Tragic toll as region records 5th highest suicide rate

THE black dog has claimed more lives in the Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac region, as the district recorded the fifth highest suicide rate in Queensland.

The Health of Queenslanders 2020 report showed an average of 32 people took their own lives each year in the region from 2016-18.

The chief health officer’s report analysed the cause of death of more than 2700 residents over the three years in the health service district, which includes Mackay, Bowen, Proserpine, Clermont, Collinsville, Dysart, Moranbah, Sarina, Glenden, Middlemount and Whitsunday.

The health service had the fifth highest suicide rate in Queensland, with 18 people dying from self-inflicted injuries per 100,000 people.

The Queensland rate was 15 suicides per 100,000 people.

The North West region, which includes Mt Isa and Cloncurry, had the highest suicide rate with 24 suicides per 100,000 people.

It was followed by Wide Bay, Cairns and Hinterland, and Central Queensland.

The chief health officer’s report analysed the cause of death of more than 2700 residents over the three years in the Mackay health service. Picture: Tony Martin

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The number of suicides has remained steady despite population increases since the 2018 report, which found there were 31 suicides each year in Mackay from 2013-2015.

Mackay’s high suicide rate comes as the health report found residents were significantly less likely to be hospitalised for mental health and behavioural conditions compared to other Queensland health services.

The health report said last financial year 1789 people sought help at the hospital service.

Compared to its population this meant the region had the second lowest rate of mental health presentations in the state, behind the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.

But Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Service Division operations director Cara McCormack said hospital was not always the best place for mental health treatment and recovery.

“Instead we focus on supporting people in their community and own home,” Ms McCormack said.

“Proactive community-based support helps many people avoid a hospital admission and allows them to continue with work and other social contacts.”

She said services like the Step Up Step Down 10-bed residential mental health facility were a way to help people avoid a hospital admission or to have shorter hospital stays.

“The service helps people ‘step up’ for support if their condition is deteriorating and helps others ‘step down’ to support the transition from hospital to home,” Ms McCormack said.

The Health of Queenslanders 2020 report said an average of 32 people took their own lives in the greater Mackay region each year in the region from 2016-18.

The Health of Queenslanders 2020 report said an average of 32 people took their own lives in the greater Mackay region each year in the region from 2016-18.

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She said since it opened in July 2017 the service had saved 4965 bed days for 273 people.

But she said suicide prevention required a whole-of-community response.

Ms McCormack said the health service was a partner in the Suicide Prevention Community Action Plan for Whitsunday, Isaac and Mackay.

For those struggling with mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, Ms McCormack said help was available 24 hours a day, with residents able to access support by calling 1300 MHCALL (1300 642255).

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Two Dead, Four Critically Injured From A Car Accident On Wyaralong Dam

Wyaralong Dam

Another tragic accident took place as a car crashed into the waters of Wyaralong Dam, near Beaudesert in South-east Queensland. Sadly, two children, aged 5 and 13 have died.

As of now, two adults, along with a six-month-old baby and a one-year-old toddler, are in hospital; with the toddler fighting for his life. All of them are from the same family.

Douglas McDonald, Queensland Police Inspector revealed that the family were in a Land Rover Discovery when it crossed onto the wrong side of the road and broke through a road barrier. As they rolled down an embankment, their car ended up on its roof in the dam.

Two off-duty doctors and a critical care paramedic, who were on a day off, were passers-by who helped pull people out of the submerged car. “It’s a tragic and confronting scene,” Inspector Douglas said.

“It was fantastic work by the passers-by to help rescue the occupants. Their actions were pivotal in making sure this wasn’t worse.” The Inspector added.

Soon after, three rescue helicopters and more than a dozen emergency vehicles attended the incident. One police vehicle flipped as it rushed to the scene, yet no officers were hurt.

The two adults both suffered leg injuries and were transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital by road. The one-year-old, on the other hand, had to be sedated before being flown to hospital, having become agitated after receiving CPR.

“The six-month-old was removed from the water. There was no CPR done on that little one and they were conscious the whole time,” Mark Nugent, a senior operations supervisor from the Queensland Ambulance Service stated.

