Sunrise host Samantha Armytage announces ‘big news’


Sam Armytage has some “big news” to announce just weeks after her surprise wedding to Richard Lavender.

The Sunrise presenter took to Instagram to share her fresh venture with her followers and confirmed she’s hosting her own podcast called Something to Talk About with Samantha Armytage.

“BIG NEWS: I’m starting a podcast,” Armytage captioned the promo post.

The podcast is in collaboration with Stellar magazine, the same publication the Seven personality writes a weekly column for.

“A little weekly chat – similar to my columns. First one drops this Sunday.. pls tune in,” she wrote.

It comes after the 44-year-old married Lavender, in an inmate ceremony on New Year’s Eve.

Armytage’s dog Banjo and Lavender’s daughters were among the few guests at the nuptials, which were held at the businessman’s 40 hectare property in the Southern Highlands in NSW.

The couple are notoriously private and have kept their romance away from the cameras. But the bride did share photos from her big day to the delight of her fans and further details back at the Sunrise desk.

“We decided three days before we were going to get married and we did. It was lovely. Twelve of us there and it was just gorgeous,” she said on the breakfast show.

“We just didn’t know when we were going to get it done.

“Rich’s family were all in lockdown on the northern beaches so they couldn’t come, my sister is in London, and dad was like, ‘Just do it’. We’ve done it. Dad loves a party so we gave him one.”

Armytage announced her engagement to Lavender in June with an Instagram post of the pair snuggled up together, showing off an engagement ring.

They have been together since April, 2019.

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State records no new COVID-19 cases, raising hopes for eased restrictions


New South Wales reached its 38th day without a local case – a record for the state – on Wednesday.

Friday marks the end of the 14-day isolation period for close contacts in the Holiday Inn outbreak that sparked Melbourne’s five-day hard lockdown.

With an extended run of no new locally acquired cases outside the Holiday Inn cluster, Mr Andrews said the state was well-placed to ease restrictions on Friday.

“I think we can be quite positive about making some announcements tomorrow,” Mr Andrews said.

The Premier said the state had to “pull together” and make some “very difficult choices” after the highly contagious UK variant of the virus spread in the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport, infecting staff who then mingled in the community.

“But Victorians were equal to that challenge, he said. “That’s what makes me so proud. No state’s been through as much as our state … I think tomorrow will be a positive day for all.”

Under current restrictions, Victorians are allowed a maximum of five visitors to their homes and public gatherings are limited to 20 people outdoors.

The cap on people returning to work – currently set at 50 per cent – may move to 75 per cent in the public and private sector if restrictions are eased.

On a positive note, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is reopening at the Princess Theatre after COVID-19 shut down the show for 11 months.

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Audience numbers will be capped at 50 per cent on Thursday and Friday due to restrictions from the snap lockdown. If restrictions ease as expected on Friday, the cap will lift to 85 per cent from Saturday.

The training and credentials of all Victorian doctors and nurses involved in Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout are being urgently reviewed after two aged care residents in Queensland accidentally received overdoses of the vaccine.

Vaccinations in aged care homes are behind schedule just days into the federal government’s rollout as an untrained doctor was revealed to have delivered the wrong dose to patients in Brisbane’s north.

NSW appears to be leading the charge in vaccinating front-line workers. More than 3200 quarantine hotel staff and healthcare workers have received the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine in NSW.

A total of 808 vaccine doses were administered in Victoria on Wednesday, up from 675 on Tuesday and 580 on Monday. In total, 2063 vaccine doses have been received in Victoria this week.

Mr Andrews said the rollout was a “massive, massive logistics task” but was ultimately progressing well.

“It’s that sort of slow, steady, gradual work that has to be done so that we get the best outcomes for each of those [vaccine] cohorts and as the program expands,” he said.

Meanwhile, Victoria has tightened restrictions on travellers from Auckland after more cases emerged in the New Zealand city this week.

The Department of Health issued a statement late on Wednesday night saying all flights arriving from Auckland into Victoria would be regarded as “red zone” arrivals from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

The updated advice comes after three more cases emerged in Auckland on Tuesday, believed to be linked to an outbreak on February 14 that plunged the city into a snap three-day lockdown.

The statement said anyone arriving into the state from the New Zealand city would have to enter mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days.

