WEDNESDAY JULY 15
The AFL could be about to move more teams and officials to Queensland because of then coronavirus pandemic.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, said this morning that AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan had requested that “hundreds” of officials and players be moved to Queensland and booked into hotels for a large portion of the remainder of the 2020 season.
“I can reveal that the AFL has approached Queensland to move more of its teams and players here to Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“He is looking to book accommodation for hundreds of players and officials at Queensland hotels for two months.
“It means more Queenslanders here can go and see the games.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the health and safety of Queenslanders remains her top priority, and told McLachlan this update should put her state in the box seat to host the AFL grand final.
“I stress none of these measures can happen without strict quarantine protocols and the COVID management plan that has allowed the AFL season to proceed,” she said.
“Given the choice between not having a season and having it based in Queensland I think I know what the fans would like to happen.
“As everyone knows, AFL is more than a sport to Victorians. We know how they feel.
“And, as I told Gil (McLachlan), if the season is based here then the grand final should be played here too.
Victorian-based AFL clubs had already been sent elsewhere as the state experiences a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases with hundreds of new cases announced in past days.
He AFL move came as an increasing number of infections in NSW have been linked to a Sydney pub cluster and two more venues in the capital have shut down this morning after customers who have since tested positive visited over the weekend.
Queensland has recorded no new cases in the past 24 hours and has only four confirmed, active cases.
Yesterday, Ms Palaszczuk closed Queensland’s borders to residents of 77 Sydney suburbs she classified as coronavirus hotspots.
US President Donald Trump says he is not interested in talking to China about the second phase of a trade deal and has signed laws he says will hold the country accountable for its oppressive actions in Hong Kong.
The legislation and order are part of the Trump administration’s offensive against China for what the President calls unfair treatment by the rising Asian superpower, and its handling of the coronavirus.
The administration’s almost-daily broadsides against China come as Mr Trump defends his response to the virus, despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in the US, and as he works to portray Joe Biden, his expected presidential challenger, as weak on China.
Mr Trump said Mr Biden never did anything except make bad foreign-policy decisions, and he claimed his Democratic rival’s entire career had been a “gift to the Chinese Communist Party”.
Since the two nations signed phase one of a trade deal, ongoing talks have been stalled, with virtually no hope of restarting before the November election.
The legislation Mr Trump signed into law targeted police units that had cracked down on Hong Kong protesters, as well as Chinese Communist Party officials responsible for imposing a new, strict national security law widely seen as chipping away at Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The mandatory sanctions are also required to be imposed on banks that conduct business with the officials.
Politicians from both parties have urged Mr Trump to take strong action in response to China’s new national security law that erodes the “one country, two systems” framework, under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997.
Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell will remain behind bars until her trial next year after she was denied bail on charges she had recruited girls for the financier to sexually abuse more than two decades ago.
Two of Epstein’s accusers asked the judge to keep the British socialite detained after she pleaded not guilty to the charges during a video court hearing in Manhattan.
Ms Maxwell, 58, has been held since her July 2 arrest at her New Hampshire estate, where prosecutors say she refused to open the door for FBI agents, who busted through to find she had retreated to an interior room.
She has been charged with recruiting at least three girls, one as young as 14, for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 1997.
An indictment alleged she helped groom victims to endure sexual abuse and was sometimes there when Epstein abused them.
It also alleged she lied during a 2016 deposition in a civil case stemming from Epstein’s abuse of girls and women.
Epstein killed himself in August 2019, several weeks after he was also confronted by two accusers at a bail hearing.
They insisted he should remain in jail while awaiting sex-trafficking charges that alleged he abused girls at his Manhattan and Florida mansions in the early 2000s.
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