At this stage, the vehicle is still submerged as police divers are attending. Hence, the police revealed to close the road until at least 8:00 PM.

Barack Obama’s Memoir Is an Exercise in Tragic Realism

The first volume of Barack Obama’s memoirs puts to the test whether a good writer can survive being president. Obama entered politics as a writer, not the other way around. Dreams From My Father, published in 1995, when he was 33, tells of his search for identity and meaning as the son of a white woman from Kansas and a Black man from Kenya. By almost any standard, it’s an exceptional first book, restless and subtle and driven by a deepening self-knowledge. The story ends shortly before Obama enters the hard world of Chicago politics in the mid-90s—not an obvious destination for the book’s sensitive protagonist. Years later, during his 2004 Senate race, Obama told a magazine journalist following him around Illinois that he’d like to trade places for a day and be the one observing and taking notes. This tension between the writer and politician, the dreamer and activist, detachment and involvement—“wanting to be in politics but not of it”—plays out in one form or another all through Obama’s career, and in his new memoir.

A Promised Land is indisputably a book by the author of Dreams From My Father. There’s the same capacity for self-awareness and self-criticism, the talent for description and narrative pacing, the empathy and wry asides. The best passages—such as those describing Obama’s political rise from Chicago to the Iowa caucus and the Democratic nomination in 2008—have the fresh energy of experience the author has longed to revisit. The bigger the politician gets, the harder the writer has to struggle to stay in command of the story. In the account of Obama’s presidency, which ends with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, the narrative voice disappears for long stretches of policy debates, historical contexts, and foreign trips. “I’m painfully aware that a more gifted writer could have found a way to tell the same story with greater brevity,” Obama admits in the preface. But somehow, through a decade and a half of intense exposure, speeches, interviews, meetings, briefings, and galas, the ex-president has preserved his inner life, and with it his literary light. That tension between the public figure and the private man is one of the new book’s main themes.

It’s evident in the way Obama experiences the sudden and persistent strangeness of the office—how “my first name all but disappeared,” how everyone stood whenever he entered a room, how unnatural his imprisonment in the White House and even on trips outside the gates felt. He has a recurring dream of walking along a busy street and suddenly realizing, with a rush of joy, that no one recognizes him and his security detail is gone. Presidents talk about the loneliness of the job. This book, crowded with characters and incidents, makes you feel it—as when Obama has to leave a Situation Room meeting on whether to take military action in Libya, walks over to the residence, sits through a formal dinner, making small talk with a wounded veteran and all the while thinking through a war plan, then returns to the West Wing to announce it.

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Alex McKinnon’s gesture to Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith after response to tragic tackle

‘‘I have no emotion when it comes to Cameron Smith these days,’’ McKinnon said this week. ‘‘I have forgiven everything that happened straight after the tackle, his response – I have forgiven him. It’s hard to hold on to hate. It really is. It’s wasted energy. It’s blinding.

‘‘At its worst, it can consume you and I’ll admit it did for a while there. There is no positive to being like that and, for that reason, I have moved past it and I hold no hard feelings at all.

Alex McKinnon on the ground after the tragic tackle in 2014 in Melbourne.Credit:Getty

‘‘The hard thing was for my family, my dad, to let it go. But I told them it didn’t do any of us any good at all to keep the hate. I talked with them about how it does not help anyone. And the family has been able to put it all to one side. My dad can now observe something that Smith has done and not see it in a negative light. Quite the opposite. And that has been some time in the making.

‘‘I work with [Knights coach] Adam O’Brien now and he has nothing but praise for Smith and [Storm coach] Craig Bellamy, and his love for Craig has certainly influenced my approach to the situation.’’

Smith has also been criticised for not reaching out to McKinnon after the accident.

‘‘I’ve got to accept that there was an attempt soon after it happened and my family wanted to protect me from that,’’ McKinnon said.

I am now looking for players like him. It’s my job to find the next Smith.

Alex McKinnon

The next move came from McKinnon. ‘‘I got his number from Matthew Johns and contacted him,’’ McKinnon said. ‘‘It’s just how it happened. My view of Smith has all changed now in my role as a scout with Newcastle. I see him in a totally different way. I watch what he does on the field, his interaction with players. I watch Smith the player without emotion. And I am now looking for players like him. It’s my job to find the next Smith.’’

