Good morning. Rising Covid cases continue to put pressure on hospitals and health workers. Support payments for workers will end when vaccination rates hit 80%, and political talk on the climate crisis is all “blah blah blah” with no action, according to Greta Thunberg.
International tourism is unlikely to resume by Christmas, according to foreign airlines, who say there’s too much uncertainty surrounding quarantine requirements and vaccine passports. The Board of Airline Representatives of Australia said the federal government’s speculated timeline was “simply an unworkable proposition” for airlines without clarity around key issues, including how many passengers they will be allowed to carry and how vaccine statuses will be checked. One airline source said it was “naive” to expect pre-pandemic travel so soon.
Victorian hospitals are straining under an “extraordinary” demand as Covid cases surge, and New South Wales is “not out of the woods” despite fewer than predicted hospitalisations. The Royal Melbourne hospital has closed its Covid testing clinic to divert resources to emergency and intensive care patients and emergency department staff were reported to be taking increased sick leave due to burnout. Meanwhile, in NSW, officials expect pressure on the state’s healthcare system to increase when restrictions are lifted next month.
The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, will announce today that that Covid disaster payments will end when states and territories reach the 80% vaccination mark – even if some regions end up being locked down again. The income support will probably end in NSW in mid-October and in Victoria the following month. As vaccination rates increase and states open, NSW cafes and restaurants are “confused and bewildered” about who will enforce looming laws barring unvaccinated patrons. With mixed messaging from government and police officials as to whether it’s up to the individual to do the right thing, or if police would be enforcing public health orders, restaurant and cafe owners fear confrontations if a QR code-style system is not in place.
US general Mark Milley has defended his calls with Chinese officials in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, saying the conversations were meant to “de-escalate” tensions between the two nations. Milley defended himself against charges of insubordination for taking actions aimed at mitigating the threat of Donald Trump starting a war in his last weeks as president. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff told the Senate armed services committee: “I am certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese.” Milley also told the committee the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the evacuation of Kabul was “a logistical success but a strategic failure.”
Scott Morrison faces escalating pressure to set a more ambitious national climate target for 2030 after the NSW government promised to cut the state’s emissions in half this decade.
A Queensland man suing judge Salvatore Vasta claims he abused government power, intimidated a lawyer in court, and acted in an “outrageous” manner while wrongly jailing him for 12 months, according to court documents.
Eastern Kuku Yalanji people will take formal ownership of four national parks, including the Daintree rainforest, after a historic deal was reached between traditional owners and the Queensland government.
Rapid antigen tests for Covid are set to hit Australian shelves in November and the Therapeutic Goods Administration has received dozens of applications to import and sell different types of the 15-minute tests.
Scores of women were sexually abused by World Health Organisation aid workers during the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to an independent inquiry. The commission, which examined about 80 cases of women and girls aged 13 to 43, identified 21 employees among perpetrators of serious abuses, including a number of rape allegations.
Greta Thunberg has lambasted global leaders over their promises to address the climate emergency, dismissing them as “blah, blah, blah”, in a speech to the Youth4Climate summit.
A Danish artist has delivered empty frames with the title Take the Money and Run to the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art and kept $84,000 as a protest against low pay.
The Nature Conservancy photo contest has returned after a Covid break with an array of stunning images showcasing the natural wonders of Australia. Among the winners is this image captured during hatchling season at Heron Island in February 2021. A tropical storm had just engulfed the island with pelting rain, thunder and lightning. A green sea turtle hatchling cautiously surfaces for air to a sky full of hungry birds. The storm brought out thousands of birds making this hatchling’s journey to survive even more challenging.
For a niche but passionate corner of the internet, video games are not simply things to play, but structures to be torn down and rebuilt – together. “Speedrunning is the art of playing video games as fast as possible,” writes Joe Koning. “You can speedrun any game – the entire thing, or just sections of it. Some world records are incredibly short, taking only a handful of seconds. Others can be hours long. On the internet, they are pored over, analysed and discussed by a thriving community of people who, like me, delight in seeing games pushed and warped beyond their limits.”
“I went to the drawer in my attic and took out the Tower Records bag and removed the towel. I opened it. The gum was in there. It looked as I remembered, the sacred heart, a Buddha … Her tooth print was still visible. I was both surprised and relieved to see it was there.” Warren Ellis will discuss his forthcoming book, Nina Simone’s Gum, at Guardian Australia’s Zoom book club on Thursday. Have a question for Ellis? Pre-register here to join Guardian Australia’s interactive book club.
Labor’s latest hand-picked federal candidate – Olympic shooter and former coalminer Daniel Repacholi – is raising eyebrows, and the ire of some rank and file ALP members. In today’s Full Story, Laura Murphy-Oates speaks to chief political correspondent Sarah Martin about Labor’s infighting over the blue-collar seat and what it says about the party’s future.
South Sydney v Penrith is the blockbuster rivalry in James Colley’s household. “Dad is a diehard Souths fan … Becoming a Penrith fan instead is perhaps the most I have ever disappointed my father. I hope my team shows no remorse against his Souths on NRL grand final day.”
NSW principals are expecting students to return to school before the official date on 25 October as parents in industries reopening on 11 October will not be able to supervise remote learning, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The government has been urged to send kids back to school at the same time as pubs and shops reopen by an infectious diseases paediatrician in the Daily Telegraph. A tour operator has told the NT News of the “stupid mistake” that led to him being bitten by a 2.2m crocodile in front of a group of tourist. The GST distribution deal will remain unchanged if Labor wins the next election, according to Anthony Albanese in the West Australian.
Malcolm Turnbull will address the National Press Club.
Public hearings for the inquiry into lessons from the Black Summer bushfires.
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