Good morning. A besieged federal parliamentarian faces fresh scrutiny over a $550,000 grant, doctors reject the Australian government’s vaccine rollout claims, while the UK decides under 30s should be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab. Those stories and more.
Federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming gave a $550,000 grant to a sporting club closely connected to one of his staff members, Guardian Australia can reveal. The money was allocated from the heavily criticised $150m female facilities and water safety initiative, and was presented to the secretary of the Southern Bay Cyclones rugby union club, James Eaton – the husband of Laming’s electorate officer Stephanie Eaton. Laming is now on leave from parliament after allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards several women, with the Australian Electoral Commission also investigating the member for Bowman over more than 30 Facebook pages he operates under the guise of community and education groups.
While Australia is pushing ahead with the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout, the UK’s chief medical officer says healthy adults under the age of 30 should be offered alternatives to the AZ jab in a move described as a “course correction”. That’s being interpreted as a sign of further concern about the vaccine’s link to exacerbating rare blood clots. Meanwhile, researchers at Australian National University have suggested that the Morrison government’s handling of allegations of sexual harassment could harm the fight against Covid-19, due to falling trust in government. It comes as a leading doctors’ representative has questioned the government’s claim that the vast majority of GPs are “incredibly happy with the rollout” of vaccines, detailing complaints of “teething issues regarding supply”.
A police expert witness has said Derek Chauvin used “excessive” force through his application of “pain compliance” techniques on a prone George Floyd. Sgt Jody Stiger, a specialist in force application methods, suggested Chauvin had deliberately used “pain compliance” techniques in circumstances in which there was no opportunity for compliance, and for much longer than would ever be deemed necessary. The former police officer has denied charges of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter, after apprehending Floyd on suspicion of using a forged $20 bill. The trial in Minneapolis is in its eighth day of testimony.
Global heating is diminishing marine diversity in waters around the equator, a significant longitudinal study by Australian scientists and CSIRO researchers has revealed. Charting the movements of nearly 50,000 marine populations, the research found that many faced “extirpation” – or local extinction – as species increasingly left the tropics.
Large areas of Cape York could fall into the hands of mining speculators, traditional owners have warned, with a program designed to assist the return of millions of hectares of land failing to transfer any new properties over the past four years.
China’s ambassador to Australia has warned against meddling in the country’s internal affairs, saying the world’s most populous nation would not “swallow the bitter pill” of a pressure campaign over human rights allegations in the Xinjiang region, and would “respond in kind” if Australia were to support sanctions against it.
The head of Amnesty International has accused Russia of “torture”, calling for the opposition leader Alexei Navalny to be “freed immediately”. Lawyers for the dissident claim he has two herniated discs in his back and remains feverish after a hunger strike last week.
Los Angeles police have revealed that Tiger Woods is “very fortunate” to be alive, after speeding heavily – he was clocked at 140km/hr in a 70km/hr zone – before a car crash that left the golfer with serious injuries.
Jordan’s King Abdullah has detailed the “shock and pain” at discovering an alleged act of sedition led by his half-brother Prince Hamzah, the former heir to the throne. The comments came four days after Hamzah’s arrest but the king has offered no clarification into claims a foreign government was also involved in the alleged coup.
Genetic sequencing of 45,000-year-old human remains found in Bulgaria has challenged previous understanding of migration patterns, suggesting “some continuity between the earliest modern humans in Europe and later people in Eurasia”.
Bereavement can be especially confronting because of its enduring permanence. In this week’s column, Eleanor Gordon-Smith offers an insight to the question of how to come back to “normality” after the loss of a loved one. “I think that’s why the pain is so bad when it hits; we know it’s about something permanent. There’s no future where our loved one is alive. So we get hit by one wave of pain for the fact that they’re gone, and another for the fact that they will never not be.” But while grief may never quite leave you, like the hope left in Pandora’s box, a fragile, timid sense of joy may at some time come to co-inhabit the yawning emptiness you first feel.
The IMF has upgraded its forecast for the state of the Australian economy. And yet the government is singing a tired refrain in cautioning against wages growth, Greg Jericho argues. “Contradiction is a standard position when the government talks about the economy. So too is a desire to play the greatest hits of conservative governments – wages can’t grow too fast because we need employment to grow strongly; employment is growing strongly but we need to give employer’s more powers; companies need strong profits because that will flow through to wages, but wages can’t grow too fast.”
From one women’s love of curtains to classic choreography from Australian TV. In this week’s 10 funniest things on the internet, the Australian comedian Kirsty Webeck has mined the internet for comedy cryptocurrency so that we don’t have to. Get on this before the bubble bursts.
Full Story examines what we know about the risks and rewards associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, featuring Guardian Australia’s health editor, Melissa Davey,
Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.
One of Australian Rugby’s most successful franchises appears on the horns of a dilemma. For the Waratahs, after the sacking of Rob Penney, it’s a gamble to either place faith in the untested or turn back to the past, Bret Harris argues.
Major League Baseball has found itself at the centre of a maelstrom over its decision to relocate this year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta because of a new law in Georgia that critics say is a form of voter suppression.
Exporters have found new buyers for almost all products affected by China’s trade bans, the Australian reports, with domestic research suggesting only the wine sector “suffered terribly” through the policy. The Age reports on a Victorian universities’ proposal to help pay for a quarantine scheme for international students, similar to the way tennis players were allowed into the state for the Australian Open. . And who has Australia’s “fiercest bloody mullet”? That’s the question posed by the NT News, inviting Australians to vote for their favourite follicle version of a “Top End waterfall”.
The NSW Nationals leader, John Barilaro, will formally endorse the party’s candidate for the crucial Upper Hunter byelection, construction manager David Layzell.
And if you’ve read this far …
It hails from the early bronze age (between 2150BC and 1600BC) and has archaeologists in a lather due to its potential to be “the oldest cartographical representation” of a European landmark. Or in more plain language, the first known 3D map of a strategic valley region, recalled and created purely from the mind. And according to experts, the engraved outline of the Odet River is accurate to around 80%.
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