NSW Police arrest five people after largely ‘well-behaved’ Invasion Day rally in Sydney



Police say they have arrested five people in Sydney after a largely “well-behaved” Invasion Day rally attended by up to about 3,000 people. 

Thousands of socially-distanced and mask-wearing protesters turned out at the Domain on Tuesday morning, despite public health orders limiting gatherings to 500 people. 

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Willing said police had negotiated with rally organisers to allow it to go ahead by cutting down the length of the protest and having attendees break into socially-distanced groups of 500 “as best as they could”. 

LIVE: Protest and celebration as Australia Day marks the moment ‘this land changed forever’

In response, organisers cancelled the planned march throughout the city and called on protesters to leave the area following a number of speeches.

“We reached some agreement with protest organisers, taking into account the heat that is obvious today, the potential disruption to the city and traffic and, indeed, the safety of all persons whose are wanting to express their views as part of this protest,” Commissioner Willing told reporters on Tuesday afternoon. 

“That largely occurred and I want to thank the protest organisers for doing what they did to ensure that happened.”

He said police estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended the rally. Attendees were well behaved with the exception of a small group who were not part of the organised event, he said. 

Police said no issues arose at the protest and the crowd began to disperse just after 11am, before a “large group” attempted to start a march in nearby Hyde Park. 

Four people from that group were arrested, including three men and one woman, “following a scuffle during which a police officer was assaulted”, police said. 

The 27-year-old woman from Islington will be charged with hindering police and failing to comply with COVID-19 directions. A 28-year-old man from Wollongong will be charged with assaulting police and failing to comply with COVID-19 directions. 

The other two men, a 30 year old from South Penrith and a 22 year old from Katoomba, were each issued a $1,000 fine and released. 

A fifth person, an 18-year-old Hill Top man who was not part of the organised event, was arrested for disruption of the peace.  

Despite the arrests, Commissioner Willing thanked organisers for their efforts in ensuring a safe and largely peaceful rally went ahead. 

“I think at the end of the day, people were able to express their views, get in and out of that protest zone safely as possible and move on,” he said. 

“Let me tell you, these are difficult things to police … I think that the protest organisers abided by the agreement, police facilitated as best they possibly could to ensure that people were in groups of less than 500 and distanced.

“We are pleased at this point.” 

Police had earlier warned a “highly visible and mobile … operation” would be launched to ensure all protesters were complying with COVID-19 restrictions. 

Police Minister David Elliott had also warned attendees would face fines and imprisonment for breaching COVID-19 rules. 

Rally organisers, represented by the Aboriginal Legal Service, reportedly submitted a request to Health Minister Brad Hazzard for an exemption to the 500-person cap late on Monday. Mr Hazzard formally refused the exemption before a court hearing went ahead. 

“We urge all people who support our cause to still turn up,” the ‘Fighting in Solidarity Towards Treaties’ group said on its Facebook page. 

“We have done everything in our power to make this rally safe from both the pandemic and police.” 

Rally organisers are calling for Australia Day to be abolished and for justice for First Nations people.

“They’re out there celebrating this day like it’s a birthday or Christmas,” Paul Silva, nephew of David Dungay Jr who died in custody, said.

“(Today is) the day when our ancestors were murdered.”

With AAP. 



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Enduring second impeachment, Trump stands largely silent and alone


Abandoned by some in his own party, Trump could do nothing but watch history unfold on television. The suspension of his Twitter account deprived Trump of his most potent means to keep Republicans in line, giving a sense that Trump had been defanged and, for the first time, his hold on his adopted party was in question.

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He was finally heard from hours after the vote, in a subdued video that condemned the insurrection at the Capitol and warned his supporters from engaging in any further violence. It was a message that was largely missing one week earlier, when rioters marching in Trump’s name descended on the Capitol to try to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.

“I want to be very clear: I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week,” said Trump. He added that “no true supporter” of his “could ever endorse political violence.”

But that message, partially motivated to warn off legal exposure for sparking the riot, ran contrary to what Trump has said throughout his term, including when he urged his supporters to “fight” for him last week.

