The second progress report of the Royal Commission into the Violence, Abuse, Exploitation and Neglect of People with Disability makes it clear that the limitations of confidentiality provisions are impeding on people’s willingness to speak with the Commission and affecting the scope of the Commission’s work, Australian Greens Disability Rights and Services spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said.
Steele-John also said there was still significant work that needed to be done to engage with Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory with data showing that three quarters of submissions had come from individuals and organisations in the Eastern States.
“The failure of the Morrison government to strengthen witness protections is risking the loss of vital evidence and will ultimately weaken the Royal Commission’s findings, and therefore recommendations,” Steele-John said.”I first flagged this issue with Attorney General Christian Porter back in November 2019 and made several inquiries to his office since then with no response. The Chair, Ronald Sackville, has made similar inquiries and spoken of the issue in public hearings of the Royal Commission in Townsville and in Sydmney.
“An entire section of this progress report is devoted to confidentiality protections, or lack thereof, and the challenges the situation presents to the important work of the Commission. It is simply not good enough that more than a year into this process these simpole legislative changes have still not been made!
“There is no other way to describe the attitude of the Morrison government towards the Disability Royal Commission other than ‘laziness’.
“It is critical that these changes are urgently made to ensure that our Royal Commission can get on with its work and so that people can feel safe in the knowledge that their privacy will be protected.”
The education secretary says he won’t apologise for changing how exams are graded after he came under fire on the eve of A-level results being revealed.
Gavin Williamson said by allowing pupils to use their best results from mock exams, or a moderated system or by taking exams in October, students would “benefit”.
“I won’t apologise for the fact we want to make these changes because we do think they’ll benefit young people,” he said.
Late on Tuesday, he announced the “triple lock” system for England ahead of Thursday’s AS and A-level results, prompting criticism from Labour and teaching and student unions.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for statutory guidance to require colleges and universities to show greater flexibility in admissions.
He said it was a “blatant injustice” young people could have their futures decided by their postcode as a result of the exams system.
Shadow education secretary Kate Green told Sky News the announcement was “papering over the cracks of a system that really is in chaos”.
More from Gavin Williamson
But Mr Williamson defended the last-minute decision, made after Scotland was forced to scrap moderated grades after the downgrading of more than 124,000 results was reversed.
He said the government was confident they could deal with any appeals and said it was important they were dealt with swiftly to ensure any new grades were given in time to get into university.
“What’s so important is I do everything I can to ensure we have as fair a system as possible for every student and making sure that if we have to go that extra mile, as we have here, to give youngsters the best opportunity in life and make sure they get the grades they’ve been working towards and aspiring to,” he added.
“We think we’ve got the balance of the system absolutely right. We want to get this right for young people.
“We recognise during a global pandemic we’re having to do lots of things in a very different and unusual way, this is why we’re taking a different approach, a more generous approach in terms of the appeals process.
“These actions are about making sure young people succeed.”
With exams unable to take place due to the coronavirus lockdown, 250,000 students will receive results on Thursday based on predictions set by teachers.
But those predictions will be subject to moderation by exam boards who will attempt to ensure results are not inconsistent with previous years by adjusting the grades based on a school’s previous results.
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The Welsh exams regulator, Qualifications Wales, has indicated it will also stick with a moderated results process, rather than follow the example of the Scottish or English governments.
In Northern Ireland, the examinations body CCEA has said any students wishing to appeal their grade can use mock exams as part of their case – a move welcomed by Peter Weir, the education minister.
“I have made it clear that I do not want to see any pupil disadvantaged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it is important that qualification standards are maintained,” he said.
US media mogul Sumner Redstone, who took his father’s drive-in movie business and built it into an empire that included Paramount Pictures, CBS and MTV, has died aged 97.
The billionaire tycoon was remembered by ViacomCBS, which he led for decades, for his “unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company.”
During his colourful career, he became as well known for his family feuds as his aggressive corporate acquisitions.
Redstone was once sued by his son to break up the business, who then agreed a significant settlement to give up his voting shares.
His daughter Shari, with whom he was reunited after being estranged, said in a statement: “My father led an extraordinary life that not only shaped entertainment as we know it today, but created an incredible family legacy.