Any traveller from Auckland who arrived in Melbourne from Tuesday has been urged to get a COVID-19 test immediately and quarantine until they received a negative result.

Mr Andrews said that one flight had arrived from New Zealand since the new advice came into effect.

He said the flight was from a green zone, but that out of an “abundance of caution” everyone on the plane was being contacted by health authorities and told to get tested and isolate.

“One flight has come to Melbourne, one green-zone flight,” Mr Andrews said. “Our public health authorities are … in the process of contacting each of the people that [were] on that flight, explaining to them that they need to isolate and get tested.”

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Mosimane rejecting Miquissone haunts him as Simba upset Ahly


Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane rejected Luis Miquissone three years ago and the decision came back to haunt him Tuesday as a brilliant goal by the Mozambican gave Simba an upset 1-0 CAF Champions League victory.

Miquissone moved left, then right on the edge of the ‘D’ before unleashing a thunderbolt that flew over Ahly captain and goalkeeper Mohamed el Shenawy into the net on 31 minutes.

Tanzania have permitted spectators at football matches throughout the coronavirus pandemic and the estimated 30,000 crowd at the national stadium in Dar es Salaam rose to cheer a worthy match-winner.

Miquissone joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 2018 when Mosimane was coach of the Pretoria outfit but failed to impress and was loaned to South African and Mozambican clubs before joining Simba last year.

He is part of a multi-national Simba line-up, with five Tanzanians and one player each from the DR Congo, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia starting against Egyptian and African giants Ahly.

Mosimane made history last September when he became the first sub-Saharan African to coach Ahly since the club was formed in 1907, and the loss to Simba was only his second since taking charge.

The victory for Simba, coupled with V Club of DR Congo crushing Al Merrikh of Sudan 4-1 in Omdurman, has turned Group A into a three-club melting pot after just two matchdays.

Simba lead with six points, V Club and title-holders Ahly have three each and pointless Merrikh appear out of contention for a top-two finish and a quarter-finals place after successive three-goal losses.

The form of the Tanzanian champions in Africa this season — four wins and a draw in six matches — has made them the surprise side of a competition.

In nine previous attempts to reach the group stage, they succeeded only twice, and last year suffered an embarrassing preliminary round defeat by Songo of Mozambique.

A change of coaches in the middle of this CAF campaign — Belgian Sven Vandenbroeck moved to FAR Rabat of Morocco and was replaced by Frenchman Didier Gomes da Rosa — has not disrupted the team.

Simba travel to Merrikh next, then host the Sudanese side and V Club before the ultimate test of their title credentials on April 9 or 10, away to Ahly in Cairo.

In Omdurman, V Club spectacularly recovered from a shock home loss to Simba, and falling behind to Merrikh after eight minutes, thanks to goals from Obed Mukokiani (two), Djuma Shabani and Amede Masasi.

Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, who have been champions, runners-up, and semi-finalists twice in the past five seasons, belatedly began their Group C campaign with a 1-0 win at Petro Luanda of Angola.

Ayoub el Kaabi had a penalty saved before scoring the only goal on 71 minutes after a superb pass from Libyan Muaid Ellafi.

Petro veteran Ricardo ‘Job’ Estevao squandered a chance to equalise soon after, blazing a penalty over the crossbar, which left his club pointless after two rounds.

In the same section, the group-stage debut of famed South African club Kaizer Chiefs proved an anti-climax as they were held 0-0 by Horoya of Guinea in Soweto.

Four-time champions Esperance of Tunisia stayed top of Group D thanks to an Abderraouf Benguit equaliser in a 1-1 away draw with Mouloudia Alger.

Source: News24

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ASX down as inflation debate continues



Australia’s share market has closed lower but investors may have had greater losses if not for the US Federal Reserve assuring current policy settings will continue.

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Nine lifts H1 earnings by 79 per cent


Broadcaster and publisher Nine Entertainment has reported a 79 per cent gain in first-half earnings after advertising increased by more than company leaders expected.

Nine on Wednesday reported a net profit after tax of $181.8 million, helped by what chief executive Hugh Marks said was strict cost efficiency during the pandemic.

Group costs were cut by 13 per cent and helped offset a two per cent fall in revenue, compared with the previous first-half figures.