Trump said not a word about his impeachment in the video, though he complained about the ban on his social media. And later, he asked allies if he had gone too far with the video, wondering if it might upset some of his supporters. Four White House officials and Republicans close to the West Wing discussed Trump’s private conversations on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to do so publicly.

With only a week left in Trump’s term, there were no bellicose messages from the White House fighting the proceedings on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and no organised legal response. Some congressional Republicans did defend the President during House debate on impeachment, their words carrying across the same space violated by rioters one week earlier during a siege of the citadel of democracy that left five dead.

In the end, 10 Republicans voted to impeach.

It was a marked change from Trump’s first impeachment. That December 2019 vote in the House, which made Trump only the third president ever impeached, played out along partisan lines. The charges then were that he had used the powers of the office to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political foe, Joe Biden, now the President-elect.

At that time, the White House was criticised for failing to create the kind of robust “war room” that President Bill Clinton mobilised during his own impeachment fight. Nonetheless, Trump allies did mount their own push-back campaign. There were lawyers, White House messaging meetings, and a media blitz run by allies on conservative television, radio and websites.

Trump was acquitted in 2020 by the Republican-controlled Senate and his approval ratings were undamaged. But this time, as some members of his own party recoiled and accused him of committing impeachable offences, Trump was isolated and quiet. A presidency centred on the bombastic declaration “I alone can fix it” seemed to be ending with a whimper.

The third-ranking Republican in the House, Representaive Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said there had “never been a greater betrayal” by a president. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, told colleagues in a letter that he had not decided how he would vote in an impeachment trial.

For the first time, Trump’s future seemed in doubt, and what was once unthinkable – that enough Republican senators would defy him and vote to remove him from office – seemed at least possible, if unlikely.

But there was no effort from the White House to line up votes in the President’s defence.

The team around Trump is hollowed out, with the White House counsel’s office not drawing up a legal defence plan and the legislative affairs team largely abandoned. Trump leaned on Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, to push Republican senators to oppose removal. Graham’s spokesman said the senator was making the calls of his own volition.

Trump and his allies believed that the President’s sturdy popularity with the lawmakers’ Republican constituents would deter them from voting against him. The President was livid with perceived disloyalty from McConnell and Cheney and has been deeply frustrated that he could not hit back with his Twitter account, which has kept Republicans in line for years.

He also has turned on his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who touted election conspiracy theories and whom many in the president’s orbit believe shoulders some of the blame for both impeachments. Trump had grown irritated at Giuliani’s lavish spending, which included a request to be paid $US20,000 ($25,700) a day, and told aides to stop paying him.

Trump has even turned on Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney.Credit:Bloomberg

Trump watched much of the day’s proceedings on TV from the White House residence and his private dining area off the Oval Office. A short time before he was impeached, Trump was in the White House East Room presenting the National Medal of Arts to singers Toby Keith and Ricky Skaggs as well as former Associated Press photographer Nick Ut.

His paramount concern, beyond his legacy, was what a second impeachment could do to his immediate political and financial future.

The loss of his Twitter account and fundraising lists could complicate Trump’s efforts to remain a Republican kingmaker and potentially run again in 2024. Moreover, Trump seethed at the blows being dealt to his business, including the withdrawal of a PGA tournament from one of his golf courses and the decision by New York City to cease dealings with his company.

There’s the possibility that if the Senate were to convict him, he also could be barred from seeking election again, dashing any hopes of another presidential campaign.

A White House spokesman did not respond to questions about whether anyone in the building was trying to defend Trump, who was now the subject of half of the presidential impeachments in the nation’s history.

One campaign adviser, Jason Miller, argued Democrats’ efforts will serve to galvanise the Republican base behind Trump and end up harming Biden. He blamed the Democrats’ swift pace for the silence, saying there wasn’t “time for mounting a traditional response operation.” But he pledged that “the real battle will be the Senate where there’ll be a more traditional push-back effort.”

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The reminders of the Capitol siege were everywhere as the House moved toward the impeachment roll call.

Some of the Capitol’s doors were broken and windows were shattered. A barricade had gone up around outside the building and there were new checkpoints. Hundreds of members of the National Guard patrolled the hallways, even sleeping on the marble floors of the same rotunda that once housed Abraham Lincoln’s casket.

