Hassell, OMA top architecture awards



The WA Museum Boola Bardip received several accolades for architectural excellence at the latest instalment of the Australian Institute of Architects WA awards.

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Wall St edges higher, inflation fears fade


US stock indexes have risen slightly on gains in technology and growth-exposed sectors after inflation data calmed fears over imminent policy tightening by the Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 traded just below a record high of 4249.74, with heavyweight technology stocks serving as the largest boost.

Sectors such as financials and basic resources that stand to benefit from an economic bounceback this year also supported the index.

Investors scaled back expectations for early policy tightening by the Fed after May’s consumer price data suggested a recent spike in inflation would be transitory.

Much of the price surge in May came from items such as commodities and airfares, and it is expected to be temporary.

With recent data also indicating weakness in the labour market, the Fed is widely expected to maintain accommodative policy at its meeting next week, which is positive for stocks and other risk-driven assets.

“The commentary will be that they’re still focusing on the last two employment reports, which were much weaker than anticipated,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York, said.

“And so the Fed will have to wait for additional data before even talking about tapering.

“This meeting coming up, plus the meeting in late July, will probably result in no policy changes, or even contemplation of policy changes.”

At 9.45am Eastern Time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 87.44 points, or 0.25 per cent, at 34,553.68; the S&P 500 was up 6.54 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 4245.72; and the Nasdaq Composite was up 19.12 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 14,039.46.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were set for mild weekly gains, as a lack of major catalysts and a summer lull in trading saw them move in a tight range.

But weakness in major industrial stocks saw the Dow Jones set for a weekly loss amid doubts over whether President Joe Biden’s $US2.3 trillion infrastructure spending plan would pass.

The S&P industrials sector rose 0.4 per cent on Friday, but was set to lose for the week.

Cruise operators fell in early trade, with Royal Caribbean Group shedding 1.6 per cent after two guests on its Celebrity Millennium ship tested positive for COVID-19.

Stocks favoured by small-time retail investors that have dominated trading volumes in recent weeks were set to close higher for the week, even as a rally appeared to be running out of steam on Thursday.

Most of the so-called ‘meme’ stocks rose on Friday.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.17-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.90-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 18 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and six new lows.

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$840,000 fine for media violating court order in Australia


  • An Australian court has ordered 12 media outlets to pay $842,270 for breaching a gag order when reporting on former Vatican treasurer George Pell’s since-overturned conviction for child sexual assault
  • Most of the media outlets are owned by Nine Entertainment and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp
  • After he was found guilty by a jury, Pell – the most senior Catholic church official to be convicted of child sexual assault – spent over a year in prison before his conviction was overturned in April last year

MELBOURNE, Australia: An Australian court has ordered 12 media outlets, most of them owned by Nine Entertainment and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, to pay $842,270 in fines for breaching a gag order when reporting on former Vatican treasurer George Pell’s since-overturned conviction for child sexual assault in 2018.

The media outlets had pleaded guilty to breaching the suppression order in February after the state agreed to drop charges against journalists and editors, Reuters reported.

The County Court of Victoria had gagged coverage of Pell’s trial and verdict in 2018 to ensure a fair trial for the cardinal, who was accused of abusing two choirboys.

After he was found guilty by a jury, Pell – the most senior Catholic church official to be convicted of child sexual assault – spent over a year in prison before his conviction was overturned in April last year.

Despite the gag order, foreign media had published the 2018 verdict, naming Pell and the charges filed against him.

The Australian news outlets, on their part, had made references to Pell’s conviction, and directed readers to online coverage of it, saying they were prevented from publishing this important news.

Fining the media outlets for the breach, Supreme Court of Victoria Justice John Dixon said they had “frustrated the suppression order, as they diminished its purpose or efficacy by reporting information contrary to the terms of the order”.

Dixon fined Nine Entertainment’s The Age newspaper $345,000 and News Corp’s news.com.au website $306,000, saying they “deliberately took a risk by intentionally publishing information derived from the trial to advance a particular purpose – a collateral attack on the role of suppression orders in Victoria’s criminal justice system – that was obviously in conflict with the purpose of the suppression order”.

Dixon said he had taken into account the media’s “sincere and unreserved apology” to the courts while deciding on the penalties.

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State to fund new children’s hospice



The state government has announced that it will fund the planning and operation of a Perth Children’s Hospice, to be built at Swanbourne.

