Good morning. Covid concerns spread to western Sydney, Haiti is thrown into political crisis and Roger Federer’s dream of a ninth Wimbledon title appears over. Those stories and more this Thursday, in Guardian Australia’s morning mail.
Residents in Sydney’s south-west are being urged to isolate amid the city’s extended lockdown, with three local government areas – Liverpool, Fairfield and Bankstown-Canterbury – placed on high alert after 27 new cases. The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has told families: “Do not leave the house,” adding that “the next nine or 10 days will determine how we live” until the end of the year. The state’s chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said the admission to hospital of eight people under 35 was “a bit of a wake-up call to young people” but, as Josephine Tovey writes, younger Australian don’t need a wake-up call, they need a functioning vaccine rollout that incorporates their age group.
Leading aged care providers have called on the federal government to provide on-site vaccination clinics at homes, with RSL LifeCare – an operator of 28 aged care facilities across NSW and the ACT – telling Guardian Australia just 15% of its staff are fully vaccinated. The federal government mandated vaccination for all aged care workers last week but industry leaders say the “main barrier” remains access. And data reveals that the halving of Australia’s “passenger cap” on international arrivals from 14 July is the harshest since restrictions were introduced. Only 3,070 Australians will be repatriated on a weekly basis – the lowest figure in more than a year.
The Nationals are facing calls from leading rural representatives to reinvestigate an historic sexual harassment allegation levelled against the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce. The revelation that the man overseeing the internal party investigation, Ross Cadell, had been subject to an apprehended domestic violence order, lodged by his former wife in 2014, has caused disquiet. The application was withdrawn and Cadell has denied any wrongdoing. Sue Middleton, a former Rural Woman of the Year and influential regional businesswoman, has called the initial inconclusive investigation “a travesty”, and the process “not credible”, “given the background that has come to light”. Joyce has consistently denied the allegations level against him.
Geologists have raised concerns about aquifer levels adjacent to the Adani Carmichael coalmine that have dropped “significantly” since 2019. Traditional owners are now contemplating legal action to halt ongoing groundwater extraction.
The independent advisory body appointed by the Morrison government to review proposed NDIS changes has recommended the process be “simpler, fairer, more respectful”, cautioning that proposals to introduce independent assessments shouldn’t go ahead in their “current form”.
Climate policy uncertainty is driving offset purchases offshore, market analysts have warned, with more than 90% of all offsets bought by Australian firms going to overseas projects.
Haiti has been thrown into crisis after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. A group of highly trained commandos posing as US Drug Enforcement Administration agents stormed Moïse’s house in the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince, in what has been called a “heinous act” by the US president, Joe Biden.
About 100 people remain unaccounted for after the Miami condominium collapse that has killed at least 46. The 12-storey building collapsed on 24 June.
Armed Afghan women have taken to the streets in the nation’s north and centre in protest against the Taliban’s growing influence. One protest organiser said events including the armed marches were designed to inspire security forces.
Belgium has pledged the return of important Congolese artworks plundered during its colonial rule, with the Africa Museum, based just outside Brussels, undergoing a “decolonisation” process and returning nearly 2,000 works including statues, musical instruments and weapons.
“If someone stands by our Australian troops in need we look after them.” That was the Coalition’s immigration spokesman’s position in 2008 but fast forward to 2021 and Afghan interpreters, who once served Australian forces, are being “threatened, hunted and killed” after the withdrawal of Australian troops and closure of Australia’s embassy in Kabul, Jason Scanes writes. “As a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict and former army captain, I am appalled by the unreasonable delays in processing applications for our [interpreters].” And despite repeated failures to secure a meeting with relevant government authorities, Scanes isn’t giving up the fight for interpreters such as Hassan, who has waited eight years to know if he’ll find safety.
Calling in sick was once synonymous with “bludging” in the Australian corporate vocabulary. But around the world progressive employers are starting to acknowledge the merits of what the British call, “duvet days”, but closer to home, we might soon know as “doona days”. As HR specialist Lainie Tayler explains: “Sometimes we just need a day off, so instead of calling in and telling fibs to get some headspace, our employees can simply call out, ‘I need a doona day.’ We hope this creates open and honest dialogue and builds trust.”
By her own description, the singer-songwriter and Eurovision contestant Montaigne is “a little internet grub”. And while we usually have Australian comedians introducing their 10 funniest things on the internet, this week we’ve bent the rules. So from the wholesome (infants that are pro-gender neutral toilets) to the macabre (out-of-control helicopter rescues), there’s a little something for everyone.
With Australian cities still in lockdown, Guardian readers have answered our calls for their favourite page turners. And from Hannibal Lecter to Northumbrian immersive Iron Age holidays, you told us the books you couldn’t put down.
Australia is home to two medically supervised injection clinics, but plans for a third, in Melbourne’s CBD, have prompted a backlash. On this episode of Full Story, Guardian Australia science writer Donna Lu speaks to Lisa Townsend – a woman who battled a 25-year on-and-off heroin addiction – who tells how an injecting clinic and its staff saved her life.
England conceded their first goal of the Euro 2020 tournament after going behind to Denmark courtesy of Mikkel Damsgaard’s opener in the second semi-final. The hosts equalised a short time before half-time: follow all the latest action with our live blog.
Roger Federer’s dream of a ninth Wimbledon title appears over with the Swiss player succumbing to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, playing in his first grand slam quarter-final. The 39-year-old veteran of 20 grand slam championships briefly rallied in the second set before losing 6-3, 7-6, 6-0.
Australian defence forces will undergo a “root-and-branch review”, with the full terms of reference of the royal commission into veteran suicides set to be announced, writes the West Australian. The Adelaide Advertiser has named more than 70 people involved in the Operation Ironside raids, stemming from a major AFP investigation monitoring organised criminal networks’ use of encrypted communications. And one Sydney private school will avoid a week of online learning during lockdown by simply extending school holidays, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Reserve Bank of Australia governor, Philip Lowe, will address the Economic Society of Australia.
Gladys Berejiklian will give a NSW Covid update at 11am.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant a lot of time indoors for many. But for one Dutch artist, the perfect medium for his expression of frustration is: sand. And, helped by 30 of the world’s “best sand sculptors”, Wilfred Stijger has used nearly 5,000 tonnes of the material to make the world’s largest sandcastle. At 21.16m, there’s nothing impermanent about Denmark’s Great Tower of Blokhus.
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