Bushfire on Figure of Eight Island raises questions about Indigenous history, future management


Only a handful of people ever knew that Figure of Eight Island was on fire.

During the horror Australian summer of 2019–20, the nation’s eyes were fixed on the east coast’s bushfires when a lightning strike hit the small, uninhabited island off the coast of Esperance in Western Australia.

It triggered a blaze that burned for a couple of days before fizzling out.

But the full scope of its impact is just now being measured.

Last month, more than a year after the fire, a team of researchers and rangers travelled to the island to be met by only a lone baby bird.

The chick was a short-tailed shearwater, also known as a Tasmanian mutton bird, and its presence confirmed what marine biologist Jennifer Lavers long-suspected: that Figure of Eight Island may have once been home to the nation’s western-most population of the species.

Jennifer Lavers may have found Australia’s western-most population of short-tailed shearwaters.(

ABC News

)

But for now at least, it appears that home has been destroyed.

“We had heard that at least part of the island had experienced a bushfire,” Dr Lavers said.

“[But] almost immediately after we arrived we could see that almost the entire island had been encompassed in the fire.

“The burrows that the seabirds would normally live in have been completely washed away and it is essentially just a barren habitat.”

Only one baby bird found

Figure of Eight Island is off the south-west coast of Esperance, at the western point of the Recherche Archipelago, a group of more than 100 islands.

They are wild and unforgiving and over the years have become known for extraordinary stories: a murderous pirate, marooned prisoners, fearless surfers and sharks.

Figure of Eight Island is located approximately 30km south-west of Esperance.(

Supplied: Google Maps

)

But Dr Laver’s interest in Figure of Eight lay in old records from the 1950s, that indicated the island might be home to a short-tailed shearwater colony.

That would be significant, given the next closest colony was believed to be on Wickam Island, 200 kilometres away on the far-eastern side of the archipelago.

After years of visiting the Esperance region, conditions were finally good enough for Dr Lavers and a team of rangers to make the treacherous ocean crossing last month.

Charred island scrubland
Fire has decimated shearwater habitat on Figure of Eight Island.(

Supplied: David Guilfoyle

)

But the island was eerily quiet when they arrived.

At this time of year, Dr Lavers said the island should have been alive with the seabird colony in the middle of its breeding season.

But the only trace she could find among the many abandoned burrows was the one baby chick — a meagre offering but enough to confirm the species’ presence.

Yet questions about the rest of the colony linger, and, given the suspected decline of the species’ globally, those answers may have broad implications.

Dr Lavers said it would definitely be the subject of future research.

Understanding an ancient story

The missing shearwater colony was not the only mystery created by the fire.

During the research trip, traditional owner Doc Reynolds said rangers and in-house archaeologists discovered stone tools on the island, which he said was probable evidence of Aboriginal occupation.

Two people walk across the island, the ocean is visible in the distance
Rangers map the location of shearwater burrows on Figure of Eight Island.(

Supplied: David Guilfoyle

)

Mr Reynolds said this made sense as the islands had been connected to the mainland before sea levels rose thousands of years ago, and cultural sites had already been discovered on other islands in and around the archipelago.

He said after consulting with local elders, the rangers would likely return to the island and carry out an excavation to try and find material that could be dated to give a likely timeframe of when people last lived there.

Sand dune’s age determined

The discovery tied in well with another project that rangers from the Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (ETNTAC) had been working on, which dated the age of sand dunes east of Esperance.

Using a PVC pipe, they collected sand from about a metre below the surface of a dune at Wharton Beach.

The trio stand on the island, with the ocean behind them
Rangers and Dr Lavers look for short-tailed shearwaters.(

Supplied: David Guilfoyle

)

After sending it away from analysis, they discovered the sand had not seen sunlight for about 4,700 years, which meant the sand dune was at least that old.

David Guilfoyle, the healthy country plan coordinator for ETNTAC, said the studies could give insights about how people coped with sea level rise and climate change, which could provide today’s society with valuable lessons.

“It’s an epic journey that people have been on for thousands of years.

“And we’re just getting glimpses of it from this type of work.”

Mr Guilfoyle said the island’s Indigenous ancestors had a “deep understanding” of the land.

“We see the immense value of integrating cultural knowledge systems into research and planning,” he said.

“They’ve experienced climate change, been through it, they knew how systems function — the seasons, plant life, the animal life — so we’re tapping into that now.”

