Olympics-Amid opposition, Japan PM says has “never put Olympics first”


Japanese Prime Minister Suga holds a news conference in Tokyo
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, May 7, 2021. Hiro Komae/Pool via REUTERS

May 10, 2021

By Leika Kihara and Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that he has never “put the Olympics first”, as an opinion poll showed nearly 60% of people in Japan want the Games cancelled with fewer than eleven weeks left before they are due to open.

Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May and is struggling to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases, raising more questions about whether the Games should go ahead. Its vaccination rate is also the lowest among wealthy nations.

International Olympic officials, Tokyo planners and Suga himself have insisted the Games will go on in “a safe and secure” way. Foreign spectators will not be allowed and planners issued an elaborate set of rules last month aimed at preventing coronavirus infections.

But such arrangements have not eased public worries over the Games that were postponed last year due to the coronavirus.

A opinion survey conducted on May 7-9 by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily showed 59% of respondents wanted the Games cancelled as opposed to 39% who said they should be held. “Postponement” was not offered as an option.

Another poll conducted at the weekend by TBS News found 65% wanted the Games cancelled or postponed again. More than 300,000 people have signed a petition to cancel the Games since it was launched about five days ago.

Opposition members of parliament grilled Suga for hours about holding the Games under these circumstances.

In apparent acknowledgment of the public concern about holding the Games no matter what, Suga, when asked if the Games would go ahead even if infections spiked, replied: “I’ve never put Olympics first”.

“My priority has been to protect the lives and health of the Japanese population. We must first prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.

DECLINING SUPPORT

Voter support for Suga’s government is now at its lowest level since he took office last year, with a majority of the public unhappy with his handling of the pandemic, a poll showed.

A tweet by one of his advisers downplaying the pandemic and laughing off calls for the Games to be cancelled has also drawn public ire.

Suga has said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has the final say on the Games and the government’s role was to take steps so they can be held safely. Several test events with foreign athletes have been successfully held, most recently on Sunday.

A visit by IOC head Thomas Bach scheduled for May 17-18 has been cancelled “in the light of the extension of the state of emergency last week and various circumstances we are facing,” Tokyo 2020 organisers said in a statement.

“We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Japan and other relevant factors and will re-arrange his visit to Japan as soon as possible.”

Media said the visit would likely take place in June, with one outlet saying that lifting the state of emergency would be a prerequisite.

An official in Okayama prefecture said they were considering keeping the Olympic torch relay off public roads when it passes through next week. Though other prefectures have taken similar steps, they were under states of emergency or other restrictions at the time.

Top Olympic official John Coates said on Saturday that while public sentiment in Japan about the Games “was a concern” he could foresee no scenario under which the sporting extravaganza would not go ahead.

On Sunday, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka said that even though she had waited her whole life to take part in the Olympics, the risk of holding the Tokyo Games should be carefully discussed.

The Games are set to open on July 23 and run until Aug. 8.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies, Leika Kihara and Chang-ran Kim; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Michael Perry)

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Nick is booted and Danny is put in isolation


In one of the most thrilling episodes yet, tonight’s instalment of Big Brother took viewers on a wild ride through blindsides, broken alliances and shock illness.

But perhaps the biggest twist of all was Sonia Kruger throwing us this bondage-inspired eviction outfit:

RELATED: Star hospitalised after TikTok fail

We begin with the greatest game Big Brother has ever tasked a contestant with in the history of the show: asking Ari to liken each housemate to a different clothing brand.

He wastes no time is dishing out the shade, with his most stinging burns in no particular order including: labelling Tilly as Supre (“Bubbly, bright and on a budget”), Mel as “Target with a capital T”, Sid as Lowes, Danny as Ralph Lauren (“Wants everyone to think he’s wealthy but he’s not that wealthy”) and SJ Tree of Life.

Ari is by far the most entertaining person on this show. He should do kid’s birthday parties when it’s over.

RELATED: Big Brother star’s web of lies exposed

Elsewhere in the house, the big red button is still in play, throwing a series of lame punishments at the players.

