Release of refugees from hotel detention a belated humanitarian step – 16 News


The overdue release of dozens of refugees from immigration detention is a very welcome glimmer of humanity in Australia’s refugee policy, Greens Immigration Spokesperson Senator Nick McKim says.

“These men have been through so much for so long, and for them now to be able to breathe free air is a wonderful step forward for them,” Senator McKim said.

“There are still over 150 people who suffered through years of offshore detention detained in Australia. They should also be immediately released.”

“Those released today, and those still in detention, deserved freedom and safety a long time ago. Now they need permanent protection, support in our community, and a pathway to Australian citizenship.”

“There was never a legitimate reason for their detention, and it’s time to write the end of this dark chapter in our country’s story.”

“Special thanks go to the many Australian people who have protested this appalling situation.”

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Adelaide Oval hotel dog Charli’s canine attacker found and euthanased by council


A Staffordshire bull terrier cross that fatally mauled a puppy that was recruited to welcome guests to the new Adelaide Oval hotel has been euthanased, almost three months after the attack.

Charli, a 20-week-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was killed in late October when it was attacked by another off-leash dog in the north-eastern Adelaide suburb of Hampstead Gardens.

The attack happened just a month after Charli starred in the opening of the Adelaide Oval hotel.

Authorities launched an appeal to find the dog responsible for the attack and its owners.

Witnesses had reported seeing a man, woman and child with a Staffordshire bull terrier cross with a dark coat and white markings that attacked the puppy.

The street in Hampstead Gardens where Charli was attacked.(ABC News: David Frearson)

The City of Port Adelaide Enfield today confirmed that investigators had found the dog and its owner in the Hampstead Gardens area.

“In serious dog attacks such as this one, community safety officers obtain a warrant to seize the dog involved, which occurred in this instance.

An extremely adorable brown and white Cavalier King Charles spaniel in a person's arms.
The dog that attacked Charli was deemed to be “unduly dangerous”.(Supplied: Adelaide Oval Hotel)

“Following the seizure of the dog and a full investigation, it was determined that the dog was unduly dangerous in accordance with the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995.

“As a result of this, a destruction order was issued and the dog was euthanased this week.”

While the dog has been put down, it is still not clear if its owner will face any penalties.

“Our first priority was the seizure of the offending dog and the outcome of the dog destruction order,” the council said.

“A decision has not yet been made about penalties for breaches of the act.”

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Australian Open 2021, Novak Djokovic letter, hotel quarantine, COVID protocol, angry response, updates


World number one Novak Djokovic published an open letter to the Australian public on Twitter on Wednesday night in which he tried to “clarify” demands he appeared to make to the organisers of the Australian Open.

Djokovic, an eight-times champion in Melbourne, was widely harangued on Tuesday after reportedly issuing a list of demands in a letter to Tennis Australia that included moving quarantined players into private homes with tennis courts and getting them better meals.

Australian media zeroed in on the demands, portraying them as petulant and selfish while fellow player Nick Kyrgios called him a “tool”.

In Wednesday’s tweet, Djokovic said his letter to Australian Open director Craig Tiley had been taken the wrong way.

“My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful,” said Djokovic. “This couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

Djokovic said he was merely speaking up for fellow players who were not being treated as well as him.

At least 72 players have been barred from leaving their rooms for two weeks after coronavirus cases were detected on their charter flights into the country.

Others are allowed out of their rooms for up to five hours a day to train under strictly-controlled conditions.

“I genuinely care about my fellow players and I also understand very well how the world is run and who gets bigger and better and why,” said the 33-year-old Serb.

“I’ve earned my privileges the hard way and for that reason, it is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker knowing how much every help, gesture and good word mattered to me when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order.

“Hence, I use my position of privilege to be of service as much as I can where and when needed.”

Djokovic said his letter to Tiley was a “brainstorm about potential improvements that could be made to the quarantine of players in Melbourne that were in full lockdown” and not a list of demands.

“There were a few suggestions and ideas that I gathered from other players from our chat group and there was no harm intended to try and help.

“Things in the media escalated and there was a general impression that the players (including myself) are ungrateful, weak and selfish because of their unpleasant feelings in quarantine,” he wrote.

“I am very sorry that is has come to that because I do know how grateful many are.”

The Australian Open is due to start on February 8.