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West Coast Eagles failed finals-like test against Essendon, says Dom Sheed


Dom Sheed has lamented West Coast’s inability to handle Essendon’s “finals-like pressure” and failure to maintain their momentum when on top as the keys to their first loss at Optus Stadium this season.

Fresh from a career-high and ground-record 43 disposals, Sheed said Essendon’s manic pressure contributed to the Eagles surrendering their 29-point advantage on the way to a 16-point defeat on Saturday night.

“We were five goals up with a couple of minutes to go in the second term and we blew it,” he said.

It was West Coast’s first regular season loss at Burswood since 2019 and left them two games and substantial percentage out of the top four. Sheed said the loss of Tim Kelly to a knee injury did not excuse West Coast’s midfield division being beaten but admitted the Essendon pressure proved difficult to counter.

“It felt like a finals game with their pressure,” Sheed said.

“That is what we wanted to bring to the game but they were better than us at it.

“When they put on heat like that when you have the footy, it is very hard to find a composed possession. Credit to them, they deserved the win because they were tougher for longer and brought good heat.”

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Speaking on ABC radio after the match, Sheed said West Coast had been able to score heavily this season when armed with strong momentum but several times had yielded that advantage to their opponents.

West Coast have sustained losses despite leads over Western Bulldogs (seven points), St Kilda (20), Greater Western Sydney (five) and now Essendon (29).

“When it is going our way we seem to capitalise and kick goals and hurt them on the scoreboard but when momentum is not going our way, we seem to be giving up far too many easy goals,” Sheed said.

“It is something we need to address and find ways to shut the game down when momentum is not going our way.

“We missed TK but that is not an excuse. We just got beaten as a midfield group today and it is just not good enough.”

Dom Sheed looks to get a kick away.
Camera IconDom Sheed looks to get a kick away. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

Meanwhile, Essendon forward Alec Waterman squared his personal ledger with brother Jake after being on the winning side during their second on-field meeting.

Waterman kicked the sealer on his return to Perth during a handy contribution in the Essendon forward line.

A nervous earlier shot was off-line but travelled nearly 70m into the crowd.

His first match against his younger brother came early in 2019 when he was making a comeback for Claremont after a long battle with chronic fatigue that cost him his place on the West Coast list after being a father-son draft selection.

He took on Jake who was playing for West Coast’s WAFL team in a game the Eagles won.

Alec received a knee in the back that broke several ribs, punctured his lung and forced him to miss two months of football.

But he produced a superb 2020 season for Claremont that prompted Essendon to sign him during this year’s supplementary selection period.

Jake Waterman was West Coast’s medical sub on Saturday but had an immediate impact when he came onto the ground after Kelly was injured at the opening bounce of the second quarter.

Waterman ran from the interchange bench directly into the forward pocket where he collected a loose ball and kicked accurately from about 25m.

He added West Coast’s only goal in the last quarter during a lively effort in attack.

The loss of the versatile Oscar Allen (concussion) means that Jake Waterman is likely to return to the starting 22 against Carlton next week.

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Aussies preparing for battle with West Indies in St Lucia and Barbados


MELBOURNE, Australia – Australia and the West Indies are set to lock horns in five T20Is and three ODIs in July this year. Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, David Warner, Moises Henriques, Alex Carey, and Pat Cummins return to the squad after missing the recent white-ball tour of New Zealand.

Hard-hitting batsman Matthew Wade, Marcus Stoinis, and Mitchell Marsh join D’Arcy Short in the mix for the final batting places. They all add the flexibility of being able to play in the top or middle-order. Highly rated bat Josh Phillipe adds another top-order option with captain Aaron Finch and David Warner and as an additional backup wicketkeeper/batsman to Alex Carey and Matthew Wade.

Experienced all-rounders Stoinis, Moises Henriques, and Marsh are joined by the in-form Maxwell in the preliminary squad. Daniel Sams advised the NSP he was unavailable for selection for the tour of the West Indies on health and wellbeing grounds. CA says it supports Sams’s decision. Pacemen Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, and Andrew Tye join Cummins, Hazlewood, and Starc as the primary pace strike weapons. They are joined by gun speedster Riley Meredith and left-armer Jason Behrendorff.

National selector Trevor Hohns said: “This preliminary list gives selectors a solid base from which to choose a final touring party in the coming weeks while allowing players to prepare.”

