Push bike rider critical after crash – Mosman


A woman is in a critical condition after a crash between a motor vehicle and a push bike on Sydney’s North Shore.

About 9.15am today (Sunday 6 June 2021), emergency services responded to reports of a crash between a silver Mercedes hatchback and a push bike rider at the intersection of Clanalpine and Raglan streets, Mosman.

Officers from North Shore Police Area Command attended and secured a crime scene.

The push bike rider, a woman in her 70s, was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to Royal North Shore Hospital in a critical condition.

A 21-year-old woman who was the driver of the vehicle has also been taken to Royal North Shore Hospital for mandatory testing.

Local traffic diversions have been implemented and motorists are urged to avoid the area.

Officers from the Crash Investigation Unit are currently on scene investigating the circumstances of the crash.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or has dashcam footage of the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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Lagging infrastructure the key to Brisbane’s e-mobility push, sector says


By Matt Dennien

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RA’s push for reform gaining momentum following Sydney meeting


RA pitched its plan to recapitalise its balance sheet, through private equity help, to be able to invest in the future.

“It was a productive day with full engagement from all members,” RA chief executive Andy Marinos said in a statement. “There was agreement amongst all members that the current operating model does need to change. RA will provide further information for the unions to interrogate including various funding options.

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan speaking at a 2027 Rugby World Cup bid function.

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan speaking at a 2027 Rugby World Cup bid function. Credit:Getty

“This is the first of a number of meetings we will have throughout the year as we work in union for the benefit of our game.”

There have been slight changes to the constitution in recent years but in 2012 the Australian Rugby Union (now Rugby Australia) voted to adopt a new governance model and changed its voting process following a review by former federal senator and sports minister Mark Arbib.

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There was a voting number increase from 14 to 16, with NSW and Queensland currently receiving three votes each: one for member union status, one for having a Super Rugby team and one for having more than 50,000 registered participants. Other state and territories receive one or two votes.

It is unclear whether RA’s private equity pitch was agreed to by all parties.

Last month RA announced a $27.1 million loss in 2020. At the time, McLennan said talks were progressing well with private equity.

“We’ve started organising documents, we’re off and running in that regard,” McLennan said. “The stake will be between 10 and 15 per cent, probably 12.5.”

Outgoing NSW Rugby chairman Roger Davis said last month he supported an injection of capital.

“I’ve been a strong supporter of private equity since we took it to Rugby Australia two-and-a-half years ago and had it thrown back in our face,” Davis said. “Structured appropriately, with the right governance model, it provides a much-needed source of capital and it will drive content. I think the headline benefits are substantial.”

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France, African leaders push to redirect $100 billion in IMF SDR reserves by October


French President Macron chairs a summit on development in Africa
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron welcome Angolan President Joao Lourenco, accompanied by his wife Ana Dias Lourenco, for a dinner with leaders of African states and international organisations on the eve of a summit on aid for Africa, at Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

May 19, 2021

By John Irish

PARIS (Reuters) -French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday a summit in Paris on Africa financing had agreed to work towards persuading rich nations by October to reallocate $100 billion in IMF special drawing rights monetary reserves to African states.

Impoverished African economies must not be left behind in the post-pandemic economic recovery and a substantial financial package is needed to provide much-needed economic stimulus, African and European leaders concluded at a summit in Paris.

In the immediate term, that meant accelerating the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and creating the fiscal breathing room for African nations, which will face a spending shortfall of some $285 billion over the next two years, the summit communique showed.

The communique set out a two-pronged response based on addressing financing needs to support a sustainable, green recovery and the underpinning of private-sector-driven growth – but it was light on concrete commitments.

“This is a new start, a new deal for Africa,” Senegalese President Macky Sall told reporters.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva said it was time to stem the “dangerous divergence between advanced economies and developing countries, especially (in) Africa.”

Georgieva said the African continent’s economic output would increase by only 3.2% in 2021, compared with 6% in the rest of the world.