– AFP

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Brisbane Archdiocese mulls future for empty Stock Exchange Hotel


This month, the Archdiocese applied to Brisbane City Council for an extension on an approved demolition application lodged in 2016 by the former owners.

Although the Archdiocese is asking for an extension, it’s understood another lessee would be welcomed into the venue to replace the Riversdale Group.

In a statement, the Archdiocese said there were “no immediate plans for the site given the unexpected end of the previous lease”.

“COVID-19 has thrown up many surprises, including in the CBD which has been impacted by the shift to remote work for many people,” the statement said.

“In that environment, there has been no chance to provide detailed consideration of plans for the site.”

The demolition application, as approved in 2017, allows for the removal of the “modern building fabric” at the back of the hotel, retaining an 1880s extension to the original building on Edward Street as well as the original hotel on the corner.

The demolition application approved by the council in 2016 would remove a number of modern additions to the Stock Exchange Hotel on Edward Street in Brisbane.

A heritage report lodged with the original demolition application noted the demolition would have “negligible impact” on the heritage aspects of the site.

“What little original early fabric remaining on the site which is recognisable as such … will be retained,” the report said.

At the time, the Archdiocese objected to the demolition application, writing to the council in January 2017 that any demolition would directly impact properties it owned either side – Penola Place on Edward Street, and Archives Building on Charlotte Street.

But after purchasing the site in mid-2019, the Archdiocese asked the council to extend the demolition application for another three years; the council granted a one-year extension.

On January 11 this year, the Archdiocese lodged a fresh request to extend the demolition approval, out to 2023.

In a letter to the council on behalf of the Archdiocese, planners Urbis said the Archdiocese had invested “significant resources and time” into the site, but the economic impact of the pandemic had put work on hold.

The council has not yet responded to the extension request.

The Archdiocese statement said the hotel and the grounds of St Stephen’s Cathedral had “coexisted for more than 150 years”.

“There are no plans to do anything that would disrupt the valuable green space provided by the Cathedral grounds, which are available to anyone to relax during the day.”

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Conor McGregor, hotel quarantine, UFC 257, Dustin Poirier, UFC news, The Project


UFC superstar Conor McGregor has called on tennis players complaining about quarantine conditions to “get their act together” ahead of the Australian Open.

After the biggest names in tennis touched down in Australia earlier this week, several players have complained about the living conditions of their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

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Reigning champion Novak Djokovic reportedly sent a list of demands to Australian Open organisers, including allowing players to move to private homes with tennis courts.

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut said the 14-day Melbourne quarantine was “really tough” and like a prison “with Wi-Fi”.

French player Alize Cornet called the situation “insane”, arguing that her weeks of preparation were going to waste.

And Kazakh star Yulia Putintseva also raged about the quarantine, venting her angst on social media as she protested against the lack of exposure to fresh air.

But McGregor has little sympathy for the tennis icons.

Speaking on Channel 10’s The Project, the Irish fighter offered a timely reality check for the Australian Open competitors.

“I am surprised the tennis players would be kicking up,” McGregor said on Wednesday evening.

“We have got to correct ourselves here, you know. There is a lot going on. There is at lot at risk. It is everyone’s duty here on this Earth to do what they can.

“To get to compete in such a prestigious tennis tournament or any tournament, a two-week lockdown prior they should welcome that with open arms.

“I would urge the tennis players to get their act together and also embrace it and relish it and be happy they get to compete.

“People can’t go to work and children can’t even go to school. Professional athletes are complaining about a bit of isolation? C’mon, guys.”

McGregor recently began his 48-hour quarantine after arriving at the UFC’s Fight Island by sailing into Abu Dhabi on a luxury yacht.

The 32-year-old will return to the Octagon on Sunday (AEDT) after a 12-month absence at UFC 257 in a rematch with American fighter Dustin Poirier.

“I came from a mega yacht. My yacht is parked across from the hotel, but this is inside the bubble,” McGregor told The Project.

“I brought myself off the yacht into this hotel. There is not a complaint.

“I am eager to compete. I want to perform for any fans and give entertainment to the people around the world who are going through so much at this time. It is an honour for me to do so.”

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Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville says ‘100 per cent’ PPE found near an Australian Open hotel was not from the state’s quarantine agency



Posted

January 20, 2021 13:49:40

The Victorian Government refutes the suggestion that discarded face masks found by residents near an Australian Open quarantine hotel may have come from its COVID-19 quarantine agency.