Nine operates TV channels, radio stations and publishes titles including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of five cents per share, fully franked. This was the same as the previous interim payout.

Shares were higher by 5.62 per cent to $2.82 at 1120 AEDT.

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This 105-year-old beat COVID-19. She credits gin-soaked raisins


Her children and grandchildren recall the ritual as just one of DeClerck’s endearing lifelong habits, like drinking aloe juice straight from the container and brushing her teeth with baking soda. (That worked, too: She did not have a cavity until she was 99, relatives said.)

“We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing? You’re crazy’,” said her 53-year-old granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil, of Los Angeles. “Now the laugh is on us. She has beaten everything that’s come her way.”

It is a long list. Born in 1916 in Hawaii to parents who came from Guatemala and Spain, she lived through the Spanish flu, two world wars and the deaths of three husbands and a son.

She moved to Wyoming, California and back to Hawaii before finally arriving in New Jersey, where she lived with her oldest son. After turning 90, she moved to an adult community in Manahawkin, New Jersey, along the Jersey Shore, where she remained active until she injured herself in a fall about four years ago.

“She is just the epitome of perseverance,” O’Neil said. “Her mind is so sharp. She will remember things when I was a kid that I don’t even remember.”

DeClerck, the oldest resident of her South Jersey nursing home, learned that she had contracted the virus on her 105th birthday, January 25, the day after she had gotten her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to Michael Neiman, the home’s administrator.

At first, she said she was scared. She did not like being isolated, and she missed the daily chatter from the parade of caregivers at Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing, a 120-bed facility in Little Egg Harbour.

She showed few symptoms, Neiman said. And within two weeks she was back in her room, holding her rosary beads and wearing her trademark sunglasses and knit hat.

To her two surviving sons, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren, who call her Grandma Lucia, she has a new moniker, O’Neil said: “The 105-year-old badass who kicked COVID.”

On Monday, she got a shout-out from Governor Phil Murphy, who described a phone call with her during a coronavirus news briefing.

“What an uplifting conversation,” the Governor said.

DeClerck’s family gathered in January 2020 at Mystic Meadows to celebrate her 104th birthday before the onset of the pandemic. When they learned that she had contracted the virus, they braced for the worst.

“We were very concerned,” her son, Phillip Laws, 78, said.

“But she’s got a tenacity that is unbelievable,” he added. “And she’s got that rosary – all the time.”

A devout Catholic, DeClerck led rosary prayers each week at the nursing home and, before the pandemic, was a fixture at weekly Mass.

She raised three sons and ran a corner store for decades with her first husband, Henry Laws jnr, in Los Angeles. She married twice more after returning to Hawaii, where she worked as a home health aide and welcomed grandchildren for summer-long visits.

DeClerck is one of 62 residents of Mystic Meadows to have contracted the virus; four patients died, including three who were receiving hospice care, Neiman said.

“We’re as careful as possible,” he said, “but this finds a way of sneaking in.”

In January, residents were being tested twice a week, and a rapid test in the last week of the month showed that DeClerck had contracted the virus.

“At first she was a little apprehensive, a little scared, but she said, ‘God will protect me’,” Neiman said.

She had also been vaccinated, which most likely contributed to her recovery. The first studies of Britain’s mass inoculation program showed strong evidence on Monday that even one dose of vaccine can help slash coronavirus-related hospitalisations.

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DeClerck is not the oldest person to beat the virus.

Europe’s oldest-known resident, Sister André, contracted the virus at 116. She celebrated with a glass of champagne on her 117th birthday earlier this month at a nursing home in Toulon, a city in south-eastern France.

Like Sister André, DeClerck may be ready for a toast.

But it is likely to involve gin and a handful of golden raisins. Her family is following suit.

“Now all of us are rushing out and getting Mason jars and yellow raisins and trying to catch up,” O’Neil said.

The New York Times

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17,300-year-old kangaroo identified as Australia’s oldest rock painting


SYDNEY, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) — A two-meter-long painting of a kangaroo in Western Australia’s Kimberley region has been recognized as Australia’s oldest intact rock painting, dating back 17,300 years.