Central to the talks was the question of how to reallocate IMF reserves (SDRs) that were earmarked for developed countries towards developing economies.

World finance chiefs agreed in April to boost SDRs by $650 billion and extend a debt-servicing freeze to help developing countries deal with the pandemic, although only $34 billion was to be allocated to Africa.

Macron said France had decided to redirect its SDRs and that there had been an accord to try to get rich nations by October to reallocate $100 billion to Africa.

“Our work in the next few weeks will be to make the same rate of effort as France, starting with the United States of America, and I know all the work that we will have to do with Congress and the executive, but I am confident,” he told reporters.

Georgieva pledged to come up with a new allocation proposal by August.

“On the $100 billion, is it enough? Let’s be very clear, no it is not enough. We have a financial gap just to catch up with the impact of COVID for the continent of Africa of $285 billion, she said. “It is genuinely an all-hands-on-deck situation.”

“We have to make the private sector attracted to go into a risky environment by de-risking investments.”

The summit was part of Macron’s efforts to recast France’s engagement in Africa, where it was once a colonial power, at a time when the continent faces a near $300 billion deficit by the end of 2023 while trying to recover from the downturn.

The African Development Bank forecasts that up to 39 million people could fall into poverty this year, with many African countries at risk of debt distress because of the pandemic.

(Reporting by John Irish; Additional reporting by Richard Lough, Leigh Thomas and David Lawder; Editing by William Maclean and Peter Cooney)

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New push to give Australia’s hairstylists formal training to help deal with customers’ problems


Nicole Serafin has been a hairdresser for 30 years and hasn’t often felt stumped for something to say.

But when she was a young apprentice, a client having her hair blow-dried revealed something that threw her.

“They’re upset, their husband’s just passed away and they’re in the middle of organising a funeral. I didn’t actually know what to say,” she said.

The incident happened not long after Ms Serafin started her training at the age of 14. 

Olivia Pollard Hayden, 22, is a second year apprentice hairstylist who has already heard many intimate stories in her short time in the job.

 “Clients do tell you some pretty heavy personal information,” she said.

“I’ve had people tell me [about] domestic violence issues … drug and alcohol issues. Anything from terminal illnesses, or them suffering from depression, anxiety.

“I haven’t had any sort of training or anything. I’ve just kind of had to … read from whoever I’m talking to at the time on how to really approach that.”

Now, hairdressers are asking for help, as industry surveys confirm they are exposed to clients facing problems like family violence, mental health and trauma, often amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent survey by the Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC) about the impact of coronavirus in 2020, found that for the majority, uncertainty had caused increased stress, with mental health and financial concerns rating the highest.

The Hair Stylists Association (HSA), wants to work with the industry to make sure workers’ mental health is addressed through a review of training given to apprentices hairdressers.

Daniel Walton, national secretary of the HSA’s umbrella body, the Australian Workers Union (AWU), said hairstylists had been at the coalface, as support services reported a surge of new clients during the pandemic.

“When you sit down at the hairdresser or barber, a lot of people like to talk about what’s going on in life and hair stylists right around the country are some of the youngest psychologists helping and assisting people dealing with the issues that they face on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

Industry stress has been amplified since hairstylists were ruled “essential” during the COVID lockdown, but struggled to have their health concerns about exposure to the virus acknowledged.

Hairdressers and beauty workers should be acknowledged for “acting like makeshift counsellors”, Hannah McCann, senior lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne, said.

Dr McCann’s 2020 survey of nearly 400 salon workers showed one in five had clients who disclosed family or gender-based violence during the year.

As part of her Beauty Salon Project, Dr McCann found many salon workers simply did not know where to send their clients for help.

“For the most part you have an industry full of people that really just are responding to these things with their common sense,” she said.

She warned that a client who followed advice to “just leave him” could potentially be placed in danger, with homicide a risk factor after separation.

“So it’s not a good thing to not have supports around this for the clients or for the staff,” she said.

The 2015 Royal Commission into Family Violence found that family violence could be identified early through individuals having hair and beauty care.