Rangers work on the dune, the ocean is seen in the background
A sand dune near Esperance was found to be about 4,700 years old.(

Supplied: David Guilfoyle

)

‘Pristine’ islands require protection

Mr Guilfoyle said the stories recently exposed at Figure of Eight Island showed that even though the Recherche Archipelago was pristine and relatively unchartered, it needed management and care to remain that way.

Mr Guilfoyle said work needed to be done to reduce the island’s fuel loads, manage invasive weeds, monitor significant wildlife and protect cultural sites.

A weed shoot in the sand
Invasive weeds are colonising the charred island.(

Supplied: David Guilfoyle

)

Currently, the islands are managed by the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

The department says that Figure of Eight Island will recover on its own.

“Results from previous survey work indicate the islands recover naturally after bushfires,” a spokesperson said.

“As with previous bushfire recovery, bird populations are known to return to the islands within a few years to reoccupy burrows.”

A decade of recovery

Mr Guilfoyle believed the best way forward for the Recherche Archipelago was a collaborative approach where the ETNTAC rangers pooled funding and resources with DBCA and universities.

Mr Reynolds said continued support from the state and federal government was critical to continue cultural mapping.

He wants to see the local rangers at the forefront of researching and protecting the archipelago into the future.

Dr Lavers said the community could help by providing photos or drone footage of Figure of Eight Island before or after the fire.

But she warned that if anyone was to visit the island they should not venture off the beach as it could destroy the shearwaters’ nesting habitat.

“But it will really be the rangers and community telling me just how right I am in making that prediction.”

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Sputnik V’s ugly cousin. Clinical results for Russia’s EpiVacCorona vaccine are finally here, but developers published in an obscure local journal, raising questions and concerns




As the drug’s developers promised in a recent interview with Meduza, we now have a peer-reviewed scientific article that makes the case for EpiVacCorona, Russia’s latest coronavirus vaccine. Though the research didn’t arrive until March 25, the drug itself won regulatory approval back in October 2020 and has been available to Russian patients outside clinical trials for months. Until yesterday, the only public information about the vaccine was limited to two patents, several statements by Russia’s consumer protection agency (which controls the institute that developed EpiVacCorona), and a few interviews with the drug’s creators. Unfortunately, the long-awaited evidence leaves much to be desired. Notably, scientists released the article in a little-known Russian journal called Infection and Immunity, despite indications from health officials that the research would appear in a more authoritative outlet like The New English Journal of Medicine or The Lancet (which published the first peer-reviewed evidence for the “Sputnik V” vaccine). Meduza reviewed the EpiVacCorona article and asked three experts to assess its strengths and weaknesses.

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Brisbane and Moreton Bay are on high alert, so what are the new COVID-19 restrictions? Your questions answered


It comes as genomic testing confirmed the man’s case is linked to an earlier cluster involving a doctor at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

As a major contact tracing effort gets underway, health authorities have imposed extra restrictions across the region.

So how might these restrictions impact you? And will you need to don a face mask once again?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Yes — if you visited the same locations as the man at the same time.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young also says anyone who feels unwell in the Brisbane or Moreton Bay areas should come forward to get tested immediately.

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Biden press conference raises questions about fitness for office: Ronny Jackson


Texas Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson, a former White House physician, believes that President Biden’s press conference performance raises questions about his fitness for office. 

The Texas congressman told Fox News on Friday that Biden’s behavior at his first solo press conference Thursday — which came 64 days after he took office — “should concern every American who wants to know that their President is fit for duty and in control.” 

“The President of the United States was armed with a picture book of friendly reporters to call on and with what appeared to be prepared answers, but he still could barely make it through his first press conference,” said Jackson.

DOOCY CONFRONTS PSAKI OVER FOX NEWS GETTING SNUBBED AT PRESSER, ASKS IF IT’S ‘OFFICIAL ADMINISTRATION POLICY’

“If President Biden cannot handle questions from his cheerleaders in the White House press corps, then it is concerning to think about how he represents the American people when speaking to foreign leaders,” the former White House physician continued.

“Politics aside, this should concern every American who wants to know that their President is fit for duty and in control.” 

Biden, 78, stumbled multiple times and fell as he boarded Air Force One last week. White House press secretary Jen Psaki later dodged questions about whether the president was examined by a doctor after the fall.