And now the Capitol is the site of more history, adding to the chapter that features Clinton, impeached 21 years ago for lying under oath about sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and Andrew Johnson, impeached 151 years ago for defying Congress on Reconstruction. Another entry is for Richard Nixon, who avoided impeachment by resigning during the Watergate investigation.

But Trump, the only one impeached twice, will once more be alone.

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Australia tipped for record Boxing Day sales, despite Sydney shoppers largely avoiding CBD stores


Australians are set for a record Boxing Day shopping splurge but more people than usual will be hunting a bargain online.

The National Retail Association has forecast a $2.75 billion spend in stores, up five per cent on last year, with $930 million in digital sales estimated.

NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb said Australians unable to travel overseas had been spending more money at home.

“It is much needed … for our retailers have had many difficult months,” Ms Lamb said in a statement.

“(Boxing Day) remains a signature event on the Australian shopping calendar.”

Clothes and kitchen items top the wishlist for Australians on Boxing Day, according to consumer group CHOICE.

A survey from online payment service PayPal has revealed people plan to do more than half their Boxing Day shopping on the internet.

Almost one third of the 1000 people polled were concerned the health risks of shopping in-store during the coronavirus pandemic were too high.

“Boxing Day sales are traditionally synonymous with long queues and bustling crowds at shopping centres,” PayPal Australia consumer expert Danielle Grant said.

“However, since COVID-19 we have seen record numbers of consumers shopping online, including many for the first time.”

In Sydney, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian had urged shoppers to shop online and not attend stores in person and risk spreading the virus. 

The premier implored anyone who did venture out to wear a mask, use hand sanitiser and practise social distancing.

And it seemed as if Sydneysiders were heeding the messsage. 

On Saturday, Ms Berejiklian said crowds of shoppers at Pitt Street Mall in the CBD were “substantially reduced and we’re deeply grateful”. 

“We were very pleased this morning to see people listen to our restrictions regarding CBD shopping, thank you to everybody for your cooperation,” she said. 

“Those who did turn up were wearing masks and obviously the number of people was substantially reduced and we are deeply grateful for that.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian provids an update on the coronavirus outbreak on 26 December, 2020, in Sydney.

AAP

But the premier acknowledged some suburban shopping centres, such as Westfield Parramatta and Chatswood, were busier than expected. 

The Australian Retailers Association’s Paul Zahra told Sky News traffic into the Sydney CBD was down on Saturday, and shops which usually had long queues waiting for them to open, didn’t have them this year. 

“We’ve learnt that NSW people are very compliant, there’s been very little traffic into the CBD locations. It was at a record low this morning,” Mr Zahra said.

“Normally people would queue up as early as Christmas Day night to get into the stores, but this year’s been a very different year, being a COVID year of course and with Gladys’ commentary. It’s certainly had an impact on the CBD locations this morning,” he said. 

The rise in online Boxing Day shopping is being led by younger generations.

Gen Z (69 per cent) and Gen Y (66 per cent) are planning to shop online at a higher rate, compared with older Australians (30 per cent).

Most baby boomers (59 per cent) and Australians 68 years and over (70 per cent) still plan to head into stores.

The union representing retail workers has urged shoppers to wear a mask when visiting bricks-and-mortar outlets.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association said shoppers should also maintain social distancing inside stores.

“Take extra precaution around the Boxing Day sales. Remember they are not a one day event,” the SDA’s NSW/ACT secretary Bernie Smith said in a statement on Saturday.

“The reality is the Boxing Day sales usually run for about two weeks after Christmas. There is plenty of time to bag a bargain and stay safe too.

“Plan your sale visits over subsequent days to promote social distancing and help keep workers and fellow shoppers as safe as possible.”

Additional reporting by Jarni Blakkarly



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As U.S., U.K. plan to roll out vaccines in December, Canada largely silent on distribution


Two of Canada’s closest allies have laid out plans to distribute new vaccines against the deadly novel coronavirus, with the first shots expected to be delivered in December.