In the wake of that finding, the “HaiR 3Rs” program at the Eastern Domestic Violence service in Melbourne and Hairdressers with Hearts in Queensland now offer training in how to help people in this situation.

HaiR 3Rs offers a free, three-hour session in the salon or via zoom, to help “recognise signs of family violence, respond appropriately, and refer clients onto a family violence service”.

It’s a positive development and evidence things are slowly changing, Dr McCann believes.

“They [salon workers] said that one of the best things about the training was it was opening up space for acknowledging, that this is part of their work … but also, then giving them some supports for referral,” she said.

Ms Serafin wants more training for apprentices but believes more support is needed overall to prevent burnout and people leaving the industry.

“I know councillors, psychologists and psychiatrists have buddy systems, where they have people or places they can go to to kind of debrief about their days or certain clients or whatever,” she said.

“What’s happening at the moment is the only support we have really is within the industry or our partners, our friends.”

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Push to extend out of home care to young people aged up to 21




Half of all young Australians who leave foster or residential care end up homeless, in jail or pregnant within 12 months, according to official figures. Now there are calls to extended support services in Canberra. Harry Frost reports.

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US consumer confidence hit by inflation worries, but markets push higher – as it happened


Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

  • US consumer confidence hit by inflation worries
  • Inflation expectations jump
  • US retail sales flat in April after March surge

Earlier:

  • SFO investigating GFG Alliance
  • Full story: Investigation includes arrangements with Greensill
  • Amazon to hire 10,000 more UK staff
  • FTSE 100 rallies, but mining companies drag
  • Introduction: Iron ore prices plunge in China amid clampdown.
  • Full story: Bank of England head says drivers of inflation will not persist

6.08pm BST

After a week dominated by worries about inflation, US consumer confidence has taken a hit…. but the markets seem less concerned tonight.

US consumers are increasingly worried about rising prices, according to the University of Michigan’s monthly gauge. It fell unexpectedly this month, with inflation expectations rising to the highest level in a decade.

Related: Global shortage of computer chips could last two years, says IBM boss

Related: SFO launches inquiry into Gupta firms, including Greensill finance links

Related: Amanda Wakeley fashion label falls into administration

Related: Amazon creates 10,000 UK jobs on back of online shopping boom

Related: Consumer groups welcome move to ensure finance firms put customers first

5.32pm BST

In other news today, a campaign has been launched to encourage the UK’s largest companies to fast-track payments to small suppliers

Called the Good Business Pays campaign, it is encouraging major firms to give smaller organisations a helping hand out of the pandemic, by paying swiftly.

“Late payments have long been a scourge, causing financial hardship for smaller suppliers and contractors, and inhibiting their ability to grow. There have been some important steps along the way to improve this, including development of the role of Small Business Commissioner.

But more needs to be done to ensure small businesses and the self-employed are paid on time for work done and products provided, and that includes a cultural shift in bigger businesses towards faster payment practices. Good Business Pays is an excellent opportunity to create both pressure and a positive argument for change.”

Today we support the launch of the #GoodBusinessPays campaign, tackling the issue of late payments to small businesses as we look to build back stronger from the pandemic.
Find out more and sign up here https://t.co/hHBxhSOgqf#SMEs #smallbusinessowners @GBP_Movement pic.twitter.com/Nltl0zif9H

Continue reading…

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White House Is Said to Quietly Push Change to D.C. Statehood Bill


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has quietly approached congressional Democrats about a potential change to their high-profile but long-shot effort to transform most of the District of Columbia into the nation’s 51st state, according to executive and legislative branch officials.

The bill, which passed the House last month but faces steep odds in the Senate, would admit the residential and commercial areas of the District of Columbia as a new state and leave behind a rump federal enclave encompassing the seat of government, including the Capitol, White House, Supreme Court, other federal buildings and monuments.

The deliberations center on the Constitution’s 23rd Amendment, which gives three Electoral College votes in presidential elections to the seat of government. If it is not repealed after any statehood, the bill would try to block the appointment of the three presidential electors. But the administration is said to have proposed instead giving them to the winner of the popular vote.