The president was caught in photos appearing to use “cheat sheets” at his first press conference, photos revealed.

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Only 25 reporters were allowed to attend the press conference, and only a select number of reporters were called on for their questions.

Biden drew criticism after he snubbed Fox News from asking questions while appearing to pick reporters from a pre-chosen list.

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India vs England: Eoin Morgan can experiment with one more win to help answer T20 World Cup questions


I

t is no secret that Eoin Morgan is using England’s five-match T20 series in India as a fact-finding mission for this year’s World Cup.

It is an opportunity to experience conditions and try to piece together the complicated jigsaw that is arranging his best players. Covid times mean the experiment has its limitations, because they are playing on only one of the grounds that will be used in the tournament. But it is a gift-wrapped opportunity that, three matches through, they are making good use of.

They have received reminders that luck will play its part, with the winner of the toss winning the match comfortably in all three games, and late-night dew is a factor. They know that they cannot win the tournament without overcoming this issue.

And they have seen their side take shape further.

The hottest debate in English T20 cricket is where Jos Buttler should bat. But that is only really a question outside the camp. Morgan has his mind made up and, as Alex Hales is learning, that mind takes some changing.

Mark Wood’s value rises with every passing game. When he and Jofra Archer, the attack leader, play together, England are much more incisive in the powerplay.

In their five matches together, England average two wickets in the first six overs, which typically cost 6.7 runs apiece. Since Archer’s debut, when only one or none of them plays together, England average 1.1 wicket in the powerplay and an economy of 9.4.

“Every time he [Wood] seems to get the ball in his hand, he looks in fantastic rhythm and is a real match-winner and huge asset to the side,” said Buttler. “Put him together with Jofra, the pace those guys can bowl is intimidating. To take early wickets is always a huge benefit in T20. It put India back and didn’t allow them to attack early in their innings.”

Speaking of the powerplay, the experiment of opening the bowling with spinner Adil Rashid — who has become such a flexible bowler — to match up with opposition right-handers is working nicely, too. Sam Curran is another bowler who is adept at popping up in different phases of the innings.

“I think we are really well covered,” said Buttler of England’s bowling stocks. “We have guys who can bowl express pace, left-arm options. As this series goes on, we’ll be put under pressure at certain times, we’re experimenting and getting closer to what works.”

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The vaccine questions Queensland Health fails to answer


 

Is Queensland responsible for the vaccination of frontline health workers?

Queensland Health is responsible for offering COVID-19 vaccine to frontline health care workers under Phase 1a. This includes clinicians who provide direct care to COVID-19 patients, and staff in emergency departments, intensive care units, and fever/respiratory clinics.

Phase 1a priority health workers also include Queensland Ambulance Service frontline responders, public and private aeromedical retrieval teams, and pathology staff, medical researchers and scientists working with SARS-CoV-2.

Is the Federal Government responsible for any vaccination of frontline health workers?

Under Phase 1a, the Federal Government is responsible for vaccinating residential aged care and disability care residents and workers.

Why can’t health workers who deal directly with COVID-19 patients be vaccinated first?

Like all states and territories, we are adhering to the Commonwealth’s priority rollout schedule, placing those most at risk at the front of the queue. This includes health workers who are potentially exposed to COVID-19 as part of their day-to-day work.

 

 

Why can’t you vaccinate all frontline workers all at once?

We would love to vaccinate all frontline health workers at once however we are relying on supplies from the Federal Government, which is in charge of selecting and buying the COVID-19 vaccines. The amount of vaccine the Federal Government can supply is constrained and arriving in stages, not at once, which means we must manage the rollout accordingly.

What are some of the logistical challenges you have encountered with the vaccine rollout?

Queensland is Australia’s most decentralised and diverse state and vaccinating our population is no small feat. Due to the limitations and unique challenges of the COVID-19 vaccines, including the need to use the entire vaccine batch once defrosted, opportunistic vaccinations have been undertaken with some hospital Phase 1b staff to prevent wastage. The challenges of the largest co-ordinated vaccination effort in history are not unique to Queensland. Vaccination programs of this size will encounter logistical, technical, and operational challenges.

How many phase 1A vaccinations have you given? Of those, how many are frontline health workers?

Queensland Health has administered more than 18,000 vaccine doses across the state.

How many phase 1B vaccinations have you given? And why, when phase 1A isn’t yet completed?

Question not answered.