Tilly and Jess are placed on cleaning duty, Danny has to play childhood classic “the floor is lava” or the rest of the house will be penalised (he fails and they’re forced to jump in the pool), Marley gets KFC and they all have to watch him eat it.

It’s been two episodes and already the big red button is getting old. How they’re going to squeeze a week’s worth of episodes out of this gimmick I do not know, but here we are.

Suddenly, the big red button is pushed and a plane soars by bearing the message “your loved ones are near”. A box of letters arrives at the door and there’s a flood of tears from each housemate as they read their notes aloud.

SJ’s husband tells her he’s been cleaning the house while she’s gone and he hopes he’s done an OK job. It doesn’t surprise me that SJ runs a tight ship at home and I nod in respect.

Danny gets a letter from his kids, bursting into tears before telling the others that his son calls him Chucky “because he vomits a lot”. It’s pretty touching stuff.

Meanwhile, Nick and Danny are lamenting the last eviction that saw loveable character Mitch booted from the game. They vow to do whatever it takes to stay in the house, deciding to strike a deal with Jess and Katie promising to protect each other in the next eviction.

Never has a more foolish move been played by Nick and Danny. Well, since last week when Nick blocked his own alliance member from the chance of trying to save himself from eviction.

Jess and Katie accept the offer, secretly deciding to break the promise should they win the next challenge, because it’s a competition and on the other side of this house they’re literally never going to see these people again.

However, disaster strikes overnight.

Danny is sent to the diary room complaining of dizziness, with a medic called in to assess him.

He’s put in isolation with a high temperature and temporarily removed from the game. Given he’s not able to compete in the next challenge, he won’t be eligible for nomination, tossing a spanner in the works of Jess and Katie’s plan to overthrow their competing alliance.

He’s cast away to the attic and SJ looks on with a pang of jealousy — her time in the attic is still her most cherished memory in the competition.

Big Brother sets another boring physical challenge that lasts approximately four and a half hours. Katie wins, and promptly puts Mel, Nick and Ari up for elimination.

Nick is livid and spends the afternoon twirling his moustache like a cartoon villain.

It’s eviction time and Sonia’s pared back BDSM look elicits an echo of “ooh” from the contestants when she pops up in the laser skirmish arena.

She begins to quiz the nominated housemates, with Nick launching a fiery tirade about a stunning betrayal of trust over the breaking of a sacred handshake.

“A handshake means very little in here, and people’s word means very little,” he spits, shaking his head in disgust while the others stare blankly ahead.

“A handshake does actually mean stuff all,” he repeats. The housemates shrug. No one seems to share his faith in the handshake.

Mel has an entirely different take, applauding the sneaky move by Katie and Jess.

“They wanted to get rid of us while they had the chance … they took the shot, good on ‘em,” she says, before breaking down in tears and delivering an impassioned speech about being “a normal person plucked off a farm giving a red hot go at it”. It’s a clever angle.

The votes are tallied and it becomes clear Mel — who only received one vote — voted for Nick. He’s been turned on by his own alliance and he’s beyond salty about it.

In a parting sledge to his former teammate, he roughly hands a jacket over to Mel and grunts “give that to Danny would ya … Can I trust you to give it to him?”

It’s not quite an Ari-level burn, but we’ll take it.

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Black Summer fire ban fallout put Brisbane Festival in audit office’s sights


By Matt Dennien

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Vintage frock collection put to good use in central Queensland op shop fundraiser


Ms Mason was a Darling Downs girl who loved to dance — and with every occasion, her good friend and dressmaker Thelma Beutel handcrafted her a new outfit to suit the latest fashion.

“These dresses are incredible,” Anglicare volunteer and colour stylist Jacquie Mackay said.

The eclectic collection of 70 dresses, accompanied by accessories including gloves, bags and hats, dates back to the mid-1900s.

“It really is something to be seen, it will bring back a lot of memories for a lot of people I’m sure,” Ms Mackay said.

