Daily News Roundup

April 28, 2021

 

Porsche driver Richard Pusey has been sentenced to 10 months jail for outraging public decency by filming and swearing at four dying police officers after the tragic Eastern Freeway crash a year ago.

Given time served, the 42-year-old could walk free if he is granted bail on other matters. He could also be back behind the wheel in less than six months.

Pusey, wearing a green prison tracksuit and a face mask, learned his fate via video link from the Metropolitan Remand Centre this morning.

Inside the County Court of Victoria, where family members of the four dead police officers watched on, Judge Trevor Wraight told Pusey his conduct was “heartless, cruel and disgraceful” but that he accepted Pusey was remorseful.

“I accept that there is evidence of genuine remorse,” Judge Wraight said. 

“You said it was ‘horrible’ and that others would view what you did as offensive. You said you were ashamed of the video (you filmed).”

In sentencing Pusey, Judge Wraight said he took into account the impact of negative publicity on Pusey’s case — publicity that led to Pusey receiving death threats and his family and friends being impacted.

Judge Wraight also took into account the need for public deterrence and protection of the community.

Pusey was also fined $1000 and had his license suspended for two years backdated to October 2020. He has already served 296 days in prison.

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Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will co-chair a fundraising concert urging more vaccinations that will air on May 8, event organizers have announced, as Queen Elizabeth II returned to royal duties following the funeral of her husband Philip.

The ABC reported President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris will also appear at Vax Live: The Concert To Reunite The World, where performers will include Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, J Balvin and HER.

Put on by Global Citizen, an international advocacy organization, the campaign is pushing businesses to “donate dollars for doses”, and for G7 governments to share excess vaccines.

It also urges pharmaceutical companies “including Moderna to make vaccines available at not-for-profit prices”.

The concert will be pre-taped on May 2 in Los Angeles, and will stream on YouTube along with American television networks ABC and CBS on May 8 at 8:00pm ET.

It will also air internationally on Brazil’s Globo, Colombia’s Caracol, SABC in South Africa and MultiChoice in Africa.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also appear at the event, whose audience will comprise of fully vaccinated frontline and essential workers.

“Over the past year, our world has experienced pain, loss, and struggle — together. Now we need to recover and heal — together,” Harry and Meghan said in a statement.

“We can’t leave anybody behind. We will all benefit, we will all be safer when everyone everywhere has equal access to the vaccine.

“We must pursue equitable vaccine distribution, and in that, restore faith in our common humanity. This mission couldn’t be more critical or important.”

Last year Global Citizen partnered with the World Health Organisation to put on a virtual concert packed with A-listers like The Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift, to celebrate health workers and fundraise for the battle against COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II held her first video meetings since the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip, pressing on with royal duties as she formally accepted the credentials of new ambassadors from the Ivory Coast and Latvia.

The monarch, 95, held the virtual audiences from Windsor Castle, where she has lived during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the ambassadors were 32 kilometres away at Buckingham Palace in central London.

The queen, who ended a two-week period of royal mourning on Friday, wore a floral dress and pearls for the occasion.

Videos from the events were the first released for public view since Philip’s funeral on April 17 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

Strict social distancing rules forced the queen to sit alone during the service, a spectacle that touched many who had also suffered bereavement in the pandemic.

But as expected, she is now back at work, and in the public eye.

The week before the funeral, the queen attended the retirement of her Lord Chamberlain, who organises all ceremonial events for the palace, and welcomed his replacement. Neither event was photographed.

The queen celebrated her birthday last week, using the occasion to express her gratitude for all the well-wishers who offered tributes to Philip, her husband of 73 years.

The royal family was in a “period of great sadness”, but drew comfort from words of praise for the duke, she said.

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The US is still recording tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases daily, but the country’s public health officials have announced a big “step back to the normalcy of before”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has eased its guidelines on wearing face masks for fully vaccinated Americans, saying people who have had complete doses of the jab can go mask-free outdoors unless they are in large crowds of strangers.

Previously, the guidance recommended that all Americans wore masks indoors and outdoors if within six feet, or about 1.8 metres, of other people. 

More than half of all the adults in the US have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and about a third are fully vaccinated.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the change in guidance was formulated by a combination of research on outdoor transmission risks, a decline in new COVID-19 cases and rising vaccination numbers in the US. 

“Today, I hope, is a day when we can take another step back to the normalcy of before,” Dr Walensky said.

“Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what you can’t do. Today, I am going to tell you some of the things you can do, if you are fully vaccinated.”

More than 32 million COVID-19 infections have been recorded in the US since the start of the pandemic, with well over half a million lives lost.

It does however have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and while the total number of infections continues to climb there has been a noticeable decline in daily new cases over the last few months.

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Britney Spears is set to personally address a court dealing with her controversial conservatorship, as she continues her battle to remove her father as her conservator, with the power to control her affairs.

The address is expected to be the first time the 39-year-old pop star has spoken publicly about the legal arrangements put in place more than a decade ago. 

Spears’s lawyer, Samuel Ingham, said his client had asked to speak to the court but didn’t specify what matters she wanted to raise.

“My client has requested a hearing at which she can address the court directly,” Mr Ingham said in court on Tuesday.

“My client has asked that it be done on an expedited basis.”

The Los Angeles judge involved in the case agreed to the request and set a hearing date for June 23. 

Spears’s father, Jamie, was appointed as his daughter’s conservator in 2008, after mental health struggles covered heavily in the media saw her hospitalised for psychiatric treatment. 

A previous bid to remove him as her conservator failed late last year, and a hearing about a new request to remove him scheduled for this week was postponed until July without discussion.

Fans rallied outside the court during the latest hearing on Tuesday, continuing to call for Spears to be released from her current conservatorship arrangement. 

A New York Times documentary called Framing Britney Spears, which first aired earlier this year, brought new attention to the #FreeBritney movement and scrutiny to the ongoing court case.