‘Targeted’ shooting in new Canberra suburb not gang related, ACT police say


Police believe a shooting in Canberra’s south overnight, in which multiple shots were fired into a car, was a targeted attack.

A handful of shots were fired into a car window at a house on Fairhall Street in Coombs in the early hours of Friday morning, while the family was inside the home.

Residents reported seeing a car speeding away, and it was last seen travelling east on John Gorton Drive.

Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Steel said AFP Forensic Services had been to the scene on Friday to examine the area.

“ACT Policing recovered three spent shotgun casings at the crime scene which are being forensically examined,” he said.

“It’s important to recognise this was a targeted attack rather than a random incident. Our detectives are making a number of enquiries.”

The family was inside the home when multiple shots were fired into a car at Coombs.(Supplied: ACT Policing)

Police rule out weapon was gun stolen from AFP car

Police said at this time they had no reason to believe the shooting was orchestrated by any criminal gang.

Police had initially investigated the possibility the attack was linked to a theft last week, when an Australian Federal Police car was broken into.

A duty belt and a police firearm were stolen from the car.

A car with multiple bullet holes in the window and door.
Police believe a shotgun was used to fire several times into the car.(ABC News: Selby Stewart)

But an examination of the shotgun casings found at the scene determined the weapon was not the same as the firearms issued to AFP officers.

Several residents gathered to listen to police, but did not speak to media.

Locals in the Molonglo Valley have recently expressed concern for community safety in the area.

A shotgun casing on the ground next to an evidence marker.
Police ruled out the weapon used was the same as that stolen from a police car last week.(Supplied: ACT Policing)

Last month, a teenager was stabbed to death at a skate park in Weston Creek. Police are yet to charge anyone over the stabbing.

The death prompted residents to establish a neighbourhood watch, and renew calls for a police station to be established in the area.

Detective Acting Superintendent Steel reassured residents that crime in the area was not worsening.

“Crime in the Molonglo Valley is down on previous years, but this is serious, and we are treating as such,” he said.



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NY Mets Owner and GM In Feud Over BLM Related Game Cancellation


NY Mets Owner and GM In Feud Over BLM Related Game Cancellation


NY Mets Moment of Silence Team Video

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his son Jeff are furious with their team’s general manager Brodie Van Wagenen after he was caught on a “hot mic” criticizing Baseball’s commissioner rip Rob Manfred. This came after his team joined other professional sports franchises across America in taking the night off to respect the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Hot Mics. We hear about them all the time. It’s when a person is speaking, usually with the press, and he forgets that his comments are being recorded. Or he mistakenly believed that the recording part had ended. So what happened with Mr. Van Wagenen?

Professional sports teams took the night off Thursday to signal their participation in the national outrage over the shooting of an unarmed Black man Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. It started with the NBA suspending its playoff tournament. Then most of Major League Baseball followed suit after the Brewers game scheduled to be played in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was cancelled.

But last night’s New York Mets game was different. It was not canceled ahead of time, rather the Mets and Miami Marlins actually took the field. The Mets took their positions with the pitcher on the mound and stood for a moment of silence. Then the players from both teams tipped their caps at one another and left the field.

Before the start the New York Mets’ announcers had no confirmation that the game was canceled. All they could do was point out that the starting pitchers had taken no warm up pitches which is kind of a giveaway.

It was how the game cancellations came about which bothered Mr. Van Wagenen. And he mistakenly put the blame on MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

On the hot mic Van Wagenen was recorded saying, “Baseball’s trying to come up with a solution, saying, ‘Oh, you know what would be super powerful — the three of us here, [this information] can’t leave this room — you know it’d be really great if you just have them all take the field and then they leave the field and then they come back and play at 8:10. And I was like, ‘What?’”

So the New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon issued a statement saying, “I am very stressed and disappointed to learn tonight that our General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, made disrespectful and inaccurate comments about our Commissioner, a long-time close friend of mine.I hold Rob in the highest regard and in no way are Brodie’s remarks reflective of my views or the organization’s.”

Brodie Van Wagenen then apologized to commissioner Manfred.

“Jeff Wilpon called Commissioner Manfred this afternoon to notify him that our players voted not to play. They discussed the challenges of rescheduling the game. Jeff proposed an idea of playing the game an hour later. I misunderstood that this was the Commissioner’s idea. In actuality, this was Jeff’s suggestion. The players had already made their decision so I felt the suggestion was not helpful. My frustration with the Commissioner was wrong and unfounded. I apologize to the Commissioner for my disrespectful comments and poor judgement in inaccurately describing the contents of his private conversation with Jeff Wilpon.”