Officials familiar with the discussion spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the political delicacy of the matter at a time when Republicans have been raising legal and policy objections to granting statehood to the District of Columbia’s 700,000 residents. Such a step would create two additional Senate seats that Democrats would most likely win, as well as grant a vote to the lone representative in the House.

But a White House lawyer acknowledged the interbranch dialogue among Democrats, saying: “Admitting D.C. as a state is comfortably within Congress’ power — arguments to the contrary are unfounded. But we also think there are ways to allay the concerns that have been raised, and that’s why we’re working with Congress to make the bill as strong as possible.”

In late April, the White House endorsed the statehood bill in a policy statement. But a little-noticed line also hinted that part of the legislation, known as H.R. 51, had given President Biden’s legal team pause.

“The administration looks forward to working with the Congress as H.R. 51 proceeds through the legislative process to ensure that it comports with Congress’ constitutional responsibilities and its constitutional authority to admit new states to the Union by legislation,” it said.

If political conditions ever shift enough that the Senate someday approves granting statehood to the District of Columbia — which would become the smallest state by land area, though its population exceeds Vermont and Wyoming — Republican-controlled states are widely expected to sue to challenge its constitutionality.

The Supreme Court might dismiss such a case on the grounds that it raises the sort of question that the politically elected branches must decide. In 1875, it rejected a case challenging the 1845 retrocession to Virginia of a former part of the district partly on such logic. But if the justices were to reach the legal merits, they would confront several novel issues.

Democrats are said to generally agree that two legal objections Republicans have raised to the bill — that Maryland might have to approve statehood because the land was in that state’s jurisdiction before 1790, and that it might be unconstitutional to shrink the size of the federal enclave holding the seat of government — are less serious threats. They see those arguments as not supported by the explicit text of the relevant portions of the Constitution.

But how best to navigate the 23rd Amendment if it is not repealed gave the administration legal team greater pause, officials said. The amendment says the seat of the federal government “shall” appoint three presidential electors.

It is not clear how many, if any, potential voters would be left there. The only residence in the rump federal enclave would be the White House; presidential families traditionally choose to vote in their home states, but nothing forces them to do so. In theory, homeless people might also claim residency in the envisioned enclave.

As a fallback if the amendment is not swiftly repealed, the statehood bill would make two changes by statute: Legal residents of the enclave — if there are any — could vote by absentee ballot in their previous states, and legal procedures for appointing any electors would be rescinded.

But an opponent of the bill, Roger Pilon, a former Reagan administration official and a legal scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, argued that this mechanism would not work. Congress, he said in prepared House testimony this year, cannot use a statute to eliminate a constitutional directive, nor to take away people’s constitutional rights.

Democrats are discussing changing the bill to use a different mechanism. Instead of trying to block the appointment of electors for the federal seat, Congress would enact a law designating them in a particular way. (The 23rd Amendment says the federal seat’s presidential electors shall be appointed “in such manner as the Congress may direct.”)

One possibility is to add those three votes to the total of whichever candidate has otherwise won the Electoral College. Another is to award them to the winner of the national popular vote, which in a very close election might change the outcome.

It is unclear whether such a change would reflect legal concerns or the notion that it would be a wiser policy approach.

As a matter of political reality, giving the electors to the winner of the popular vote might spur Republican-controlled state legislatures to cooperate in swiftly repealing the amendment rather than obstructing the effort out of partisan pique: Since 2000, Republican presidential candidates have twice won the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote.

The popular vote idea was proposed last year by two Columbia University law professors, Jessica Bulman-Pozen and Olatunde Johnson.

Ms. Bulman-Pozen, who worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Obama administration, said that she thought the Supreme Court would hold that the existing bill was constitutional, but that she did not believe it was as “elegant” as bestowing those electoral votes on the winner of the popular vote.