“We start off with a dress that probably dates back to the 1940s which is a little bit austere … but it has the most beautiful beading, absolutely incredible hand beading.

“But then as we move into the 1950s, you start to get a lot more of the colours back in again, a lot more interesting in the design, little nipped in waist and full skirts with petticoats underneath.

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Animal-loving couple in Launceston put wedding on hold for pet rat rescue project


Ella Wright and Caleb Godden of Launceston are due to be married in April, but their big day may be pushed back due to rats.

The couple share their living room with 38 rodents thanks to a rat rescue project they began.

“We saw that there were some [pet rats] needing homes and rescue and it just blew up,” Ms Wright said.

Hazel Godden with two of the rats rescued by her parents.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott

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Starting a rat rescue

The decision to get two pet rats last year was one Ms Wright and Mr Godden took seriously.

“I did months of research before even looking at buying them, so I knew what to expect,” Ms Wright said.

But not long after acquiring Loki and Klaus, Ms Wright realised through her continued online research that relatively few other rat owners were as thorough as she had been.

“People get rats thinking they are small animals with small needs,” she said.

Close shot of a brown and white rat being patted by a female hand that has an engagement ring on it
Pet rats are more difficult and costly to care for than many people think, Ms Wright says.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott

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But rats, Ms Wright explains, have “complex needs” which, along with the cost of keeping them, result in many rat owners not caring for their animals adequately, and not wanting to keep them for long.

This situation, which Ms Wright said was exacerbated by pet owners returning to work and school after COVID restrictions ended, was one she felt she must address.

Rehoming rehabilitated rats

Most of the rats in the rescue project arrived after having been deemed “too old, ugly, unruly or disabled” to be kept by their previous owners, and rehabilitation was the primary purpose of the project.

Beyond addressing the rats’ physical needs, Ms Wright and Mr Godden also tend to their mental and emotional health.

Rats that go on to meet health and behavioural requirements set by Ms Wright then become candidates for rehoming.

Two baby rats, one without eyes open yet, being held by two hands
Baby rats for sale online are often bred at rodent mills, Ms Wright says.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott

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Potential owners must complete a “lengthy questionnaire” and an interview with Ms Wright to establish their ability to provide a “healthy, happy” rat home.

“[Among other things], we try to ensure that people are not going to live-feed our rats [to reptiles],” she said.

“If that happened, I would be devastated.”

Ms Wright creates a detailed “surrender profile” for each adopted rat, which she gives to its new owners, along with the promise of around-the-clock availability for consultation.

“[Running the rescue project] is 24-7 … but I do plan on taking a little bit of time off … for my wedding,” Ms Wright said.

A white and pale tan rat with pink eyes sitting on a pink folder with plastic sleeves containing a typed document
Muffin the rescued rat investigates her surrender profile.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott

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Rats are top priority

Even the wedding, Ms Wright admits, may take a backseat to the rats, just as many other things in her life with Mr Godden have.

Man wearing cap sitting on couch patting a pale grey pet rat on the head
Mr Godden says many people don’t give rats a chance.(

ABC Northern Tasmania: Sarah Abbott

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Money that would otherwise be saved for the wedding was currently set aside for rat surgeries, including an operation to remove a tumour from a grey male rat named Pumbaa.

“We are saving up for that … so that he can live a longer life,” Ms Wright said.

Extra funds will also be required to double the size of the rat rescue project, which Ms Wright and Mr Godden plan to do down the track.

“Obviously, that will come when we can afford a bigger house to put them all in,” Ms Wright said.

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AFL 2021″ Collingwood Magpie leaders put heat on Jordan De Goey to perform


In recent weeks, as the burden of responsibility in the midfield has fallen on two premiership veterans, Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom and exciting young talent Josh Daicos, who has been among the Magpies’ best in the past fortnight, the need for De Goey to join the leaders in driving standards is clear.

De Goey, who signed a two-year deal at the start of the season, has also expressed a desire to play in the midfield but has not put in a strong performance in that part of the ground since 2018 when he played mainly as a forward but was also capable of being an explosive presence in the centre square.