“The Australian men’s T20 squad has the ability to match it with any team in the world and the competition for places will be fierce, which is exactly what we are looking for. The West Indies men’s team has won two of the six ICC T20 World Cups played, including the most recent tournament in India and 2016, and this series will provide us with excellent preparation ahead of the 2021 edition in October and November.” Australia’s 23-member preliminary squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Tanveer Sangh, D’Arcy Short, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

The West Indies announced the whistle-stop schedule for the Australian men’s team’s first visit to the Caribbean in five years, two weeks ago. It will be just their third overseas tour since the pandemic began.

The Aussies will play eight games in two weeks against the West Indies in St Lucia and Barbados from July 9-24 in what shapes as vital preparation for the T20 World Cup to be played later this year, a Cricket Australia statement said.

The importance of the five T20s against the reigning world champions in that format, all to be played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia, could be heightened for Australia if a mooted tour of Bangladesh does not go ahead amid the subcontinent’s concerns with coronavirus.

The St Lucia ground, which is being used as a COVID vaccination centre for the island, is the venue where 11 years ago this month Mike Hussey smashed an incredible 60 not out from 24 balls in a 2010 T20 World Cup classic against Pakistan, CA said. (Big News Network/ANI)

(Photo credit: Cricket Australia).

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Ash to lead quarantine panel



Social services executive Sue Ash has been named independent chair of the state government’s newly formed quarantine advisory panel.

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SA imposes more virus rules for Melbourne


South Australia has tightened COVID-19 restrictions with Victoria, imposing measures on anyone arriving from the Greater Melbourne area.

Anyone coming to SA must take a virus test within 24 hours and self-isolate until they test negative.

Further tests on days five and 13 are required.

They are also banned from high-risk areas and must not attend any events with 1000 people or more.

The restrictions are on top of those already imposed in relation to high-risk locations in Melbourne, with the SA border closed to people who attended them at particular times.

They come after Melbourne’s cluster grew to 15 cases on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, SA officials are close to releasing a report into how a Victorian man caught COVID-19 while in hotel quarantine in Adelaide.

The man’s case is now believed to have sparked the Melbourne outbreak.

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Emily Kirkpatrick said it was important for there to be complete transparency in the operation of the hotel quarantine system.

“It’s very, very important that we emphasise that hotel quarantine is a high-risk business and we have to make sure whatever reports we put out to the community have been verified and provide accurate information,” she said.

“It (the report) absolutely will be made public.”

Premier Steven Marshall said the government believed it had taken every precaution possible with the hotel quarantine system but if the report identified even tighter levels of protection they would be implemented immediately.

“This is going to be a very important report, but we want to get it right, not rushed,” he said.

“I think we’ve been very open, very transparent on everything to do with COVID management since day one.”

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Aussie state launches online booking to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine rollout


SYDNEY, May 24 (Xinhua) — A new online COVID-19 vaccination booking system will be open for appointments in the state of Western Australia (WA) on Tuesday as part of the government’s efforts to ramp up the vaccine rollout.

The system would provide online process for booking and confirming vaccination appointments at community and hospital-based vaccination clinics across the state.

When booking online, search results will display relevant clinics and dates based on the information entered by the user, along with the recommended vaccine and timing between doses.

The launch of the online bookings also coincides with a new cohort of eligible people, including younger adults with specified underlying medical conditions and people with disability, as part of the Phase 1B cohort, who will now have increased opportunities to be vaccinated through WA’s State-run clinics.

Previously people in this category were eligible to be vaccinated through the Commonwealth’s arrangements. However, they had fewer opportunities to get vaccinated due to limited supply of Pfizer vaccine.

“Making the vaccine available for more of the Phase 1B cohort through State-run clinics will assist in getting the vaccination rate up,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook expected more than 300,000 Western Australians with chronic conditions or disability would get vaccinated from this week.

In addition, community clinics will soon roll out Pfizer vaccine. Claremont Showgrounds clinic in early June will firstly offer the Pfizer vaccine to eligible people under 50 via phone or online booking. The AstraZeneca vaccine will also be available in the clinic through pre-booked appointments from May 31.

As of Sunday, more than 361,000 vaccines had been administered in WA, which were above the national average.

“Getting your COVID vaccine when you’re eligible is one of the best things you can do to keep your fellow Western Australians safe,” said McGowan.

“My priority is to ensure we have as many people vaccinated as possible which is why we need more people who are already eligible to roll up for WA and get the COVID-19 vaccine.”

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Inflation debate reigns, ASX inches up



Kogan executives have claimed inflation is affecting the online retailer’s fortunes, but a fund manager says he was yet to see price pressures elsewhere.

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