Canada, meanwhile, has been largely silent on how promising vaccine candidates will be distributed here after Health Canada regulators give them the green light — providing few, if any, details beyond a promise to work with the provinces and territories and buy cold storage.

The federal government has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — an insurance policy against the possibility that some of the vaccines in development prove to be ineffective in clinical trials. Little is known about how and when the vaccines will be made available, however.

“Our government has worked hard to secure tens of millions of doses, so we’re prepared once a safe, effective vaccine is ready for Canadians,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today, adding that it’s “premature” to say when communities will have access to the vaccines.

Trudeau said Canada — unlike the U.S., the United Kingdom and Germany — doesn’t have any domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, which means it could be a while yet before Canadians get a dose. “We’re looking forward to being able to vaccinate Canadians in the coming months,” he said.

WATCH: Trudeau says lack of Canadian manufacturing capacity to blame for vaccine challenges

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to reporters outside his home in Ottawa on Tuesday 1:59

Dr. Moncef Slaoui is the chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed — the U.S. mission to develop a vaccine, manufacture it in large quantities and push it out into communities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to meet on Dec. 10 to make a final decision on Pfizer’s highly-effective vaccine and Slaoui said inoculations will begin immediately.

“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval,” Slaoui said in an interview with CNN.

“I would expect maybe on day two after approval, on Dec. 11 or Dec 12, hopefully, the first people will be immunized across the U.S., across all states, in all areas where the state departments of health have told us to deliver the vaccine.”

20 million Americans to be vaccinated in December

Slaoui said as many as 20 million Americans will be vaccinated in December, and 30 million more Americans will be vaccinated in every subsequent month.

Since October, Pfizer has been manufacturing hundreds of thousands of doses each week — even though it hasn’t yet received regulatory approval. The company hopes to make 100 million doses available this year and another 1.3 billion in 2021. Each patient will need two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, says 20 million Americans will be vaccinated in December. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

The National Health Service (NHS) in England has designated 1,250 local health clinics as vaccine sites where, starting as early as Dec. 1, staff will be on hand to administer the vaccine over 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. Each clinic site is expected to inoculate at least 975 people per week.

The NHS already has started booking vaccine appointments, designating blocks to priority groups. Vaccinations in the U.K. will start with older adult residents in long-term care homes and care home workers, all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers, before being offered to those aged 75 years or younger.

“I have tasked the NHS with being ready from any date from Dec. 1. The logistics are complex, the uncertainties are real and the scale of the job is vast, but I know that the NHS, brilliantly assisted by the armed services, will be up to the task,” Matt Hancock, the U.K.’s health secretary, told Parliament last week.

In May, the U.S. tapped a retired four-star army general, Gen. Gustave Perna, to coordinate the distribution efforts — a massive task that will see millions of doses of the vaccine deployed to every state starting next month, through a partnership with U.S. drug distribution giant McKesson.

Perna is a former commanding general for the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which manages the Army’s global supply chain, making him uniquely qualified to run such a complicated distribution network.

“The country’s existing public health infrastructure is well tested — we see evidence every fall when Americans receive the flu vaccine in large numbers. But these are not normal times,” Perna said in a media statement. “Leveraging our military planning and logistics capability and combining that with proven methods will allow existing systems to scale quickly to get the vaccine to the American people.”

Operation Warp Speed will also distribute ancillary kits with all the required supplies to administer COVID-19 vaccines, such as needles, syringes, alcohol pads and limited personal protective equipment. (Supplied by the U.S. Department of Defense)

More than 1 million standard kits — which would cover 100 million vaccine doses — have been assembled by Operation Warp Speed.

The military and McKesson will distribute vaccines along with ancillary kits with all the required supplies to administer them, such as needles, syringes, alcohol pads and limited personal protective equipment.

Pfizer has an assembly centre in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the drug manufacturer plans to use private shipping companies such as UPS and FedEx to deliver vaccines to hospitals and vaccination sites within hours.