How many doses of each vaccine do you currently have in stock?

Question not answered.

 

 

Why did the doctor develop symptoms so quickly? Is this unusual?

The onset of COVID-19 symptoms vary. The incubation period is 14 days and symptoms can appear at any time in that period.

Is it possible some of the close contacts who have tested negative will test positive in the coming days?

It is possible that close contacts who initially return negative results do test positive in the coming days. That’s why we conduct follow up testing and require people to quarantine for 14 days to ensure they’re not coming into contact with members of the public.

Originally published as COVID Q&A;: Questions Queensland Health fails to answer



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Doherty Institute: Covid-19 Vaccines – Your Questions Answered


Doherty Institute: Covid-19 Vaccines – Your Questions Answered

Doherty Institute: Covid-19 Vaccines - Your Questions AnsweredDoherty Institute: Covid-19 Vaccines - Your Questions Answered

Hosted by Michael Rowland, this Q&A event will see our experts tackle your questions around the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Australia.

What is mRNA? Why are there two vaccines on offer? What’s the difference? What does herd immunity mean? How long will the rollout take? Are the vaccines safe?

As Australia begins to rollout the COVID-19 vaccine, we are faced with an abundance of new information, technical terminology, and vaccine myths and misinformation. It can quickly become confusing and overwhelming.

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic response – clinicians treating patients in hospitals; scientists continuing to perform tests on suspected cases and viral genomic sequencing; epidemiologists working closely with the State and Commonwealth Governments on policy; and researchers working on antibody tests, treatments and a vaccine.

At this Q&A event hosted by the ABC’s Michael Rowland, a panel of experts will answer your burning questions around the COVID-19 vaccines.

This will be a hybrid event! Register for either in-person tickets or livestream details. In-person tickets will be strictly limited to ensure density limits are not exceeded.

The Panel

Professor Sharon Lewin AO, Director, Doherty Institute

Associate Professor Margie Danchin, Consultant Paediatrician, Royal Children’s Hospital and Clinician Scientist at the University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Professor Terry Nolan AO, Head of Vaccine and Immunisation Research Group, Doherty Institute

Dr Janine Trevillyan, Lead, COVID-19 Vaccination Program, Austin Hub; Head, Clinical Virology and HIV Services, Austin Health; and Infectious Diseases Physician

This event is hosted by the Doherty Institute and sponsored by the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Attend in person Free

Livestream Free

Tuesday 16 March 2021

06:00 PM – 07:30 PM

Clarendon Auditorium

Exhibition Centre

2 Clarendon Street,

South Wharf, Melbourne


❊ When & Where ❊

Date: Tuesday 16th March 2021

Times: 06:00 PM – 07:30 PM

❊ Venue ❊

 Clarendon Auditorium  Events 1
Events
⊜ 1 Convention Centre Place South Wharf | Map

Clarendon Auditorium1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf, , 3006

✆ Event: | Venue: (61 3) 9235 8210

Book Online Here

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❊ Be Social ❊

❊ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update ❊

As Victoria takes action to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), events may be cancelled at short notice. Please confirm details before making plans | Disclaimer


❊ Web Links ❊

Doherty Institute: Covid-19 Vaccines – Your Questions Answered


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Key questions answered after pre-season games


The clock is ticking for KFC SuperCoaches as the first bounce of the AFL season draws closer.

That of course means the days of unlimited trades and team tinkering are numbered and KFC SuperCoaches need to make decisions on their Round 1 sides.

We’ve called on our KFC SuperCoach jury — the best minds in the business with a history of high finishes — to help with your decisions.

Here’s their best advice for the season ahead and the calls they’re making on some of the key positions in KFC SuperCoach teams for 2021.

PRE-SEASON: EVERY KFC SUPERCOACH SCORE FROM COMMUNITY SERIES

It’s time to register for Australia’s best fantasy footy game – KFC SuperCoach. Register now at supercoach.com.au

How many rookies are you starting on field?

@azzajewell: I currently have six rookies on field. But it’s been fluctuating between four and nine, with four meaning more mid-pricers on field (something I’m trying to avoid) or nine being a full guns-and-rookies side. Round 1 team sheets can’t come soon enough.

@DamoSC: I’d like to start eight or nine with 12 or 13 keepers as I’m more of a guns-and-rookies type player, but this year I just don’t know if it’s possible. In my current set up, which isn’t locked in, I have seven.