He has been compared externally to Richmond’s Dustin Martin and Melbourne’s Christian Petracca but his performance – even withstanding injury interruptions – has never reached their level.

Last year’s best and fairest winner, Adams, who has been watching on while recovering from injury, has been in a good position to observe from the sidelines the efforts of players when Collingwood does not have the ball and both he and Pendlebury are strong drivers of standards within the playing group.

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Bonegilla Migrant Experience to put more than 300,000 migrant identification cards online


Looking at her identification card, Doina Eitler starts talking about the long hair she wore in plaits when she arrived in Australia in 1949 as a 10-year-old.

“My mother wouldn’t allow me to cut it because she thought I would go astray,” she laughs.

Arriving from Austria, Donia and her family were some of the thousands of migrants who lived at Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre after World War II.

These days the camp, 12 kilometres east of Wodonga in Victoria’s north-east, is the Bonegilla Migrant Experience museum, telling the stories of more than 300,000 migrants who lived there while they were processed and assigned jobs.

Now 83, Ms Eitler is happy her family’s records will be digitised with an $800,000 regional tourism grant from the Victorian government.

She says this will help others piece together their family’s history.

“If it is online, it is there forever,” Ms Eitler said.

“It would be marvellous if they do that.”

Dr Bruce Pennay is a historian and Associate Professor from Charles Sturt University working on the digitisation project that will make thousands of identification cards accessible online. 

“They are the size of a photograph and they are stored in shoeboxes,” he said.

“There are about 800 cards in a box, and there are about 455 shoe boxes.

“What the digitisation of the cards shows is that this [Bonegilla Migrant Experience] is not just a national heritage place, it’s a public memory place.

The identification cards were kept by the government as a record of non-British migrants who came to Australia during the mass migration program after World War II.

Her family’s identification cards alone are enough to prompt many memories for Donia of her time at Bonegilla. For example, her mother’s missing occupation. 

“She was a doctor, but she couldn’t work in Australia,” she said.

“Mainly because she couldn’t speak English and no one would have been able to understand her.”

The Victorian government this week announced the $800,000 grant from the Regional Tourism investment fund.  

Regional Development Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said the funding would also help grow visitor numbers to the area.

“I know with one in 20 people having a connection to Bonegilla, this is only going to grow as an attraction and an experience,” she said.

“The $800,000 will help digitise more than 300,000 individual records and will also provide funding for an interpretation of those records.”

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Motorcyclist John Hadley dies on Ingle Farm street after being put in car following crash in Enfield


Neighbours have described their confusion after a motorcyclist injured in a crash was bundled into a car before later dying on a street in a different northern Adelaide suburb.

The victim, John Hadley, 45, was described as a loving dad by friends and family visiting the scene of the crash.

SA Police said emergency services were called to Whittington Street, Enfield, about 2:00am this morning after receiving reports that a motorcycle travelling east had crashed on the street.

Witnesses told police they saw a car stop and load the motorcycle rider into the car before driving away.

Later, around 2:40am, emergency services were called to Mark Court, Ingle Farm, about 6 kilometres away, after receiving reports that a motorcycle rider had been found unconscious on the street.

Mr Hadley died at the scene despite efforts from paramedics.

Adelaide man John Hadley died following the motorcycle crash.(

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Neighbours see man taken away

After crashing, Mr Hadley ended up under Taitusi Lasainajia’s work van on Whittington Street.

Mr Lasainajia said he heard a bang and went outside, only to see Mr Hadley underneath his van while his motorcycle whirred about 8 metres away.

He said it was obvious Mr Hadley was in pain but he did not know how badly he was injured.

A taller blonde woman hugs a shorter woman with brown hair while another woman looks on
John Hadley’s daughter (left) and friend Tamla Clogg cry while visiting the crash scene in Enfield.(

ABC News

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He said he went back inside to get his phone and then the victim had disappeared with what appeared to be friends.

