Daily News Roundup

June 7, 2021

 

MONDAY MAY 7

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have welcomed their second child, a baby girl, with two very special royal nods.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced the birth of their daughter overnight, who they have named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.

Meghan, 39, is said to be “well” after giving birth in California on Friday morning, the couple announced. Their daughter’s name makes reference to both her grandmother, Princess Diana, and her great grandmother, the Queen.

Lilibet was the Queen’s family nickname and the name Prince Philip used to call her, The Sun newspaper reports.

No photos of the newborn or the happy couple have yet been released.

The couple said in a statement: “It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcome their daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world.

“Lili was born on Friday, June 4 at 11.40am in the trusted care of the doctors and staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California.

“She weighed 7lbs 11oz (3.5kg). Both mother and child are healthy and well, and settling in at home.”

Their new bundle of joy will be a little sister to Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, who turned two in May.

“Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet,” the couple explained.

“Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honour her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales.

“This is the second child for the couple, who also have a two-year-old son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

“The Duke and Duchess thank you for your warm wishes and prayers as they enjoy this special time as a family.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also released a statement on their Archewell website, saying: “On June 4th, we were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, Lili. She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe. Thank you for your continued kindness and support during this very special time for our family.”

It’s interesting to note the Sussexes’ daughter was born in a US hospital – rumours had been swirling that the Duchess would try to have a home birth, but they seem to be incorrect. Brother Archie was born in the UK a few months before Meghan and Harry moved to California early last year, after stepping down as senior royals.

Meghan and Harry, 36, announced they were expecting their second child on Valentine’s Day.

At the time a spokesperson for the couple said: “We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child.”

The February announcement came exactly 37 years to the day after Princess Diana announced she was pregnant with Prince Harry.

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Victoria has recorded 11 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, including two reported yesterday that are linked to the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility.

It takes the state’s current outbreak to around 80.

The results were detected among 24,265 tests received on Sunday, and there were 17,719 vaccine doses administered at state-run sites.

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng yesterday said the state was running “neck and neck” with the outbreak when it came to managing the “downstream” risks of positive cases emerging from already identified exposure sites and chains of transmission.

He said health authorities were more concerned about the “upstream” risk posed by the Delta strain West Melbourne outbreak, given the source of infection for the earliest recorded cases remained unknown.

Two of the cases in today’s update from the health department were revealed yesterday, and emerged at the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility.

Arcare said the cases involved a 79-year-old resident and an agency registered nurse who last worked a shift on Saturday.

Arcare’s CEO said all team members who worked at Arcare on Saturday were required to get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days.

More than 200 primary close contacts linked to a construction site in Melbourne’s CBD were being tested yesterday as a priority.

The site, in Queen Street, is listed as a Tier 1 exposure site.

The health department is yet to reveal whether the nine new cases confirmed overnight are linked to existing cases and involve people already quarantining.

The ABC understands at least some of the new cases were primary close contacts who had already been in quarantine for more than a week.

Senior state government and health department officials are expected to detail later today what impact, if any, the new infections will have on Melbourne’s COVID lockdown.

Yesterday, Professor Cheng said assessing if Melbourne’s lockdown could end as planned at 11:59pm on Thursday was a “day-by-day proposition”.

“We don’t want to be in this any longer than we need,” Professor Cheng said.

“If we can, we would leave early but at this stage our expectation is [to] continue to Thursday.”

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The ABC has revealed the defamation case launched by former attorney-general Christian Porter has so far cost the public broadcaster about $780,000.

Mr Porter recently discontinued his case against the ABC over a story published in February about an unnamed Cabinet Minister accused of a historical rape allegation.

The former attorney-general named himself as the minister in question but strenuously denied the claim.

No damages were paid following the settlement of the case, but ABC managing director David Anderson said the public broadcaster had agreed to cover Mr Porter’s mediation costs of about $100,000.

Appearing before a Senate Estimates committee, Mr Anderson revealed the total cost of defending and settling the case had so far cost the ABC about $780,000.

“The total so far, both paid as well as accrued, is approximately $680,000, and that’s before the payment of $100,000,” he told senators.

“So costs incurred would be about $780,000 to the ABC.”

Mr Anderson said the ABC ultimately agreed to settle the legal action through mediation “to minimise costs”, telling senators a trial would have been far more expensive.

“If it was to be a three-week trial, we think that could have been another $1 million to $1.5 million,” he said.

The ABC’s managing director has been recalled before a Senate committee to answer questions about the confidential settlement of Mr Porter’s defamation action.

Both parties offered differing accounts as to why the matter had been finalised, with Mr Porter characterising the settlement as a victory for him and a “humiliating backdown” for the ABC.

Under questioning today, Mr Anderson had a different interpretation, telling senators the ABC stood by the story, which was still online.

“The ABC has not issued an apology, the ABC stands by its journalism, the article in question remains online, it remains unchanged and available for everyone to see it,” he said.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a newly formed Israeli coalition poised to unseat him is the result of “the greatest election fraud” in the history of democracy.

He made his sweeping accusation at a time when Israel’s domestic security chief has warned publicly about the prospect of political violence.

Mr Netanyahu focused his allegations on a broken campaign promise from the man set to replace him as prime minister, nationalist Naftali Bennett.

Mr Bennett had pledged not to partner with left-wing, centrist and Arab parties, but on Wednesday announced with opposition leader Yair Lapid that they had formed a governing coalition with factions from across the political spectrum.

Under a rotation deal, Mr Bennett will serve first as prime minister, followed by Lapid.

No date has been set for a vote in parliament to approve the new government, which follows an inconclusive March 23 election, but it is widely expected to be sworn in on June 14.

“We are witnessing the greatest election fraud in the history of the country, in my opinion in the history of any democracy,” Mr Netanyahu said in comments to legislators of his right-wing Likud party.

“That’s why people justifiably feel deceived and they are responding, they must not be shut up,” he said in the remarks, which were broadcast live and referred indirectly to Mr Bennett’s campaign promise not to team up with Lapid and others.

Mr Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, has been in office since 2009, and his tenure has been clouded by an ongoing corruption trial, in which he has denied any wrongdoing.

The prospective new government caps political jockeying since the election — Israel’s fourth in two years.

People angry at the alliance have held protests outside the homes of opposition politicians, whose security has been beefed up after threats on social media.

In a rare public warning, the head of the Shin Bet internal security agency said on Saturday that increasingly extreme online discourse could lead to violence.

While condemning violence and incitement, Mr Netanyahu, 71, repeated his designation of the Lapid-Bennett coalition as a dangerous leftist alliance.

“This government is endangering Israel with such a danger the likes of which we have not seen for many years,” he said.

“We, my friends and I in Likud, we will vehemently oppose the establishment of this dangerous government of fraud and surrender. And if, God forbid, it is established, we will bring it down very quickly.”

Mr Netanyahu said the politically diverse new coalition would not be able to stand up to the United States if Washington returns to a nuclear deal with Iran nor deal forcefully with Gaza’s Hamas militants, who engaged Israel in 11 days of cross-border fighting last month.

He also criticised Facebook and Twitter, saying the two social media platforms, which he uses extensively, had been blocking legitimate right-wing criticism of the Lapid-Bennett coalition.

Mr Netanyahu said Facebook had removed a right-wing post that included the address of a legislator where a protest had been set to take place.