So will McKinnon be cheering for the Storm tonight?

‘‘I used to hope they would lose,’’ he admitted. ‘‘In the past, I got something out of that for sure. Now I can just watch. To be honest, I’ll be watching it thinking what will it take for Newcastle to be there one day, and I’ll be upset that we are not there now.

“I don’t have any particular leaning. If it was Souths, I’d want them to win for Wayne [Bennett]. But I no longer want the Storm to lose because they are the Storm.’’

Gus goes extra mile

At one point in his stellar young career, even the keenest Penrith observers feared they had lost one of the club’s best talents, Jarome Luai. And for a while, they did.

‘‘Where’s Broadbridge?’’ asked then Panthers general manager of football Phil Gould as he cast his eye over the team sheet while watching a junior side a couple of years ago. Broadbridge was there, he’d just changed his name to what it is today, Luai.

‘‘We were living at his grandmother’s house and, while we were there, she wanted him to go under his name,’’ Jarome’s dad, Martin Luai, said. ‘‘So he did. He decided to change back a few years ago and I am so proud when I see him out there.’’


The Panthers had another reason to fear they had lost him. Martin did two years in jail for drug trafficking. It was a bad decision made while his family was under huge financial pressure. That was a serious concern for the Panthers for a number of reasons, not least of which Martin faced being deported to New Zealand and the family being torn apart. References from Cameron Ciraldo – who coached Jarome throughout his junior career – and Gould helped Martin remain in Australia.

‘‘Martin Luai has acted illegally, irresponsibly and, dare I say it, stupidly,’’ Gould wrote. ‘‘Acting out of a sense of desperation to provide for his family is no excuse. Jarome is a hard-working dedicated young man … the qualities of Jarome speaks volumes for the loving and disciplined upbringing his parents have provided.

‘‘Your honour, Martin Luai and his family are already paying dearly for his actions. I genuinely fear for the welfare of the children and their futures if Martin is to be deported on top of his current penalty of incarceration.’’

Mum’s the word

Nathan Cleary has used grand final week to defend his father, Ivan, and the controversial way he joined the Panthers. He also declared that his mum, Rebecca, is the true hero of the Cleary family.

‘‘Mum is the rock,’’ he said. ‘‘She has helped both of us so much. She is probably the main reason we have been able to turn it around this year. She is the support system. She is always willing to have a chat. I’m so grateful to have her.’’

Roosters close in on Suaalii

We told you last week about Joseph Suaalii dropping the Rabbitohs and following the Roosters on Instagram. It’s hard to ignore because he is getting close to knocking back rugby and signing a deal with the tricolours.

A deal is being prepared and those who know the young man say he has been in discussions with the Bondi club. The Roosters are clearly working on a succession plan for James Tedesco, who is already regarded as the best player in the NRL.

Tedesco is off contract at the end of next year. He will be offered a deal that will extend his stay until at least the end of 2023. Suaalii is on a small deal with Souths next year, but every indication is that he doesn’t want to be there. The attraction of playing under Roosters coach Trent Robinson is significant to a young player.

Dally M muddle

The Dally M farce has led to unfair online attacks on News Corp journalist Phil Rothfield. He has been slammed for a mistake by another journalist, who published an article criticising the award, and for News Corp publishing the winners – including the winner of the Dally M Medal, Jack Wighton – before the ceremony began.

As big an error as it was – and as much embarrassment as it has caused the company and the game – there was no malice or intent as far as this column is aware. But the issue here is what happened on Fox Sports’ NRL 360. Rothfield was on the show on Monday night. He already knew the points tally, knew the winner and knew there was an unfolding drama with the story having been published accidentally. His phone was running hot on air.

When asked about the result, he said he was hoping Nathan Cleary would win. He should not have been asked the question because he already knew the winner and, therefore, could not give a genuine answer.

The only answer Rothfield could have, and perhaps should have, given was a declaration there and then that he knew who had won and had already filed a story on it. The credibility of the show would not have been brought into question.