Source: ABC News
|
Duration: 37sec

Topics:

states-and-territories,

melbourne-3000

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Craig Tiley rejects accusations, players complain, hotel quarantine storm


Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has rejected accusations from disgruntled tennis stars that organisers changed the rules about hotel quarantine at the last minute.

After positive COVID-19 cases were detected on three flights carrying players to Melbourne for the year’s first grand slam, 72 competitors were deemed “close contacts” and forced into 14 days of isolation, unable to leave their hotel rooms.

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The hard lockdown sparked backlash among many stars as they raged against the strict conditions.

Players believed they would only be classified close contacts and need to spend 14 days in isolation if a member of their team tested positive. Given they were separated into different sections on planes, players have said they didn’t think they would need to quarantine if another passenger, who was not part of their entourage, contracted coronavirus.

Initially, players were told they would be allowed out of their rooms for five hours a day to train — but that situation quickly changed for many of them.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Tiley said organisers had been in regular contact with players in the lead-up making them aware if Victorian health authorities declared them close contacts, then they would need to quarantine for 14 days without their five-hour breaks each day.

“There have been accusations that players didn’t know – that’s simply not true,” Tiley said. “We had conversations … and we made everyone very aware of what the situation would be.”

The tennis boss said players were aware they were “very privileged the state has invested in a modified quarantine program” but suggested some of them may not have fully appreciated the seriousness of the quarantine they faced and the strictness of the regulations in Australia.

“Often when you communicate that and someone has never experienced that, it may be brushed off,” Tiley said.

“Some players were very aware of it and some players were not … which may be a function of what they understood or what their perception was.

“They’ve had very different experiences with different cities around the world.”

Tiley also said he was “angry” at players voicing their complaints on social media rather than coming directly to him with their gripes. While he made the point lots of players were thankful for everything being done, he added he was happy to bear the brunt of stars’ criticism but didn’t think it was fair for them to attack other people.

“The point I don’t like is when someone takes a crack at your team and what we’re trying to do on social media,” Tiley said.

“What are you trying to achieve? You’re not solving any problems.

“The majority of the players I couldn’t fault, they’ve been fantastic.

“I think the ones that are upset, we’ll fix their views and we’ll do our best to make it better.

“If you want to complain to the public, we can’t fix that.”

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Roberto Bautista-Agut says Victoria hotel quarantine like prison


Spanish tennis star Roberto Bautista Agut has slammed the Victorian government’s handling of the Australian Open quarantine saga, comparing the lockdown to prison.

The world No. 13 is currently in quarantine ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year and in an interview with an Israeli news channel, the normally mild-mannered Spaniard slammed the Victorian government.

When the journalist conducting the interview pointed out that Bautista Agut looks like he has been in prison, the Spanish star replied: “It’s the same, it’s the same. These people have no idea about tennis, about practice courts, no idea about anything.

“It’s a complete disaster because of that, because of the control of everything.”

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Australian Open 2021 COVID hotel quarantine furore, Nick Kyrgios slams Novak Djokovic, Bernard Tomic girlfriend Vanessa Sierra


Nick Kyrgios has labelled Novak Djokovic a “tool” and said Bernard Tomic’s girlfriend Vanessa Sierra has “no perspective” after their objections to being forced to complete 14 days of hotel quarantine ahead of the Australian Open.

Dozens of tennis stars stuck in hotel rooms ahead of the Australian Open were told Monday they would get no “special treatment” to leave their rooms to train, despite complaints from some players.

Australian health authorities rejected demands for tough isolation rules to be eased, as players resorted to hitting balls off windows, walls and upturned beds in the hope of being ready for the year’s first Grand Slam.

It was revealed on Monday that world No. 1 Djokovic — who arrived on a virus-free flight and is being allowed to train in a bio-secure bubble — reportedly sent a list of demands to tournament organisers, including allowing players to move to private homes with tennis courts.

Tomic’s girlfriend Vanessa Sierra also shared an intimate view of the couple’s quarantine room, revealing they have been stuck inside playing video games up to 11 hours a day.

In a video, Sierra also complained about the food that’d been provided, as well as other hardships, bemoaning the lack of access to a professional hairdresser.

“This is the worst part of quarantine: I don’t wash my own hair. I’ve never washed my own hair. It’s just not something that I do. I normally have hairdressers that do it twice a week for me, so this is the situation that we’re dealing with,” Sierra said.

Kyrgios can’t believe what he’s hearing.