The Mets have been looking for a buyer for years as they are losing a lot of money as a franchise. Mets fans have been praying for the sale of the team as Mr. Wilpon is known to be in financial trouble since his involvement with Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. This will not help them with their PR problems.







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What’s going on with the US postal service and how is it related to the presidential election?


The United States Postal Service has been playing a starring role in debate over how the US presidential election will take place amid a pandemic.

As the coronavirus continues to wreck havoc on the US, many Americans are considering voting by mail in the upcoming election.

But the US postal service has warned almost all 50 states that ballots might not be able to be delivered on time.

Why is this happening?

The postal service has been losing money for years and in June, US President Donald Trump appointed a Republican donor and tasked him with making the government agency profitable.

The Trump appointee cut overtime for postal workers, late delivery trips and other expenses that ensure that the mail arrives on time which has resulted in a national slowdown of mail.

The postal service is now waiting on billions of dollars in potential funding from coronavirus relief legislation but left-wing Democrats and right-wing Republicans have yet to agree on funding.

Trump said the money Democrats wanted for the postal service would allow for universal mail-in voting, which he falsely claims his opponents support for the election.

“If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money,” Trump said in a Fox Business Network interview on Thursday. “That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”

It comes as Trump has also repeatedly claimed that there would be widespread fraud by mail in voting.

Why are people concerned?

Many Americans have said that due to the pandemic they would like to vote by mail in the upcoming presidential election and many states are expanding access to mail-in voting. States also saw mail-in voting increase during the primaries.

This means that the volume of mail is expected to increase this election. Just five states currently do use universal mail in voting systems – sending ballots by mail and having voters return them by mail.

Democrats in Congress have now demanded that postal service officials testify before a House committee over the mail delays.

“The postmaster general and top Postal Service leadership must answer to the Congress and the American people as to why they are pushing these dangerous new policies that threaten to silence the voices of millions, just months before the election,” congressional Democrats said in a statement announcing the hearing.

Some states could ask to move the voting deadline for receiving mail in ballots ahead of the election.

Pennsylvania asked a court to move the deadline for receiving mail ballots back to three days after the November 3 election, provided the ballots were placed in the mail before polls close on Election Day.

The Postal Service is the country’s most popular government agency with 91% of Americans having a favourable opinion of the service, according to a Pew Research Centre Survey published in April.

“What concerns me is an all-out attack, they’re not even hiding it, by the president of the United States to undermine the United States Postal Service, to underfund it, to allow a mega-donor leading it to overtly do things to slow down the mail,” said Democratic Senator Cory Booker on CNN.



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Face mask related anxiety : mentalhealth


So I’m not sure if this is the right place to put this, and I’m not sure if I’m asking for advice, I just need to get this out.

My anxiety has been really bad the past few days/week. It’s been kind of bad since lockdown in March, but this past week it’s been really bad, to the point where I’ve had chest pains and real difficulty breathing. I knew that part of this anxiety was due to lockdown easing here (Scotland) but masks being required on public transport.

Because of the way anxiety affects me, I often forget to take breaths, and when I do they’re quote shallow. Having anything covering my mouth or nose, or around my neck like a scarf, makes my anxiety worse.

I think I’ve just realised that my anxiety is so much worse recently because I have to get a bus to get my prescription for depression and anxiety. I can’t wear a mask on the bus, I’ll start hyperventilating. I think I’m also anxious and nervous about people calling me out on it, and trying to ask me why I’m not wearing a mask. I can’t deal with confrontation, especially when I’m in a mess like I am at the moment. I think I’m more scared of going on a bus now than I was when COVID was worse, just because I’m terrified of someone losing their mind at me.

I think I just need a bit of reassurance from people that can’t wear masks for similar reasons.



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‘Ugg boot foot’ and related injuries on the rise


But consumers may not be heeding the message about correct footwear, with global searches for Crocs up 32 per cent and fur slides up by 62 per cent, according to global fashion search platform Lyst. In Australia, search traffic has also spiked for “utility slides”, which are open-toed shoes with straps across the top of the foot, not dissimilar to a Birkenstock.

Online retailer The Iconic said in April slipper sales were up by 1500 per cent, year on year, with the most popular brands being Ugg, Hush Puppies and Vionic.

Johnston says if she had to choose, she’d favour a Birkenstock (“they’re very well made”) over other types of slippers or slides.

“Wearing Birkenstocks around the house is a far better option than a pair of fur slides than Ugg boots,” Johnston says. “I would rather people be barefoot than have a pair of slides or Crocs on.