Equally concerning for a program that trades on its strong opinions and bags plenty of people for their errors, there was no mention of the stuff-up. The hosts of the show had the opportunity to come clean the next night and didn’t.

Sorry state

A group of officials on either side of the NSW-Queensland border are set to hand ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys his first significant defeat of 2020.

V’landys and NRL boss Andrew Abdo have backed and approved Karl Stefanovic’s behind-the-scenes Origin documentary, which was being shot for streaming service Stan. But now the blazer brigade, with support from Maroons coach Wayne Bennett, are set to block the move. V’landys won’t go down without a fight.

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Former AFL star Luke Darcy’s tragic admission in Premier Daniel Andrews interview

Former AFL star turned radio host Luke Darcy has earned plenty of praise for a tense discussion with Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews on radio on Monday morning after the road map out of the state’s lockdown measures were revealed.

On his show with Eddie Maguire, the Triple M Hot Breakfast host took the premier to task particularly focusing on the mental health effects as well as why more lenient alternatives weren’t more strongly considered.

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It comes after the Victorian Premier was under fire once more after revealing the extension of the lockdown measures.

Melbourne residents learned on Sunday they’ll spend at least another two weeks in lockdown in an attempt to further suppress a coronavirus outbreak that began months ago.

From midnight this Sunday, September 13, the city’s 8pm curfew will be pushed back an hour to 9pm (it will still cease at 5am) and the allowable outdoor exercise period will be doubled to two hours.

There will also be the introduction of a “single person bubble”, which will allow one nominated visitor if a person is living alone or a single parent with all children under 18.

Taking a different tact than former Collingwood star Dane Swan’s withering attack on Twitter on Sunday night, the former Western Bulldog took his questions to the Premier in a tense 17 minute discussion.

Andrews started the interview by explaining that “this is not a 50-50”.

“The signs, the data, the doctors, they tell us really clearly that if we open up too much too soon, it’ll get away from us and we won’t be open for too long,” he said. “It won’t be hundreds of cases a day, it’ll be thousands, and it won’t be just COVID patients who are sick and in hospital and, it’ll be other patients who need urgent care, heart attacks, strokes and they just won’t be able to get the care they need. It’s really tough because you know the impact of the decision.”

The Premier also lamented that “if there was another way, then of course I would have taken that”.

It was something Darcy responded directly to.

“Premier, I must admit I’m astounded to hear you say that it wasn’t even a 50/50 decision and that there is no other way and no other evidence,’’ Darcy said.

“There’s an incredible study just been done in The Lancet suggesting that extreme lockdowns have the opposite effect and do not work, and they cause immeasurable harm and actually in the end when you open up again you will get more cases and if that’s your policy you’ll go back to more lockdown.

“You’ve had a letter written by 500 medical experts in this town who are at the coalface day to day. Not five, not 25 — 500 medical experts who are saying to you there is a better way Premier, there is a more humane way. You can do this, you can get out and have a message.

“We were looking for nuance and sophistication yesterday, and hope. I wanted to see a plan that said Victoria can live with this virus better than any state in the world. Instead we got more barbaric lockdowns, more devastation for people.

“Why won’t you form an independent panel, take on board a broader range of medical advice outside of the chief health officer, get some of these medical people around a table because they are telling you Premier, very clearly, you can do this better, you can do this more humanely, you can open up and they’re not buying that you didn’t have other choices.”

Andrews responded pointing to Spain, who “got down to 200 cases, then they opened up, and now they’re at 10,000 cases a day”.

But Darcy replied that the death rate had dramatically dropped and said “we do live with viruses and we are able to do that without locking up healthy people and destroying their futures for decades to come”.

“It’s lacking in nuance, it’s lacking in sophistication and I think that’s where people are at the end of what has been a path that is causing … you have to admit the policy has caused death, the policy by locking people down has tipped suicide into a level that’s untenable.”

After the Premier reiterated the need to keep numbers down to ensure hospitals aren’t overrun, Darcy pointed to his father David’s death on August 1.

A 133-game veteran for Footscray across two stints through the 1960s and early 1970s, his career allowed Luke to join the Bulldogs, the club at which he played 226 games and is currently a director.