Watch: Bains and Anand explain how Ottawa is developing Canadian vaccine production.:

Federal Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Procurement Minister Anita Anand spoke with reporters on Tuesday. 1:48

While Operation Warp Speed will deliver vaccine shipments, it will be up to the states, territories and major metropolitan areas to further define where the doses ultimately go. All 50 states have submitted COVID-19 distribution plans to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC has flowed more than $300 million to the states to fine-tune the deployment process and, last month, the agency publicly released a 75-page playbook detailing everything from vaccine provider recruitment and enrolment guidelines, vaccine storage and handling tips to information on which groups should be first in line for a shot.

The CDC also has signed agreements with major U.S. pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens to assist with on-site vaccinations at long-term care facilities (LTCs), which have been especially hard hit by the pandemic.

Operation Warp Speed chief operating officer Gen. Gustave Perna, left, and Stefano Pessina, right, the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, meet to discuss COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans. The CDC has signed agreements with major U.S. pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens to assist with on-site vaccinations at long-term care facilities. (Supplied by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs)

Germany also could start administering shots of COVID-19 vaccines as soon as next month, Jens Spahn, the country’s health minister, said Sunday.

Spahn said he has asked Germany’s federal states to have their vaccination centres ready by mid-December. “I’d rather have a ready-to-go immunization centre that remains inactive for several days than a licensed vaccine that cannot be administered,” the minister said, adding that vulnerable persons, such as the elderly, would be treated first.

Canadian officials working ‘around the clock’: health minister

The Canadian federal government, by comparison, has said little publicly about what it has planned for vaccine distribution.

The scientists at the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recently issued preliminary guidance on who should get priority for a vaccine.

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced last week the government has plans to purchase more than 100 new freezers to help store incoming COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer but also Moderna.

When asked Tuesday why Canada seems to be further behind in the race to distribute vaccines, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the whole process is complicated and Health Canada hasn’t yet approved a vaccine candidate.

“I can’t speak to allied countries’ regulatory processes. I can just speak to mine,” she said.

Hajdu said the health department is “working hand in glove” with procurement officials to distribute a vaccine, once Canada gets one.

“All of our departments are working right now, around the clock actually, on making sure we have a concrete plan with the provinces and territories, that we are ready to deploy the vaccines as soon as they arrive on Canadian soil,” she said.



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Victorian businesses largely COVID-safe, police data shows, as state records week without new cases


Police have warned 13 Victorian businesses and referred almost 30 for further investigation over COVID-safe compliance concerns since the widespread reopening of hospitality and retail businesses from lockdown.

But figures released by the Victorian Government reveal the vast majority of more than 550 businesses checked by police were found to be compliant.

It comes as the state records its seventh consecutive day without any new coronavirus cases or deaths, with 18,671 test results processed in the past day.

The compliance data reveals between October 22 and November 5, there were 2,800 calls to the Police Assistance Line to report breaches of coronavirus restrictions.

Most of these (1,808) were from people wanting to report employers who they believed were doing the wrong thing, while 566 related to employees and 167 to customers.

The top non-compliance issues in high-risk workplaces were mask wearing, social distancing and having hand sanitiser at the entry to the business.

The Premier is expected to announce a further easing of Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions on Sunday.(ABC News: Ron Ekkel)

Premier Daniel Andrews announced this morning the state would allow direct flights from New Zealand to arrive in Melbourne from Monday, effectively opening the “front door” to the travel bubble already operating in other states.

The development comes as an interim report into the state’s failed hotel quarantine program is tabled in State Parliament, and Mr Andrews prepares to announce a further easing of the state’s restrictions on Sunday.

The state now has just 15 active cases, down from 20 yesterday.

All of the state’s active cases are in Melbourne and one of those is a healthcare worker.

The state’s 14-day rolling average of new cases has dropped to 1.3, down from 1.4 yesterday.

The number of cases from the past two weeks with an unknown source of infection remains at two, both of which are in Melbourne.

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There are two Victorians in hospital, neither of whom are in intensive care.

Mr Andrews said 18,671 tests had been received since yesterday.

Yesterday, it was revealed the state’s last remaining active case linked to aged care had been cleared, meaning there were no active cases in the sector.

It was the first time the state has had no active cases linked to aged care since June 15.

Victoria’s death toll from the pandemic remains at 819.