Another neighbour, Sunil Bhetuwal, said he heard a person under the van shouting and crying before a woman spoke to him, “grabbed” him and put him in the back of a car.

“We don’t know the story behind it, but it was really shocking,” Mr Bhetuwal said.

Friend Tamla Clogg said Mr Hadley was “a great guy”, while comforting the victim’s distraught daughter at the scene in Enfield.

“He’s a good dad, he loved his daughter so much, he loved his kids so much — the best friend you could ever have,” she said.

“I’m going to miss him totally.”

Bouquets and iced coffee cartons next to a street sign
Tributes left for Mr Hadley in Enfield.(

ABC News

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Police investigating circumstances

Major Crash investigators examined the scene to work out the circumstances that led to the crash and the man’s death.

Police said investigators have spoken to those involved in picking up the man, but did not release any further details.

Police are urging anyone with information that may assist the investigation to contact Crime Stoppers.

The number of people killed on South Australia’s roads this year now stands at 22, compared to 19 at the same time last year.

Three men and a woman died in crashes over the Adelaide Cup weekend.

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Twins put INF JT Riddle on COVID injured list




FILE PHOTO: Apr 14, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop JT Riddle (15) throws the ball to first base for an out in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

April 22, 2021

Infielder JT Riddle became the latest member of the Minnesota Twins to be placed on the COVID-19 injured list on Wednesday.

He has appeared in four games for the Twins this season, batting .333 (2-for-6) with a run scored.

On Tuesday, the Twins put outfielders Max Kepler and Kyle Garlick as well as left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar on the COVID list.

To replace Riddle on the roster, the Twins brought up catcher Tomas Telis, 29, from the taxi squad. Telis spent the 2020 season at the alternate training site in St. Paul and has appeared in 122 major league games with the Texas Rangers (2014-15) and Miami Marlins (2015-18). He has a career average of .230 with one home run and 24 RBIs.

The Twins had three road games postponed due to a COVID outbreak within their clubhouse, two against the Los Angels last weekend and one against the Oakland Athletics on Monday.

The Twins and A’s played a doubleheader on Tuesday, with the A’s sweeping, and are set for the series finale on Wednesday. Riddle appeared as a pinch runner in the second game of the twin bill.

It’s not clear if Riddle, Kepler, Garlick and Thielbar tested positive or were deemed close contacts to reported positive tests within the organization. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons tested positive last week as did a staffer later in the week.

(Field Level Media)




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Bunnings open to ‘discussing further support’ for national vaccine rollout, but no proposal has been put to federal government


Hardware chain Bunnings has hosed down suggestions it has offered to convert its car parks into mass vaccination hubs, saying it is open to “discussing further support” for the nation’s vaccine rollout program but no proposal has been put to the government.

Australia will fast-track its COVID-19 vaccine rollout for people older than 50 next month, as National Cabinet seeks to reset the nation’s troubled vaccination program.

Bunnings hosted testing clinics in some of its car parks in the early days of the pandemic, and this week reports surfaced it had an “open offer” to help the federal government with the rollout, which has been plagued by logistical issues.

While there is no offer currently in front of the government, Bunnings’ chief operating officer Deb Poole said the company was “always open” to discussing additional support.

“We’ve previously supported the government and the community by hosting COVID-19 testing in some of our store car parks and we’re always open to discussing further support directly with the government,” she said in a statement.

It’s understood there are a number of logistical issues that would need to be worked through, should the company be asked for assistance.

Bunnings hosted testing clinics in some of its car parks in the early days of the pandemic.(

ABC News: Gemma Hall

)

Asked if the federal government had sought further support or would consider such sites for potential vaccination hubs, Health Minister Greg Hunt’s office referred to the Prime Minister’s comments about changes to Australia’s vaccine strategy.

On Thursday, Scott Morrison announced National Cabinet had agreed to bring forward the planned rollout, with those over 50 to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The fast-tracking will see state-run clinics offer the AstraZeneca jab to over 50s from May 3, and at GP clinics from May 17.

As of April 22, about 1.8 million Australians had received a vaccine.

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