@damoj88: Trying to limit it to as few as possible at this stage. I have two defenders, two midfielders and two forwards.

@nacheers: At the moment I have six rookies, two defenders, four mids and no forwards. On top of this I also have Hayden Young, Jarman Impey, Jye Caldwell and Ned Cahill.

@empr_x: As few as possible, but ideally avour five depending on the final make up of my team. Currently one forward, three mids and one defender, but that will no doubt change once we learn who will debut in Round 1. Have a plan for every set up!

@JordsSupercoach: I currently have five base priced rookies on-field, and five players between 170-280k, as I am preparing for the worst come round 1 when it comes to rookies being named. I’d prefer to have less 150-250k players if possible.

@lekdogsc: At this stage I have six rookie-priced players sitting on my field with four in the midfield and one in defence and up forward.

@hunterpunter_1: Seven players under $200k at the moment. I might need to compromise on a premium pick if the rookies don’t get selected Round 1.

@BolchDylan: Right now — eight. That’s pretty grim though when you consider the lack of youngsters putting their hands up for Round 1.

@honeyballafl: Hate to say it, but it’s just too hard to be definitive at this point. The availability and quality of rookies play a big part in forming your line-up structure and that’s a bit of an unknown until we get more info from the AAMI Series and Round 1 selection.

@Adrian9Johnson6:Seven (2x DEF, 3x MID, 2x FWD).

Who’s your D3 and D4? (third defender and fourth defender)

@azzajewell: Callum Mills currently occupies my D3 position with James Harmes at D4. Both with less than 10 per cent ownership and they are also my big PODs at the moment. Mills was a beast against GWS in their practice game and Harmes is back in the main midfield group where he belongs, something tells me they might not be PODs for much longer.

@DamoSC: Jayden Short and Jeremy Howe.

@damoj88: My D3 is currently Short, but tossing up between him and Liam Duggan. Harmes was my smokie D4, but I have since downgraded him to Hayden Young in order to upgrade Zac Williams to Short.

@nacheers: Tom Stewart is my D3 and Short is my D4. This is subject to change. I’m unsure on whether I start Jake Lloyd or not. This is the area of my team I am really torn on what to do.

@empr_x: This changes hourly and given the lack of defensive rookies I’ve had Short, Stewart, Ridley and Duggan all in the rotation for those two spots.

@JordsSupercoach: Daniel and Stewart. Daniel feels relatively safe and really hit form at the back end of 2020. Stewart also seems a safe option, but has had some slight durability issues over the past two off seasons.

@lekdogsc: The last iteration of my team has Caleb Daniel and Zac Williams at D3 and D4, but Williams all but certainly missing Round 1 has put paid to that. James Harmes returning to the midfield has him sitting at D5 but he might have to slide to D4. Please let some other rookies appear in defence.

@hunterpunter_1: I currently have Tom Stewart and Jayden Short.

@BolchDylan: D3 is Jayden Short and D4 is Nik Cox. I’m not sure how feasible the guns and rookies structure is at the moment, so it’s still very up in the air. James Harmes and Hayden Young are two players that could make their way into my side.

@Adrian9Johnson6: At one stage over the weekend I had five DEF premiums, but that’s quickly been reduced to three with the emergence of several cash cows. My current D3 and D4 are Caleb Daniel ($545k) and Hayden Young ($279k).

How many forward premiums are you starting?

@azzajewell: It’s been floating between two or three, with Patrick Dangerfield, Steele Sidebottom, Josh Dunkley, Dustin Martin and Dayne Zorko all firmly in my sights. At the moment, I’m running with Dangerfield, Dunkley and Martin, but that’ll probably change in 30 seconds at the rate I keep tinkering with my side.

@DamoSC: Only Dustin Martin.

@damoj88: This could be the one year I go into the season with less than my usual three. At present, Dangerfield is the only premium I am rolling with, who is locked and loaded. Due to going deeper in the midfield, and the plethora of mid price options in the forwards (Impey/Ziebell), I am happy with this structure.

@nacheers: Five days ago I had a structure of 3/4/2/3 — premiums per position. With the excitement defenders scoring potential, lack of rookie defenders and some decent options around 200k-300k in the forward line. This has switched to 4/4/2/2.

@empr_x: Just Danger. Even then, I may play Danger in the middle and swing him forward later. Historically, the top forward premos don’t really show up and announce themselves until a fair way into the year so I’m happy to wait.