“I don’t think it’s the best fit with the text,” she said of the bill’s current approach, adding, “Congress has other options it should consider — even if it hopes for repeal of the 23rd Amendment.”

But Mr. Pilon expressed skepticism about the proposed revision, too, arguing that it would undercut the spirit of the 23rd Amendment.

“The whole deal is an extraordinarily convoluted effort to get around the fact” that the District of Columbia “was never contemplated to be the source of a future state,” he said.

The deliberations are playing out against the backdrop of growing — yet incomplete — support in the Democratic Party for statehood. Advocates are trying to shore up that support to lay groundwork for someday passing the bill if conditions change.

“I am actively engaging with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to make the case for D.C. statehood because this is not a partisan issue, but an issue of basic fairness and equal representation for all citizens,” said Senator Thomas R. Carper, a Delaware Democrat who has picked up the mantle for the cause in the Senate.

A chief obstacle is the Senate filibuster rule; the votes of 10 Republicans and all 50 Democrats would be needed to overcome it. Even as the bill has a record number of Democratic co-sponsors, including Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire this week, four lawmakers have not signed on, according to Mr. Carper’s office. Those four include Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who sits on the evenly divided committee responsible for processing the legislation.

Another, Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, recently told a radio show that he believed a constitutional amendment was needed to admit the District of Columbia as a state. He cited the history of debate over ways to give full representation to its residents, including comments by some prominent Democratic legal officials in the 1960s and 1970s.

Other Democrats, however, have pointed out that the context of those historical comments centered on proposals that were different than this era’s idea.

On the day of Mr. Manchin’s remarks, the district’s nonvoting representative and the chief sponsor of the bill in the House, Eleanor Holmes Norton, a delegate, issued a statement that sought to rebut the idea that amending the Constitution was necessary. As part of that argument, she raised the alternative approach that the Biden team has been privately urging.

“Congress could choose, for example, to award the electors to the winner of the Electoral College or the national popular vote to prevent the reduced federal district from controlling electoral votes,” she declared.

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Addiction workers back push for more Victorian safe injecting rooms in Melbourne suburbs


Drug rehabilitation services have backed a push from crossbench MP Fiona Patten for three more safe injecting rooms in Melbourne’s suburbs.

Ms Patten, who is an Upper House MP and the leader of the Reason Party, suggested the new sites be set up at St Kilda, Footscray and Dandenong.

They would take the state’s safe injecting facilities to five, including the site that has run at North Richmond since 2018 and another planned for Melbourne’s CBD near the Queen Victoria Market.

“When you look at the ambulance callout statistics it’s very clear that we need these types of centres in other areas of Melbourne, not just Richmond,” Ms Patten said.

“The reason the injecting room was opened in North Richmond was because the community was concerned,” she said.

“They were concerned about the 24/7 ambulance callouts, the people dying literally in their front gardens, the people overdosing on their front footpath.

A review into the North Richmond safe injecting room found the centre had recorded 119,000 visits over 18 months and saved at least 21 lives.

Some parents from the nearby Richmond West Primary School believe the centre has exacerbated long-running issues with public drug use in the area.

Opposition health spokesperson Georgie Crozier said the North Richmond facility had been a “disaster” for local residents due to its proximity to the primary school.

She said residents had reported a “honey pot” effect at the centre, drawing in more people with severe drug addictions.

Ms Crozier said rather than more injecting rooms, the government should be funding more rehabilitation services.

But drug and alcohol psychologist Stefan Gruenert said while it was true that greater investment was needed in rehabilitation services, safe injecting rooms played a unique role.

“People are at very different points in their drug-using history, and for many people their drug use will span 20, 30 years,” he said.

“You need services providing prevention and education in schools, you need harm-reduction services like supervised injecting rooms when people are actively using, to keep them safe.

“And then you need telephone support and you need counselling and you need day programs and residential programs.”

Dr Gruenert is the CEO of Odyssey House, which provides services from more than 20 different outlets across Melbourne and regional Victoria, as well as running three drug rehabilitation facilities.