The photo shows the silhouette of a woman walking inside Melbourne Airport as a plane prepares for boarding.
Flights from New Zealand could land at Melbourne Airport as soon as Monday.(AAP: Mal Fairclough)

The latest numbers bode well for Sunday, when Mr Andrews is expected to announce a further relaxation of the state’s restrictions beyond previously announced changes that are due to take effect next week.

From Monday, the rule preventing Melburnians from travelling further than 25 kilometres from their homes will be lifted, and the “ring of steel” that has stopped people travelling between regional Victoria and Melbourne will be removed.

Restrictions in Melbourne will be brought into line with those in force throughout the rest of the state, which will mean changes for Melbourne gyms and fitness centres, hospitality venues, religious gatherings and funerals.

The State Government will today begin mapping out a plan to once again accept international flights more broadly, nearly four months after it shut down its hotel quarantine program due to infection control breaches that are widely accepted to have seeded the state’s second wave.

The interim report from the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry has outlined key recommendations for a new isolation scheme for travellers, including the use of home-based quarantine and electronic monitoring, which could see international arrivals from other nations return to Melbourne Airport within a month.

Meanwhile in Canberra, the High Court is hearing a challenge to Victoria’s lockdown laws from hotelier Julian Gerner, who is arguing the restrictions breached an implied constitutional right to freedom of movement.

Lawyers for the State Government are urging the court to abandon the case, saying there’s no longer any point given the restrictions are due to be eased further on Monday.

But Mr Gerner’s legal team disagrees, telling the court the case will determine whether the State Government can impose another lockdown in the future.



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LNP’s Queensland election commitment costings reveal billions in savings but Bruce Highway expansion, New Bradfield Scheme promises largely unfunded


The LNP has revealed its election costings total $5.05 billion, but big-ticket promises like the New Bradfield Scheme and widening the Bruce Highway are largely unfunded for the next four years.

Handing down the party’s official costings two days out from polling day, LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander declared there would be no assets sales or forced redundancies if the LNP was elected to government this Saturday.

Instead, he outlined three key saving measures:

  • $700 million through efficiencies in Government procurement
  • $1.6 billion by extending Labor’s internal replacement policy for non-key frontline roles
  • $752 million by asking government departments except Queensland Health to find 2 per cent budget savings

Mr Mander also confirmed an LNP government would need to absorb $1.7 billion of Labor’s $4 billion borrowing fund, but said their debt “would be $2.3 billion less than what Labor debt will be”.

“This is a significant reduction in debt under the LNP compared to Labor and a material improvement in the budget position achieved through careful budget management,” he said.

Tim Mander talking and gesticulating to underscore his point
Mr Mander rejected the suggestion the LNP’s big promises were “off in the never never”.(AAP Image: Darren England)

“For the past four weeks, Labor has run a baseless scare campaign on the LNP’s plan to return general government operating to surplus in 2023-24.

“The LNP’s target is fiscally responsible and possible.”

He said because Labor has not yet released a budget, the LNP was unable to determine when it might return to surplus.

“But these costings show an improvement in the budget and the position relative to Labor, meaning a surplus will be achieved sooner under the LNP,” he said.

‘We have a vision’

The LNP has campaigned on boosting jobs by investing in manufacturing and proposed infrastructure like the New Bradfield Scheme, and expanding the Bruce Highway to four lanes.

The party estimates “four-laning” the Bruce Highway from Cairns to Gympie would cost $33 billion over the next 15 years and it would pursue an 80-20 federal-state funding arrangement.

It has been estimated that the cost of the New Bradfield Scheme could be upwards of $15 billion.

Thursday’s costings confirm an LNP government would invest $20 million in the water infrastructure project over the next four years, and $530 million for the Bruce Highway plan.

Mr Mander rejected suggestions the projects were “off in the never never” and said the LNP’s costing involved investment in the planning process.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Annastacia Palaszczuk pressed LNP leader Deb Frecklington about election costings

“Some of the announcements that we’ve talked about [have] 10, 15-year time frames,” he said.

“We’ve never made an apology that we have a vision for the state. This wasn’t just about creating jobs just for the next three to four years, but for the next 10 to 15 years.