@JordsSupercoach: One — Tom Phillips. It has come to my attention that Hawks will use him both inside and outside, that is good enough for me for 400k. Dusty is in consideration.

@lekdogsc: I’ll be starting two premium forwards in the forward line, Dustin Martin and Dayne Zorko. I think they’ll pretty much hold their price and are both durable in a year where we only get the teams being named 24 hours out from a game.

@hunterpunter_1: Dangerfield and Dusty.

@BolchDylan: At this stage I’ve got Dangerfield and Dunkley, although it is likely that one of them goes if the rookies don’t show themselves.

@Adrian9Johnson6: Two – Patrick Dangerfield ($611k) and Josh Dunkley ($560k), however, the latter is far from locked in my squad.

Who’s the player you want to pick but can’t fit in?

@azzajewell: Cameron Rayner was the one I kept coming back to, but sadly after his knee injury against Gold Coast we almost certainly won’t see him again this year. I was very bullish about a breakout.

@DamoSC: Luke Ryan isn’t in my current team set up. He has been at various stages but proving to be just that little bit too expensive to give my team the proper balance it needs. Removing Jake Lloyd because of injury makes my team look better as well. I will want both eventually though.

@damoj88: Paddy ‘Wow’ (Dow). As seen in Carlton’s scratch match with Essendon, he looks to have added some muscle to his slight frame, and is playing with new-found confidence; sidestepping opponents and performing fend offs that would make Dusty proud. Just need to find a spare $70k to fit him in!

@nacheers: At the moment I need to decide between a couple of different structures. Weighing up Rory Laird vs Jake Lloyd essentially.

@empr_x: Nat Fyfe. Having watched his huge first half against the Eagles in the trial game and with no injury setbacks in his preparation this season, I feel like this is the year he will finally finish in the top-10 for total points. But I can’t afford him and with the lack of rookie options he’s the one that will provide the cash to upgrade them to mid pricers.

@JordsSupercoach: I need to choose between one of Merrett and Petracca and I haven’t decided yet. Both I feel will be strong selections.

@lekdogsc: Jayden Short, I think he’ll rocket into the top-eight defenders this year, the new man in the mark rules are made for him. At $519k he is a bargain but he’s not as bankable as a Laird or Daniel so I’ll look to upgrade to him early in the year.

@hunterpunter_1: Travis Boak. POD and very consistent. Just can’t fit another uber premium into my midfield.

@BolchDylan: Jye Caldwell is a possibility. He should have played more senior footy at the Giants and looks to have a solid role down at Tullamarine now. Without sounding like a broken record, my answer to this question could be very different on the eve of Round 1, where I potentially have to sacrifice a guy I am really keen on.

@honeyballafl: Probably Willem Drew who’s a real smokie in the $300k range which is a bit high for someone slightly speculative who didn’t play at all last year. He had good CBAs in the scratch match against Adelaide so one to monitor as it’s a leap of faith.

@Adrian9Johnson6: My gut is telling me two players – albeit very awkwardly priced – are about to break out in 2021: Zak Butters ($471k) and Tom Phillips ($402k).

How many mid-pricers ($250k-$450k) will you start with?

@azzajewell: I’m aiming to have no more than three mid-pricers in my side, one in every line except the rucks. Currently I have Harmes, Tom Green and Ziebell, but there’s still so many on the watch list.

@DamoSC: Three. Hayden Young, Tom Phillips and Jack Ziebell.

@damoj88: I am running with three at the moment (Caldwell/Ziebell/Harmes), but you could also add Williams and Taranto into that bracket as they are both within the vicinity of $450k.

@nacheers: I currently have two players in this price range, Young and Ziebell. Seeing Ziebell on kick-ins swung me towards him.

@empr_x: Quite a few. With there being a distinct lack of rookies with solid job security, sacrificing one premo for a few players who should deliver some serviceable scores early is a no-brainer. Currently I have Ziebell, Rayner, Young, Taranto and you could probably lump Impey and Dow in there too.

@JordsSupercoach: Two – Ziebell and Tom Phillips.

@lekdogsc: You only have to read my 11 commandments to know my position on mid-pricers, I’ve capped myself at two for the year in James Harmes (defence) and Jye Caldwell (forward) … I’ll have to let Jackson Hately, Cam Rayner and Ben Cunnington slide by.