Post-career, David owned a pub he ran with wife Janet in Roxby Downs, while Luke and his siblings also run a pub and hospitality group.

“I lost my 78 year old father Premier, during this time,” he said. “And you know what happened to him. He was a very similar person to you actually Premier. He loved his golf, he was isolated in his home.

“He wasn’t dying from this, he was dying from the isolation and the loneliness because he couldn’t get to the gym, he couldn’t run his business that he built for his family his entire life so what was happening was the policies were causing harm Premier.

“That was a very big part … no one is more compassionate about the elderly. But we can pivot to actually supporting them in a meaningful way.”

But the Premier held his ground, admitting he understood there were greater consequences to his decisions.

“Of course there are other consequences but you’ve got to make a judgment about which is worse and this running wild across the state in my judgment and the judgement of all of those advising us is that it would be a far worse outcome than a safe and steady opening up and then finding that normal that we can defend and properly lock in,” he said.

Luke Darcy was soon trending on Twitter,largely with praise.

Former MasterChef winner and TV presenter Adam Liaw tweeted: “Surprised people are mad about Luke Darcy‘s interview with Dan Andrews. I thought he did an excellent job of asking the questions a lot of Victorians have in their heads, and I also thought Andrews did an excellent job of explaining the rationale behind of Victoria’s strategy.

“All participants to the interview were civil, factual, probative and at all times focused on the issue being discussed. That‘s literally how it should be done on all sides.”
7 News crime reporter Laura Banks replied: “Bold questing by Luke Darcy this morning, of Dan Andrews. There needs to be more of it.”

Seven AFL reporter Tom Browne added: “Luke Darcy’s eloquent and bold questioning of Daniel Andrews on @mmmhotbreakfast was brave and inspiring. Giving an alternative view, and a lot of people a voice. Great journalism”.

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Bryce Gibbs’ wife Lauren reveals tragic miscarriage

The wife of Adelaide Crows star Bryce Gibbs has revealed she suffered a miscarriage, taking to Instagram to announce the heartbreaking news.

Lauren Gibbs, who married Bryce in the Barossa in late 2018 after 10 years of dating, have a five-year old son Charlie and daughter, Madison Rose, who was born September 2019.

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Gibbs, who has played has played 267 games in the AFL for Carlton and Adelaide since debuting in 2007, has been in and out of the winless Crows side this season having only played two games.

But the news has once again put on-field woes into perspective with the devastating blow in his personal life.

Posting a picture of Charlie and Madison in matching pyjamas, Lauren shared news about the loss.

“We were so excited at the thought of seeing these two with another sibling,” she wrote. “I started making matching pj’s for them as they were to be joined by another little one in the new year.

“Instead we will just be left with dreams of what could have been. It’s crazy how much you can love somebody that you have never met before.”
Gibbs’ added that she had been speaking about the loss and hearing the stories of others had helped with her pain.

“I know I am not alone in this and speaking about my miscarriage has certainly helped,” she said. “I have taken strength from so many strong women who have supported me by sharing their stories of similar times. Thank you to all my wonderful family and friends. Grateful for my two little ones who make my world better every single day.”

The Adelaide Football Club has had several players’ partners suffer miscarriages recently with former Crows skippers Taylor Walker and Rory Sloane both losing babies in 2018.

Walker took time away from the game after the loss of his unborn child while Sloane and his wife Belinda lost their son Leo in a tragic stillbirth.

One year on, the Sloanes revealed they were launching the Lion Warrior program with Red Nose, an organisation `that works to eradicate sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Earlier this season, North Melbourne star Ben Brown and his wife Hester revealed the couple had lost one of their baby twins due in 2021.

The couple, who in December, 2018, celebrated the birth of their daughter Aila said they were absolutely devastated to have lost their precious second twin.

For more information and support on miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death, visit Sands or Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA).

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‘Violent and Tragic History of Oppression in Our County’

Portland, Oregon, faced another night of violent and destructive riots on Tuesday as rioters moved their attacks to the seat of the county government, including breaching its headquarters and setting a fire inside.

But even as videos posted on social media show ongoing destruction, one county official, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, did not condemn the violence and instead referred to “a violent and tragic history of oppression in our county.”