“Through it all, we shared a great love for one another and he was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
“I am so proud to be his daughter and I will miss him always.”
Born in 1923 in Boston, he attended Harvard and during the Second World War worked with an elite US Army unit that cracked Japanese codes.
He joined National Amusements, his family’s cinema chain in 1954, taking the helm in 1967.
Known for his straight talking and risk taking, Redstone was in his 60s in 1987 when he bought Viacom for $3.4bn (£2.6bn) with mostly borrowed money.
A few years later he acquired Paramount for more than $10bn (£7.7bn) and added CBS to the portfolio in 1999 in a deal valued at $37bn (£28bn).
ViacomCBS also owns the UK’s Channel 5.
Redstone, who often told interviewers that “content is king”, was estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth $4.6bn (£3.5bn).
One of his more high-profile fallouts was with Tom Cruise, whose couch-jumping antics on The Oprah Winfrey Show and embrace of Scientology led Redstone to cut short a deal with the film star and his production company.
“We don’t think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot,” he told The Wall Street Journal in 2006.
HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection (CHP) reported 62 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 4,243.
The newly-reported cases were one imported case and 61 local infections, Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, told a media briefing. Among the local cases, 33 were related to previously confirmed cases and sources of the other 28 cases were unknown. (Hong Kong-COVID-19)
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GENEVA — The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has surpassed 20 million, reaching 20,120,919 as of Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization. (WHO-COVID19-Cases)
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CAPE TOWN — Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato has applauded Hisense South Africa for making big contributions to the city as well as the nation’s economic development.
During a tour of the factory in the city’s Atlantis district on Tuesday, Plato applauded Hisense as “a landmark factory in Atlantis,” saying the company “is a tax-paying entity, and I want to see Hisense expand and become big in Cape Town.” (Hisense-SA)
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CANBERRA — Australia’s security agencies will be given the power to “hack back” against cyber attackers for the first time.
A Department of Home Affairs discussion paper published by News Corp Australia on Wednesday proposed national security laws that will allow a national emergency to be declared during cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. (Australia-Cyber crime)
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BEIJING — Authorities in Beijing are canceling flights, closing parks and alerting residents as the Chinese capital girds for what was predicted as the heaviest downpour since the start of this year’s flood season.
At least 291 flights have been canceled at the city’s two airports, Beijing Capital International Airport and Daxing International Airport, on Wednesday, airport authorities told Xinhua. (China-Rain-Beijing)
NEW DELHI: As Russia claimed that it has developed a coronavirus vaccine, India’s national expert committee on vaccine administration will meet on Wednesday to deliberate on key issues of suitable vaccine selection, procurement, delivery and who should be immunised on priority, keeping in mind logistics and equity aspects. Though the health ministry refused comment on the Russian claim, it said the mandate of the committee headed by Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul was to engage with all stakeholders, including state governments and vaccine manufacturers. “The terms of reference of the expert group include selecting a suitable vaccine, its delivery and prioritising groups that should receive it,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said. Apart from Paul and Bhushan, the panel includes foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, department of biotechnology secretary Renu Swarup, ICMR director general Balram Bhargava and All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Randeep Guleria, among others. Asked whether India could procure the Russian vaccine, the government said procurement and funding mechanisms, as well as how many doses may be needed, were under discussion. “The issue of requirement of vaccine and various modalities of funding the procurement of a possible vaccine have been engaging the attention of the ministry of health. There have been internal consultations, which have been going on. We have also consulted a large number of stakeholders, and we have also made certain projections. It would be premature to share those projections with you right now,” Bhushan said. In India, three vaccines are in the clinical trial stage. While Bharat Biotech and Cadila Healthcare are conducting phase 1 and 2 clinical trials on locally developed vaccine candidates, Pune-based Serum Institute is doing phase 3 trials for Oxford University’s vaccine candidate developed in the UK. The government has maintained that once an effective vaccine is available anywhere in the world, efforts will be made to ensure it is available to people in the country as well.