Naturalistic depictions of animals are a common subject for the world’s oldest dated rock art. In a paper published in Nature Human Behavior on Tuesday, a research team led by the University of Melbourne used the radiocarbon dating of 27 mud wasp nests from 16 similar paintings in Kimberley to identify the one that features kangaroo as the oldest dated in-situ rock painting so far.

First author, Dr. Damien Finch from the University of Melbourne, said it was rare to find mud wasp nests overlying and underlying a single painting, which helps to establish the minimum and maximum age for the artwork.

“We radiocarbon dated three wasp nests underlying the painting and three nests built over it to determine, confidently, that the painting is between 17,500 and 17,100 years old, most likely 17,300 years old,” said Finch.

“This makes the painting Australia’s oldest known in-situ painting.”

Finch said this is a significant find which provides insights into the world these ancient artists lived in, “the Naturalistic period extended back into the Last Ice Age, so the environment was cooler and drier than today.”

Dr. Sven Ouzman from the University of Western Australia said the rock painting would unlock further understanding of Indigenous cultural history.

“This iconic kangaroo image is visually similar to rock paintings from islands in South East Asia dated to more than 40,000 years ago, suggesting a cultural link – and hinting at still older rock art in Australia,” Ouzman said.

In the future, the researcher team plans to date further wasp nests to develop a time scale for Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley.

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Sanur frustrated by precinct plan



A draft development plan outlining the vision for the future of Subiaco’s “beating heart” has copped criticism from the site’s largest private landholder.

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Collins sets up Barty clash in Adelaide


American Danielle Collins has set up a meeting with world No.1 Ash Barty after beating Zheng Saisai in the Adelaide International.

Collins overcome Zheng 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 in their first round clash on Monday, figuring out her Chinese opponent after two previous losses.

“She’s a really challenging player to play against,” Collins said. “She has a really versatile game and it can be tricky at times.”

It means Collins, a 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist, will come up against Australian defending champion Barty in the second round on Wednesday.

The American world No.37 pushed Barty to a third-set tiebreaker at the semi-final stage in Adelaide last year.

Australian wildcard Olivia Gadecki, 18, lost her first round clash against eighth seed Wang Qiang 6-4 6-3 on Monday.

On Tuesday the stage is set for two all-Australian match-ups with Sam Stosur to play Maddison Inglis and Ajla Tomljanovic to meet Storm Sanders in the first round.

Stosur and Tomljanovic both took wildcards to play the event while Inglis and Sanders were qualifiers.

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How ‘Bomber’ Thompson rebuilt his life after drug conviction


“You know, if you go back in time, should I let that guy into my house? No. It happened”
Thompson said.

“I never thought I’d get to prison at all”, says Thompson, “I was a drug user. At no point did I
ever sell drugs”.

During that time, Thompson began regular counselling sessions with Melbourne-based
psychologist, Sandy Rea.

“[Ms Rea] was fantastic. This man was crying after about three minutes. She got me. She has
the ability to just open people up,” Thompson said.

Ms Rea diagnosed Thompson with post-traumatic stress disorder, following his stint at Essendon during the infamous “supplements saga”.

“I didn’t think our club really supported its people,” said Thompson, who left Geelong after two flags to join Essendon favourite son James Hird in a coaching role at the Bombers.

The club “self-reported” the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs to the AFL in February 2013, triggering the infamous doping scandal.

Thompson was fined $30,000 for his part in the injections program and served as senior coach when Hird was suspended in 2014.

As part of his treatment, Ms Rea ordered Thompson to reach out to five people he cared about
each week.

Essendon ‘self-reported’ to the AFL in February 2013.

Essendon ‘self-reported’ to the AFL in February 2013. Credit:Wayne Taylor

Thompson says the reconnection with his loved ones, changed his life.

“It’s incredible. It was the most powerful thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s almost like the build-up of years and years and years of emotion, you know anger, the whole lot was released”.

It’s a lesson he wants others to hear.

“Think about what you’ve done and know that people who love you will forgive you for
whatever you do. Don’t avoid them” he said.

Thompson said he had found a purpose in his life away from the AFL bubble.

He’s taken up woodwork and has found that working on tables and cheese boards keeps his
mind focused.

“I’ve got the purpose and the purpose is to come and do some, some woodwork
with all my mates”.

Mark Thompson’s interview with A Current Affair airs from 7pm Monday

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