“We have plans that will immediately stimulate the economy and provide employment … but we also have long-term plans as well.”

No cuts to Queensland Health

Asked how a future LNP government would stimulate the economy immediately, Mr Mander pointed to measures like their $300 car registration rebate plan — a move he said would inject $1.15 billion into the economy before Christmas.

According to the costings, the LNP’s efficiency dividend will save $200 million a year across government — excluding Queensland Health — and $700 million over four years by introducing better procurement initiatives.

“Our savings are more conservative than [Labor’s proposed cost savings].”

Mr Mander also said the LNP would reshape the public service by classifying more roles as “frontline”.

He said the size of the public sector would grow to around 240,000, compared to 232,000 in March this year.

Mr Mander accused Labor of “wasting” the state’s potential over the past five years and said the LNP had a plan to create 150,000 more jobs for Queensland.

A black and white image of part of Australia showing details of how the scheme would work.
The original Bradfield Scheme was developed in the 1930s.(Supplied)

Vision has ‘come to nothing’

Labor released its official costings on Tuesday, confirming the budget could be in deficit for up to five years.

Treasurer Cameron Dick on Thursday criticised the LNP’s plan, saying their “big, bold” vision has “come to nothing”.

“They funded almost nothing when it came to the supposed New Bradfield Scheme and four-laning the Bruce Highway,” he said.

“And this idea that the LNP would borrow no more money is a hoax as well.”

The morning after the people’s forum leadership debate, the Premier headed to the Gold Coast, pledging $23 million towards upgrading facilities at the Gold Coast Spit if Labor is re-elected.



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The “mismatch hypothesis” argues that each of our bodies has evolved and adapted to digest the foods that our ancestors ate, and that human bodies will struggle and largely fail to metabolize a radically new set of foods : Health


IMO, its a combination of your genetics, your gut microbiome, your entire life’s diet up to that point, and countless other factors including your lifestyle/physical activity, how much you sleep, smoking, etc, etc., which makes this type of analysis really hard to do.

a guy who lifts weights and does 3 hours of cardio can get away with eating more carbs than a guy who has type 2 diabetes and doesn’t exercise. these two guys could’ve been twins and this would hold true. maybe this is the pathway to genetic differences, via your body composition and activity levels which may come with familial lifestyle (and falsely linked to genetics)

Lots of frankly wrong assumptions in this article, like if you’d go on a certain diet you’d just get sick… no, not at all. Maybe for someone eating a non-diverse fast food Western diet… Our bodies actually adapt really well to new diets, including just eating meat or low carb, and this modulation happens with great changes in the gut microbiome and other epigenetic shifts. As a genomics researcher myself, I severely doubt the idea that we have massive genetic differences in the foods we eat as much as our gut microbiome differences make up most of the genetic effect. It’d be interesting if I was wrong, but not based on what we see in polygenic analyses on the topic, yet.

Also, none of has the genetics our ancestors had, we are all admixtures of many generations of different people since then. In Africa, the genetic diversity is even greater than elsewhere… but if they are focusing on isolated tribes maybe there is something to it.. I like the idea, but I really don’t think it holds up 100%. I’m sure there are specific genetic outliers who may match better with certain food groups and macronutrient content in their diet, but its not going to really hold true across the entire world’s population IMO. There are definitely foods that people should avoid based on their genetics, but a lot of this is being found to be a problem of your gut microbiome as much as it is some enzymatic deficiency you may have inherited. We mostly are the same and we mostly can adapt to different diets, its more about caloric intake and your levels of activity regarding what foods you tolerate well compared to another person.

I hope to hear more as they study this and I hope they can prove me wrong, tbh 🙂

TL; DR – our shared genetics > our differences in this regard, and our gut microbiome and other factors may play a larger genetic role than our own. mostly, our lifestyle and macronutrient/caloric intake matter the most in our tolerance to foods, barring some specific mutation or lack of enzyme that you may have genetically inherited



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Suspect in Oshawa, Ont., killings was largely shut out of father’s will at time of shootings, documents show


The man suspected of wounding his sister, fatally shooting her husband and three of their kids inside their Oshawa, Ont., home last week, was all but left out of his father’s will, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.