INDORE: Noted Urdu poet Dr Rahat Indori died following a massive heart attack on Tuesday, a day after he was admitted to a hospital upon testing Covid-19 positive. He was 70. Dr Indori suffered three consecutive cardiac episodes. After the first attack, he was stabilising, when the two successive cardiac episodes led to his death, Sri Aurbindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS) director Dr Vinod Bhandari told TOI. The Urdu poet was shifted to SAIMS, a Covid-19 care hospital after he suffered breathlessness and lung congestion at a local nursing home. “He presented with bilateral pneumonia with the involvement of 50% of his lungs,” Dr Bhandari said. Dr Indori also suffered from diabetes, hypertension and cardiac issues, he said. Born on January 1, 1950, Dr Indori had gained accolades for his Urdu poetry that on many occasions tickled the funny bones of the audience. He was also a Bollywood lyricist. A former Urdu professor, Dr Indori had taken part in numerous poetry meets in India and abroad. In Video:Rahat Indori passes away due to cardiac arrest after testing positive for COVID-19
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned the activities of “cruel” criminal gangs who are risking the lives of people by taking them across the Channel in potentially unseaworthy vessels.
Mr Johnson has vowed to work with the French authorities to stop the crossings and “make sure that they understand that this isn’t a good idea, this is a very bad and stupid and dangerous and criminal thing to do”.
Campaigners have accused Mr Johnson of using “inflammatory language”.
Lisa Doyle, the Refugee Council’s director of advocacy, said: “It’s incredibly disappointing to hear the prime minister using such inaccurate and inflammatory language to describe men, women and children who are desperate enough to make perilous journeys across the busiest shipping channel in the world.
“Seeking asylum is not a crime, and it is legitimate that people have to cross borders to do so.”
The Home Office has formally requested the help of the Royal Navy to deal with the crossings, with Home Secretary Priti Patel having vowed to make the English Channel an “unviable” route for migrants.
Government officials are also considering stronger enforcement measures such as adopting interceptions at sea and the direct return of boats.
Meanwhile, an RAF surveillance aircraft has been deployed over the Channel to support the UK’s Border Force.
But Minnie Rahman, from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said the government’s plans “will only serve to put people’s lives at ever graver risk and they make a mockery of protections for refugees”.
She added: “If the government were serious about tackling trafficking, and resolving this situation once and for all, it would open up safe and legal routes of entry to the UK.
“There are many ways to do so – for example, establishing a claims centre in France and introducing humanitarian visas for people seeking asylum.”
Downing Street has suggested leaving the EU would allow the UK to draw up a new framework for dealing with migrants, ending the “inflexible and rigid” requirements of the current Dublin Regulations.
Health minister Edward Argar told Sky News the prime minister wants “greater flexibility in returning people who have come here illegally, who have been through due process and need to be returned back to France”.
Network 10 is axing local bulletins in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth beneath a main restructure of its news operations.
Higher-profile presenters Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Natarsha Belling are predicted to get rid of their careers, together with weathermen Tim Bailey and Mike Larkin.
The network’s early morning software Studio 10 will be shaken up underneath the charge-reducing application.
Countrywide weekend bulletins and panel exhibit The Task will not be impacted.
Weekday news bulletins will be centralised in Sydney and Melbourne from 14 September under the restructure.
The Brisbane and Perth bulletins will be anchored in Sydney, whilst Melbourne will existing the Adelaide news.
Presenters, journalists and functions staff will all be targeted under the widespread cuts.
“These unpleasant variations reflect the condition of the media marketplace in recent several years and the have to have for all media providers to achieve new efficiencies,” Network 10 news director Ross Dagan said.
Community weather conditions presenters will be changed by a national meteorologist, having said that Network 10 will proceed to make use of employees in every metropolis.
“Even though our viewers in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth will see some on-air modifications, we will carry on to develop regional news and use neighborhood reporters, digital camera operators and production personnel in these towns,” Mr Dagan said.
The Media, Enjoyment and Arts Alliance is concerned the sackings will strip newsrooms and deprive audiences of local news.
MEAA spokesman Adam Portelli claimed centralising the information bulletins confirmed huge disrespect to viewers.
“The conclusion result of these cuts is that viewers will only request their information and details someplace else,” he mentioned.