@hunterpunter_1: Two – Caldwell and Ziebell. Love the upside of Caldwell in that inside mid role for Essendon and the fact he is listed as a forward means he’s in for me. Looks like Ziebell may take some of the kick-ins and get some cheap ball in the defensive half.

@BolchDylan: Jack Ziebell is my sole mid-pricer right now. I keep trying to convince myself that guns and rookies will work but in reality I think it’s going to be difficult and my hand will be forced.

@Adrian9Johnson6: Tim Michell has been all over the mid-price strategy since day dot, and to be fair, he had convinced me it was justified. Fortunately, I have come to my senses and resorted to Guns and Rookies. There are currently three mid-pricers in my squad: Young, Jye Caldwell ($348k) and Jack Ziebell ($257k).

What’s the one piece of advice you would give other KFC SuperCoaches?

@azzajewell: My advice has and will always be simple when it comes to SuperCoach – have fun and enjoy it.

@DamoSC: You can’t start everyone, and that’s okay. Don’t pick your team based on scratch match performances, dig deeper than that. Doing your research will also give you an idea of who may be cheaper down the line as well.

@damoj88: Pretty simple; back your gut and your own research. Don’t get caught up in not picking a premium because they don’t present as good ‘value’. They are priced high for a reason, and their price fluctuation is irrelevant when they are selected to pump out consistent 100+ scores on average.

@nacheers: I have lots of people write to me asking for ideas, plans or trade options. At the end of the day you need to back your gut. If you believe it then roll with it! No one has a crystal ball to make decisions. Most of all enjoy it, it can absorb you sometimes but remember its just a bit of fun!

@empr_x: Trust your research when it comes to premiums. You picked them for a reason, so don’t go trading them out after a few poor games. Worst-case scenario is they bounce back to dominate, and you’ve wasted a trade. Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint.

@JordsSupercoach: I would make sure your starting team isn’t high risk. I’d get a good read on rookie job security and ensure premiums have a KFC SuperCoach friendly role with a good history of durability for the vast majority. One risk pick might be reasonable. Mine is McDonald.

@lekdogsc: Daniel Rich is never a bad option … oh and you should select plenty of DPP’s for extra flexibility.

@hunterpunter_1: Pick durable players when selecting your premiums. Injuries will disrupt the upgrade process. You don’t want to be burning trades for players you were planning to keep for the season.

@BolchDylan: Back your own instincts. Listen, read and watch as much of the content and resources that are available, but go with your own gut. There’s nothing worse than thinking I should probably pick that player, then not, and watching him go bananas.

@honeyballafl: Consume as much information as possible right now and throughout pre-season and never rule anyone in (except Gawn) or out, but when it comes to decision time in the days leading up to Round 1, back your gut.

@Adrian9Johnson6: Follow your gut. If you have had a player locked in for much of the pre-season and they didn’t score well in the AAMI Series, do not take them out. Players who are yet to – and will not – leave my side: Rory Laird, Caleb Daniel, Clayton Oliver, Max Gawn, Patrick Dangerfield, Jye Caldwell and Jack Ziebell.



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Irked Thai PM sprays reporters with hand sanitiser to duck tricky questions


Bangkok: Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha left reporters stunned and amused when he interrupted his own news conference to spray them with hand sanitiser in a bid to dodge tough questions.

Prayuth became frustrated on Tuesday, local time, when asked about a list of potential candidates for vacant cabinet posts, following last week’s jailing of three of his ministers for insurrection during protests seven years ago.

Reporters cop a spray from Thai PM Prayuth Chan-ocha.Credit:AP

“Is there anything else to ask?,” he said, standing at a podium. “I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. Isn’t it something the Prime Minister should know first?”

In the live briefing, Prayuth then left the podium, grabbed a small bottle of sanitiser, casually walked over to the journalists and sprayed each of them while holding a surgical mask in front of his face.

Prayuth, a former military coup leader, is known for his casual, at times comical, remarks to media but he often lashes out at reporters.

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He was later filmed speaking with the same group of journalists and looking increasingly vexed, talking inaudibly while spraying them with broad sweeps of his hand before walking off again.

In the past the quick-tempered former army commander, who overthrew the elected government in a 2014 coup, has spoken to a media scrum while fondling the ear of one of the reporters, and flung a banana peel at camera operators.

After an event in 2018 he declined to speak to the media, and instead set up a life-size cutout of himself.