“Djokovic is a tool,” Kyrgios wrote in response to a Seven News story about the chaos surrounding the Aussie grand slam. “I don’t mind Bernie but his Mrs obviously has no perspective, ridiculous scenes.”

The Australian Open is due to make a delayed start in Melbourne on February 8, but its troubled build-up hit further problems after positive coronavirus cases were detected on three of the 17 charter flights that carried players and staff.

The 72 players on the three planes have been deemed close contacts of the four COVID-19 cases and barred from leaving their hotel rooms for 14 days, as largely virus-free Australia tries to prevent community transmission.

Heath authorities said they discovered two more cases linked to the tournament on Monday, bringing the total for the Australian Open cluster to six.

Several players have taken to social media to complain about conditions, leading to Djokovic’s letter, but Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews smashed back that request, saying authorities would not bend strict health rules any further for the players.

“There’s no special treatment here. Because the virus doesn’t treat you specially, so neither do we,” he said.

The arrangements have sparked a backlash in Australia, with some social media users questioning why more than 1000 players and staff were flown in for the sporting event, when tens of thousands of Australians remain stranded overseas.

The country closed its international border in March and has since limited the number of its own citizens who can return each week.

Meanwhile the majority of players are allowed out to train for five hours a day, unlike other returned travellers who are confined to their hotel rooms for the full 14 days.

Andrews said all players knew about Australia’s strict quarantine rules ahead of their flights.

“The notion that there’s been any change, the notion that people weren’t briefed, I think that argument really has no integrity whatsoever,” he said.

Some pointed out that the host city of Melbourne had endured a gruelling four-month lockdown last year after a virus outbreak.

“Our health safety is more important to us than your feelings of privilege and entitlement,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Most of us here in Melbourne do not want tennis players here potentially reintroducing the virus and causing us to go back to harsh restrictions,” another added.

French player Alize Cornet issued an apology to Australians on Twitter after earlier deleting a tweet that called the quarantine “insane”.

“Your reaction to this tactless comment made me realise what you’ve been through last year & how much you suffered,” she wrote.

“I guess I feel a bit anxious about all this & I better have shut my mouth.” Tennis Australia has begun delivering exercise equipment to the isolated players who are concerned about the risk of injury when they finally hit the courts for a week of lead-in tournaments to start in Melbourne from January 31.

New Zealand player Artem Sitak said he could hear tennis balls hitting the walls “everywhere” in his hotel as players embraced “creative” forms of exercise.

The doubles player told public broadcaster ABC the situation was “not ideal” but he was “staying positive and hoping for the best”.

“I’m trying to do as much as I can — all the stretching, all the exercising and anything I can possibly do — and hoping for the physios when they come out to do some magic here,” he said.

– with AFP

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Players complain about hotel quarantine food, ugly images


No wonder the world’s best tennis players are complaining about being stuck in a hard 14-day lockdown.

Positive COVID-19 cases were detected on-board two planes carrying stars to Melbourne for next month’s Australian Open, forcing nearly 50 players to quarantine inside their hotel room for the next two weeks.

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Initially the plan was for competitors to be allowed out for five hours a day to train but that quickly changed, prompting angry criticism from a host of players.

Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan thought she had it bad when she spotted a mouse running around inside her room and plenty of others are sharing their pain about having to live in lockdown for the next fortnight.

For most, the biggest problem is the food as multiple stars took to social media to question the quality of the grub being served up.

Here are a few Instagram updates from players crying foul about their meal options.

Fabio Fognini didn’t like the look of his salad.Source:Instagram

Pablo Carreno Busta was underwhelmed with his lunch.

Pablo Carreno Busta was underwhelmed with his lunch.Source:Instagram

Corentin Moutet only needed one emoji to sum up his feelings.

Corentin Moutet only needed one emoji to sum up his feelings.Source:Instagram

Marco Cecchinato wasn’t sure if he was really eating rice with coconut and mango for breakfast.

Marco Cecchinato wasn’t sure if he was really eating rice with coconut and mango for breakfast.Source:Instagram

Some players weren’t prepared to take a punt on hotel food and instead paid a little extra to order Uber Eats. Frenchman Benoit Paire and world No. 118 Damir Dzumhur both took a culinary trip to the Golden Arches to help ease the pain of being in quarantine.

Dzumhur only had one thing on his mind.

Dzumhur only had one thing on his mind.Source:Instagram

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