Instead, Mitch Lapa’s sister Loretta Traynor and her children were the beneficiaries of almost all of her late father’s estate. 

Police say Lapa, 48, was an “uninvited person” when he drove from his home in Winnipeg to target Traynor and her family.

Traynor was wounded and is still recovering. Her husband Christopher Traynor, 50, and three of their four children were killed. 

Durham Regional Police have identified the children as Bradley Traynor, 20, Adelaide Traynor, 15, and 11-year-old Joseph Traynor. The couple’s fourth child, Sam, was not in the home at the time.

Police say after shooting his sister’s family, Lapa fatally shot himself.

Siblings, from left, Joseph Traynor, Adelaide Traynor and Bradley Traynor were killed along with their father. (Twitter and Facebook)

Sister inherited cottage

Before his death in 2019, Matthew Lapa made it clear in his will that his son Mitch would not receive much of his wealth. 

The will was signed on Sept. 25, 2015. It makes no mention of why his son wouldn’t benefit the way his daughter would.

In April 2018, Matthew transferred sole ownership of his North Kawartha, Ont., cottage to Loretta, according to land registry documents. 

After he died in January 2019, his will also stated she and her four children would receive the proceeds of the sale of his Oshawa home. It sold in March 2020 for approximately $430,000.

She was also entitled to other financial assets under by the estate.

As for Mitch, the will stated he would receive only $30,000. It also indicated that if he tried to challenge the will, he would be cut out entirely.

Police won’t say if the will may have sparked tensions between Mitch and Loretta, or if it might have been a motive for the homicides.

A spokesperson for the Durham Regional Police Service says investigators are aware of the information, but do not divulge motives in active homicide investigations.   

“We’ll follow up on any lead or information,” Dave Selby told CBC News. “We are looking at everything.” 

‘None of us were surprised’

Most recently, Mitch Lapa had been living in Winnipeg where he worked for a property management company. Prior to that he spent several years driving a bus in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Some people that grew up with him say they immediately suspected he was involved when word of the killings spread.

Samantha Candle knew Lapa when he was a student at Oshawa’s O’Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute.

Police say Mitch Lapa, Loretta’s brother, seen here in an undated photo from high school, shot the family then killed himself. (Name withheld by request)

“None of us were surprised he could have done this,” she told CBC News.

She said Lapa was intelligent but abusive. 

She described how Lapa once invited people over to the family home for a party, then shot fireworks at them later that night.

“I saw all this red smoke. He just said, ‘Thanks for coming, everybody,'” she recounted. 

A young woman at the party was badly burned as a result, she said.

She said Lapa was a “disgusting person” who often bullied or victimized others violently.

“He started getting creepy and weird,” she said.

Candle said her biggest concern now is for his sister. 

“Everybody we know keeps thinking about her and how she’s going to get through this,” she said.

Another former high school friend, Ted Minnett, said Lapa was arrested as a teen for carrying a gun while walking down an Oshawa street.

It’s unclear if charges were laid or what the outcome of that incident was.

“He was manipulative and struck fear into people,” Minnett said.



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Dictatorship is our brand. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko owes his tenuous grasp on reality largely to his press secretary, Natalya Eismont. Here’s how she gained such influence.




In the six years since she was hired as the Belarusian president’s press secretary, Natalya Eismont has become one of his closest associates. Many of Alexander Lukashenko’s adversaries — and more than a few former supporters — say Eismont bears much of the blame for the president’s current “detachment from reality.” Meduza special correspondent Maxim Solopov reviewed the professional milestones that led Eismont to her current prominence amid the largest protests in the nation’s history.



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WTO largely backs Canada in lumber complaint against U.S. tariffs



FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

August 24, 2020

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The World Trade Organization largely backed a Canadian complaint on Monday against the United States’ imposition of duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports to counter what it saw as unfair subsidies.

A three-person panel determined that the U.S. duties breached global trading rules because the United States had not shown that many of the prices paid by Canadian firms for timber on government-owned lands were too low.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alison Williams)





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