He said drug use occurred right across Melbourne and Victoria, and having more supervised injecting rooms would keep more people safe.

“Currently, with only one supervised injecting room, it means that people do need to travel long distances, but also have a very dense area where that’s all happening,” Dr Gruenert said.

“And if we are able to have multiple rooms in the areas where they’re most needed, it really spreads the problem out, too.”

In making her pitch, Ms Patten highlighted the Canadian city of Vancouver, which she said had a tenth of the population of Melbourne but close to eight injecting rooms.

Dr Gruenert said Vancouver was a “really good example” of a community that had placed centres of varying sizes in the areas where they were most needed.

Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) CEO Andrew Bruun also backed the call for more supervised drug-use facilities, but has called for them to be opened up to children as well.

At the moment, the North Richmond safe injecting service is only open to those aged over 18.

Mr Bruun said the reality was some children were using drugs, and they needed to be able to access the same support services.

“We’ve got to see the world as it is, rather than as we wish it to be,” he said.

“And the facts are, there’s some young people who are particularly disadvantaged and troubled, who are under 18, who use drugs in very harmful ways.”

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Massive street parties erupt in Spain as nation celebrates lifting of six-month national curfew – while hotel owners push for inclusion on UK’s ‘green list’



Spaniards have celebrated the end of a six-month national night-time Covid curfew with raucous New Years Eve-style early hours’ street parties. 

Large groups of revellers chanted ‘Freedom’ and sang songs as they unleashed their emotions and boozed on take-out alcohol after the threat of fines of more than £500 was lifted. 

There were reports of clashes between partygoers and police in some parts of Madrid as officers tried to dissolve large gatherings of people without face masks on. 

The surreal scenes, dubbed today by local media as a New Year’s Eve night in May, came 48 hours after Spain’s popular Brit holiday destinations were hit with the hammer blow of failing to make the UK’s ‘green list’. 

The bizarre end to a six-month Spanish government-imposed state of alarm which provided the legal framework for restrictions including the night-time curfew, meant millions of Spaniards had to be indoors by 11pm on Saturday but were free to go out at midnight. 

Many youngsters in Spain’s two largest cities Barcelona and Madrid are said to have carried on partying anyway as they counted down the 60 minutes to the recovery of their freedom of movement. 

The end of the state of alarm has given rise to a confusing situation in Spain in which Covid restrictions vary wildly between regions. 

Restrictions on movement around the country have been lifted, meaning the Costa resorts currently deprived of British tourists can welcome back holidaymakers from across the country.  

The night-time curfew has been lifted in most parts of Spain including its most populated region Andalucia which covers the Costa del Sol where restaurants can open till midnight and late-night bars and nightclubs until 2am. 

But the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community, which includes the Costa Blanca, are maintaining their night-time curfews. 

Late on Saturday night 16 people were arrested for public order offences after gathering in a city centre square in the Majorcan capital Palma as the local 11pm curfew kicked in and allegedly throwing missiles including stones at police when they were ordered to leave the area. 

Spain is hoping to make the UK’s green list in the next British government announcement on the traffic-light system at the start of June. 

Portugal and Gibraltar have been put on the green list and tourists will be able to travel there from May 17, but Spain including the Balearic and Canary Islands have been given amber status meaning quarantine on top of expensive Covid tests. 

Ibiza hotel owner Jose Antonio Llano Mari, president of the PIMEEF association of small and medium-sized business on the island and neighbouring Formentera, branded the decision a ‘massive blow.’ 

He said: ‘It’s a great disappointment. We have begun to receive cancellations. It’s been immediate.’ 

Claiming the Balearic Islands should have been treated separately from the Spanish mainland because of their lower rate of coronavirus contagion, he told newspaper Periodico de Ibiza: ‘The Spanish government and our regional government should make the British government change this decision so we’re treated as independent islands to the rest of Spain.’ 

Iago Negueruela, the Balearic Islands’ government’s tourism minister, added: ‘The decision penalises us because London is treating Spain as a country when there are many regions with much higher average contagion rates than ours.’

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