be one of the hardest, if not the hardest, years on record for the Australian red meat and pork processing industry.”

Periods of high commodity prices are almost always followed by corrections and periods of lower prices.

Mr Dalgleish said that would happen in the cattle industry, but not in the short-term.

“I think there are enough demand fundamentals that it won’t be a cattle market crash,” he said.

Mr Dalgleish said at some point Australian cattle prices would fall closer to international prices.

“The fact that we do have the most expensive cattle in the world, that’s another factor weighing on the price.”

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How I really did it: The high school sweethearts who lived at home to save for a house


Almost two-thirds of Australians are homeowners, but very rarely do we hear specific details around how people afford to buy property. 

In this column, we speak to recent first-home buyers to learn what was really involved in their first property purchase. 

From those who saved for 10 years to afford a regional property on a single income, to the couples who inherited the money to buy a $1.5 million inner-city home, this column will share the real stories behind the “sold” stickers on Instagram, to provide a clearer snapshot of Australia’s newest home-owners.

Spoiler alert: to buy property in some of the most expensive housing markets in the world, there’s often more than just a good savings plan involved.

Jamie and Chloe

  • Ages when first property purchased: 28 and 29
  • Property location: Greensborough, Victoria
  • Occupations and annual salaries: Photographer, $80,000; and landscape project manager, $87,500
  • Property price: $606,000 in 2020

Chloe and Jamie had been in a relationship for about 10 years when they began saving for a property together in 2017.

The couple were fortunate to already be living with Chloe’s parents in a separate granny flat, for which they paid about $50 a week. Given the considerable amount they were saving on rent, they realised buying a standalone property was a reasonable goal. They chose to save for a deposit over several years to avoid making any major lifestyle changes.

“It was just about saving as much as possible, without completely sacrificing our lives,” says Jamie. “We wanted to save enough to give ourselves options … we didn’t want to settle for something we didn’t want.”

Chloe adds, “We were fairly flexible, so we weren’t saying, ‘We want a house by 2020.’ It was more, ‘We’ll start saving now, and we’ll just keep assessing each year.’”

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After tracking their expenses, Chloe and Jamie decided they could save 25 per cent of their joint income. Photo: iStock

After tracking their existing expenses on a spreadsheet, Chloe and Jamie determined they could save 25 per cent of their joint income for a house deposit. These savings would be automatically transferred into a designated bank account each month, along with set amounts for bills and an overseas holiday in other accounts. 

After the couple had lived with Chloe’s parents in Melbourne’s outer north-east for about two years, Jamie’s grandmother moved into a nursing home, and they were invited to live in her Essendon home rent-free in early 2019. 

Chloe and Jamie got engaged and became pregnant with their first child around the same time Jamie’s grandmother passed away in late 2019, so when the family decided to sell the grandmother’s property, the couple started seriously looking for a house of their own. 

“I thought, if we don’t buy now and go down the renting path instead, my headspace won’t be on buying a house, it will be on being a mum,” Chloe says. “Renting probably would have pushed back buying a year or two, so I’m glad we did it when we did it.”

Chloe and Jamie’s property budget was $650,000, and they were looking for a three-bedroom house in Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs. 

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The couple saw a recently renovated 1970s townhouse in Melbourne’s Greensborough that they were keen on. Photo: iStock

The pandemic had just hit when they began searching. While they recall plenty of houses being on the market at the time, competition in Chloe and Jamie’s price bracket was strong due to Victoria’s first-home buyer duty concession available on property purchases under $750,000.

After missing out on one house, they saw a recently renovated 1970s townhouse in Greensborough advertised for $530,000 to $580,000. They inspected the property twice and decided they really wanted it, so they put in an offer of $585,000. 

Unfortunately, this offer was rejected due to popular demand, and the property was re-advertised the next day for $600,000 to $630,000. 

“Our initial budget was $650,000, so we said, ‘Let’s go again,’” Chloe says. “We still felt like we were getting a good deal at that price.” 

Chloe and Jamie put in a new offer of $607,500 subject to building inspection and finance, which was instantly accepted. The eventual building inspection showed a few small issues, leading to a final negotiated price of $606,000.

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Chloe and James advise first-home buyers to make any property offers subject to building inspection and finance. Photo: iStock

The couple moved into their home in May 2020 and welcomed their son three months later. They’ve since continued saving 25 per cent of their income to cover the mortgage, and are currently in the process of landscaping their front yard. 

Chloe and Jamie’s advice to keen first-home buyers is to save over several years if possible (to avoid major lifestyle sacrifices), and to make any property offers subject to building inspection and finance.

“The real estate agent tried to encourage us not to put those terms in because he said the offer would more likely be accepted without them,’” Chloe says. “Even though I knew we had finance pre-approval, if for some reason our finance fell through, or the house was riddled with termites, I wanted those terms included.” 

Chloe and Jamie also recommend not speculating about the property market too much. 

“So many people told us to wait until after COVID to buy because there were going to be so many houses and the market would drop, but I’m very glad we didn’t,” Chloe says. “It’s so competitive right now, everything is going for way over [reserve] … I feel like we could put our house on the market right now and easily get $100,000 more than what we paid for it.”

If you are a recent first home buyer keen to share your first home buying experience in this column, please email amelia.barnes@domain.com.au

Editor’s note: We’ve withheld the interviewees’ surnames for privacy reasons.

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Multiple Gunshot Victims’ After Shooting at Tennessee High School



Police report “multiple gunshot victims” following an attack at Knoxville, Tennessee’s Austin-East Magnet High School.

The wounded include a Knoxville police officer. Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon (D) says the Knoxville police officer who was wounded in the Austin-East shooting is alert and okay. Kincannon said the officer “is conscious, in good spirits, and is going to be okay.”

12 KWCH reports the wounded officer was shot while engaging “a male subject armed in the school.”

Two people were shot: One male, who is dead on scene, and the officer, who is expected to recover. Another individual has been detained.

The Knoxville PD tweeted:

10News notes the incident occurred Monday afternoon, and the school is on lockdown.

Police are asking people to avoid the area in which the school is located.

Four teenager boys “who currently or used to attend Austin-East” have died in firearm-related deaths in recent months. Two of them were 15-years-old and two were 16-years-old.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.



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