The fire damaged the Office of Community Involvement.

“This is the heart of our County, where people in our community come to get married, get their passports, and celebrate their cultural traditions and diversity,” Kafoury said in a midnight statement reported by the Oregon Live website.

She said the damaged space is dedicated to people “marginalized by the traditional political process.”

“The lobby where the first same-sex marriage in Oregon took place, and where millions of pieces of personal protective equipment are being distributed to help our community battle COVID-19, was damaged,” Kafoury said.

“I acknowledge that there is grave injustice in our world and there is a violent and tragic history of oppression in our County,” Kafoury said. “I am committed to transformational change.”

But Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese had another description of what is happening in Portland.

“The unprovoked actions by those who engaged in criminal behavior is reprehensible,” Reese said in a statement in the same Oregon Live report. “It is simply violence and serves no legitimate purpose. It does nothing to solve the issues our community faces.”

The ongoing violence in Portland and other cities such as Seattle and Chicago is taking place as the Democratic National Committee holds its virtual 2020 convention, but no one who has spoken over the first two nights of the four-night convention has addressed it.

Andy Ngo, a citizen journalist who has meticulously documented the nightly riots, reported on violent rioters, including a pedophile who was arrested but quickly released.

Ngo’s coverage included the lack of leadership in the city to counter the chaos.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter.

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The life and tragic death of Egyptian LGBT activist Sarah Hegazi – Channel 4 News

It’s been nearly a decade since thousands of Egyptians took the streets in Tahrir Square and toppled the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.

Yet for the last seven years, under President Sisi’s rule – once again journalists and activists face persecution and arrest.

The story of Egypt – of hope and promise giving way to oppression and fear – was brought into sharp focus with the death of one prominent LGBT activist.

Kiran Moodley has been looking at the life of Sarah Hegazi – and the tragedy that followed from one simple photo.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this report, you can find a range of places which offer help at

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COVID-19 Informer: A tragic reminder that COVID-19 still has a grip on Australia | Goulburn Post

coronavirus, coronavirus, covid

Australians in many areas may be looking forward to the easing of restrictions, but another death from COVID-19 is a timely reminder we’re not over it yet. The death of a man in his 60s at a Victorian hospital has taken the country’s toll to 102. Total COVID-19 cases now stand at over 7100. Victoria recorded 10 new cases of the deadly virus on Saturday, but they are not believed to be linked to previously known outbreaks at Cedar Meats, Fawkner McDonalds or aged care facilities. NSW recorded just three new cases today, however, state health minister Brad Hazzard typifies the government approach of being cautious yet bullish and wants more people to come forward to be tested. It comes as a chorus of industries in NSW clamour for the government to allow them to resume trading following the announcement that an easing of restrictions would allow 50 people to dine in restaurants, pubs and cafes from June 1. In response, the NSW government flagged the “imminent” re-opening of gyms and beauty salons. While the return of sport may be imminent for some codes, the coronavirus will change the look and feel of it for many. The International Cricket Council has released a set of guidelines for the safe resumption of the sport which will see some of the traditions scrapped to ensure medical advice is followed. In addition to players being banned from using saliva to shine the ball, umpires may wear gloves to handle the ball and refuse to take a bowler’s hat whenever cricket returns from its COVID-19 stoppage. The post-wicket huddle will no longer be possible because of social-distancing requirements, while it is now recommended teams minimise “time spent in the changing room before and after a match”. Now looking overseas to the United States where President Donald Trump has ordered state governors to reopen churches and other houses of worship even though some areas remain under coronavirus lockdown. The president threatened Friday to “override” governors who defy him, but it was unclear what authority he has to do so. But this should lift your mood … Australians are being invited to record their coronavirus experiences for future generations in a new campaign by Australia Post. Australia Post says it’s important to mark this moment in the nation’s history, as the past few months have had an extraordinary impact on families, communities and our way of life. It’s created a ‘national letterbox’ for people to write a letter describing how the COVID-19 pandemic affected them. The project is organised in conjunction with the National Archives, which will keep some of the Dear Australia letters for posterity. Did you know you can receive this digest twice a day by email. Sign up here.


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