“Slippers should only be used around bedtime, not when working, cooking, cleaning or chasing kids around the house.”

Foot injuries, which can also result in referred pain elsewhere, are often caused by the “clawing” action required to wear them for any length of time.

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“Our feet have to work overtime to keep them on or the shoe falls off,” Johnston says. “Subconsciously, our feet are working harder with every step … and that repetitive motion starts to add up.”

Johnston says slippers present a huge fall risk, especially in people 60 and older. “We see so many people in hospital with hip fractures from having a fall around the house in a pair of slippers,” she says.



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Q fever cases drop this year and could be COVID-19, climate change and cattle number related


There has been a significant decline in the number of Q fever cases reported so far this year compared to the same period last year.

Q fever is a bacterial infection spread to humans mainly from cattle, sheep and goats with those in the livestock and meat processing sectors most at risk, however it can be prevented with a vaccine.

There have been 118 cases reported from January to April to the Australian Government’s National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) down from 210 cases for the first third of 2019.

The Department of Health has suggested that the drop cases reported, in the year to date, could be related to COVID-19.

John Hall looks at the camera. He has a stethoscope around his neck.
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia president Dr John Hall said it is possible that those with mild symptoms of Q fever are not being tested.(Supplied: Rural Doctors Association of Australia)

The Department said that COVID-19 response activities might also be impacting on laboratory testing capacity, information which it does not hold.

Figures extracted from the NNDSS reveals no continual decline in Q fever cases in the five years prior: 605 in 2015, 560 in 2016, 478 in 2017 and 513 in 2018, and 563 in 2019.

Are fewer people being tested?

President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Dr John Hall, is not surprised by the reduction in Q fever cases reported this year.

“We could imagine, and this is only a best guess, that a number of people that had mild illnesses with Q fever are probably not getting tested in the current climate and being told to stay at home and to manage themselves symptomatically,” he said.

Dr Hall said as a result it was likely that fewer people were getting tested for Q fever.

“We know that people who get the severe form of Q fever often are hospitalised, those people would still be being tested … and that’s why we’re still seeing a number of tests coming through.”

Shearers shearing wool from sheep in a shearing shed.
Workers in occuptions at high risk of Q fever include shearers, livestock and dairy producers, farm workers, abattoir and meat workers, veterinarians, stock and feedlot staff.(ABC News: Ryan Sheridan)

Reduction in dust and livestock possibly behind decline

While the Rural Doctor’s Association of Australia presents a plausible explanation for the decline in cases reported, the NSW Farmers’ Association has pointed to several other potential factors.

A man with a beard and glasses looks directly at the camera.
NSW Farmers’ Association president James Jackson thinks reduced contact with stock could be factor in fewer reported cases of Q fever.(ABC New England: Matt Bedford)

The Association’s president James Jackson said a reduced number of Q fever cases could be due to a reduction in cattle and sheep, and less dust, which can carry the Q fever bacteria, present as a result of rain.

“Contact with stock or domestic animals is a significant risk factor, so there would be reasons why it could be down on last year.”

While agreeing it could be in part be COVID-19 related, he hoped another reason was awareness programs run by the farmer peak body, and the NSW Government, had led to an increase in vaccination rates.

The sheep and cattle producer from Guyra in the New England region spent a week in Armidale Hospital’s intensive care unit in 1992 after contracting Q fever.

Auctioneers selling cattle at the Casino saleyards.
Stockyard and feedlot works are in the list of high risk of Q fever occupations. Visitors to at risk environments, such as livestock saleyards, could also be exposed to Q fever.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

Steady uptake of the Q fever vaccine

Despite the decline in cases, the uptake of the Q fever vaccine, Q-Vax, has remained steady, according to its manufacturer Seqirus.

A profile photo of Dr Jonathan Anderson on a white background.
Dr Jonathan Anderson, head of medical affairs for Seqirus Asia Pacific, says there is more awareness of Q fever and how to prevent and treat it.(Supplied: Seqirus)

Seqirus Asia Pacific’s senior medical director Dr Jonathan Anderson said that the fall in cases reported this year was encouraging.

“What we don’t know yet is why this has occurred,” he said.

“What I do know though is that there’s been a tremendous amount of work put in by a whole range of different stakeholder groups to try to create more awareness around Q fever, both in the general community and in the health care system to make sure we can properly prevent and treat Q fever.”

“We’ll continue to work with the Australian Government to make sure that there’s adequate supplies of the vaccine into the future.”



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