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Covid-19 vaccination: Health Ministry answers frequently asked questions (FAQs)


The Centre has come out with detailed frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Covid-19 vaccination, in an attempt to answer many questions that are being asked by the general public.

Here are the answers to the questions on Covid-19 vaccination:

Should you avoid alcohol after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine?

The Health Ministry says that as per experts “there is no evidence of alcohol impairing the effectiveness of the vaccine”.

A healthcare worker prepares to administer a vaccine at a private hospital in New Delhi. (AP Photo: Altaf Qadri)

Claims on social media suggested the Covid-19 vaccine could affect female fertility. Is it true?

The Health Ministry says rumours or social media posts suggesting Covid-19 vaccines could cause infertility “are not true and totally baseless”.

“None of the available vaccines affects fertility. All vaccines and their constituents are tested first on animals and later in humans to assess if they have any such side effects. Vaccines are authorised for use only after their safety and efficacy are assured,” the ministry says.

What are the precautions one needs to take after receiving the vaccine?

The Health Ministry has assured that both the vaccines are safe but in “case of any discomfort or complaint”, the beneficiaries are advised to visit the nearest health facility or call the health worker whose phone number is given in the CoWIN SMS received after vaccination.

What medications should be avoided before taking the Covid-19 vaccine and for how long?

The Health Ministry says there are no such instructions: One can take one’s regular medication uninterruptedly. Just inform the vaccinator about the medicines you consume.

Senior citizens after receiving the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

The Health Ministry has advised caution in vaccinating persons with a history of bleeding or coagulation disorder. How does a person know if he/she has a coagulation disorder? What tests can be conducted?

The Ministry has said that in a few bleeding disorders, like haemophilia, persons should take the vaccine “under the supervision of their treating physician”.

Also, patients who are admitted to hospital or ICU and have bleeding problems “should delay the vaccination till they are discharged”.

However, several people with heart and brain disorders are on blood thinners like aspirin and anti-platelet drugs “can continue with their medicines and have the vaccines”, and that vaccines are absolutely safe for this category.

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If I suffer from hypertension, Diabetic Mellitus, Chronic Kidney Disease, heart disease or lipid disorders, can I safely take this vaccine?

Overall, the vaccine is safe and efficacious in adults with comorbidity, the Health Ministry has said, adding that the maximum benefit of getting the Covid vaccine ‘is for those who have such comorbidities”.

“However, if you are concerned for any specific reason, please consult your doctor,” it has recommended.

The health advisory also states that those with immunity issues should be cautious about taking the vaccine. What are the markers of ‘immunity issues’?

The Health Ministry says immune issues are of two types: one, immunosuppression due to any disease such as AIDS, and people on immunosuppressant drugs such as anti-cancer drugs, steroids; second, immunodeficiency in people who suffers from some defect in the body’s protective system such as congenital immunodeficiency.

“Currently, available Covid vaccines do not have any live virus and therefore individuals with immune issues can have the vaccine safely. But the vaccine may not be as effective in them,” the Health Ministry has said.

It also emphasised that this category of patients “should inform the vaccinator about the medicines they consume and if they are suffering from any known immune issues”. “The vaccinator should have a record of one’s medical condition,” the Health Ministry has said.

Registration for the Covid-19 vaccine drive, in Ahmedabad. (Express Photo: Nirmal Harindran)

Is the vaccine contraindicated in a person with chronic diseases?

Chronic diseases and morbidities like cardiac, neurological, pulmonary, pulmonary, metabolic, renal and malignancies, etc. are not contraindicated, the Health Ministry has reiterated.

“In fact, the benefit of Covid vaccines to reduce the risk of severe Covid disease and death is for those who have these co-morbidities,” it said.

If I had Covid-19 and was treated, should I take the vaccine?

The Health Ministry has said that “development of immunity or duration of protection” after Covid-19 exposure is not established; therefore it is recommended to receive the vaccine even after Covid-19 infection. “Wait for 4-8 weeks after recovery from Covid symptoms before getting the vaccine,” it has recommended.

I have an allergy to a specific drug. Can I get vaccinated?

The Health Ministry has listed the category of persons with a history of immediate or delayed onset anaphylaxis or allergic reaction to pharmaceutical products, food items, injectable therapies – as a contraindication. Therefore, this category is not advised to take the vaccine.

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