Daily News Roundup

July 28, 2021



Ariarne Titmus’s incredible Tokyo Olympics has continued, with the Australian superstar winning gold in the 200 metres freestyle.

Titmus broke the Olympic record with her time of 1 minute, 53.50 seconds. Her American rival Katie Ledecky finished fifth.

Meanwhile, Australia’s rowers have won back to back gold medals in spectacular fashion in Tokyo.

After setting an Olympic-best time four days ago, Aussie rowers Lucy Stephan, Rosemary Popa, Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre got the job done this morning.

Shortly after, our  rowers Alexander Purnell, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill also won gold in the men’s fours in a chaotic race.

In dramatic scenes, the British team swayed into their rival’s lane just 200 metres from the finish and dropped out of the medals.

However, the Australians held their nerve to cross the line in first place and win another gold medal and set another new Olympic record.


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed 177 new Covid cases were recorded overnight and says the lockdown will last at least another four weeks.

It is the highest daily number for the current Delta outbreak.

The death toll from the outbreak has risen to 11 after a woman in her 90s died at Liverpool Hospital.

NSW Health said 46 cases were in the community while infectious and a further 22 cases were only in isolation for part of their infectious period.

Ms Berejiklian officially announced a four-week extension of the Greater Sydney lockdown which also applies to the Blue Mountains, Shellharbour, the Central Coast and Wollongong.

She also announced new rules which mean people can only shop for essential goods within 10 kilometres of their home.

The restriction which means non-essential workers cannot leave their local government area (LGA) has also been extended to include these new areas Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown

Year 12 students will return to face-to-face learning on August 16 under strict COVID-19 protocols.

Ms Berejiklian said year 12 students would be offered the Pfizer vaccine and her government was working to introduce rapid antigen testing for students to mitigate against COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.

All other students in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Central Coast and Shellharbour will continue remote learning for the next four weeks.

*A West Australian man who has been living in a Brisbane backpacker hostel has tested positive to COVID-19, Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath says.

Ms D’Ath said he travelled to Brisbane from the Philippines and had completed hotel quarantine, but became unwell after he left quarantine.

The man was infectious in the community since July 22 and was staying in the Roma Street City backpackers hostel.

Another 19 cases were detected in the crew of the bulk carrier MV Sanyu off the Queensland coast.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said nurses visited the ship yesterday and 19 of the 21 crew tested positive to COVID-19.

“We have two separate issues today,” Dr Young said. 

“The second issue that we have is a gentleman who was in hotel quarantine at the Quest Hotel in Brisbane, left hotel quarantine after three negative tests, then subsequently became unwell so went to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital emergency department where he was tested late on Monday night.”

A man staying at a Brisbane city backpacker hostel has tested positive for COVID-19.(ABC News: Baz Ruddick)

Dr Young said she was expecting genome sequencing later today to confirm where the man acquired the infection.

Meanwhile, Dr Young said health authorities would be working closely with Maritime Safety Queensland to organise the best possible response to keep the ship’s crew safe.

“The bulk carrier Sanyu came into Torres Strait waters on Monday and asked for a pilot and then disclosed that they had a lot of sick people on that ship.

“It’s been organised that the ship will steam around to Weipa … and then we will bring the sick crew down to Brisbane to be managed in one of our COVID facilities in Brisbane.

“The ship came originally from the Philippines and all of the crew, I understand, are from the Philippines.”

*Victoria has recorded eight new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, all of which have been in quarantine throughout their infectious period.

There were 35,862 test results processed on Tuesday.

The state’s fifth lockdown lifted at midnight, reopening schools, hospitality venues and gyms with strict density limits.

Household visits will remain barred for another fortnight and masks remain compulsory in all settings outside the home.

Victoria has also tightened its border with New South Wales overnight, by excluding Wagga Wagga and other regional communities from the cross-border bubble.


A barrister for Ben Roberts-Smith has told a Sydney court the war veteran has been used “like a human pinata”, with allegations about him thrown around “like confetti” by newspapers. 

In arguing for Mr Roberts-Smith’s defamation trial to hear from Australian witnesses in November despite difficulties created by Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak, Arthur Moses SC today called for certainty and said the case shouldn’t be “dragging out”.

Mr Roberts-Smith is suing The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times over several 2018 articles which reported serious allegations against him, including war crimes, which he denies.

The proceedings temporarily resumed in the Federal Court this week to hear from Afghan villager witnesses called by Nine Entertainment Co, the publisher of two of the papers, however a question mark remains over the trial’s future.

Nicholas Owens SC, for Nine, said Australian witnesses should be allowed to file an application to be excused from complying with their subpoenas on the grounds of hardship, but said those applications should be dealt with when the hardship arises.


US Capitol police officers have recounted the trauma of the January 6 Capitol riot, on the first day of an official investigation into the insurrection by supporters of then-president Donald Trump.

In a  powerful testimony one of the officers, Aquilino Gonell described how he thought “This is how I’m going to die, defending this entrance.”

The new House select committee opened its first hearing with a focus on the law enforcement officers who were attacked and beaten as the rioters broke into the building — an effort by the panel to put a human face on the violence of the day.

The police officers who testified endured some of the worst of the brutality.

Mr Gonell and other Capitol and Washington police officers gave emotional, sometimes angry accounts of the attack.

He wiped away tears as he described hearing other officers screaming in agony and pain just a few feet away from him on January 6.

He wiped away tears as he described hearing other officers screaming in agony and pain just a few feet away from him on January 6.

Aquilino Gonell blasted Donald Trump for recently describing the January 6 rioters as “a loving crowd”.(AP: Andrew Harnik/Pool)

“What we were subjected to that day was like something from a medieval battlefield,” Mr Gonell said.

“We fought hand-to-hand and inch-by-inch to prevent an invasion of the Capitol by a violent mob intent on subverting our democratic process.”

Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone, who rushed to the scene, said he was “grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country.”

Doctors later told him he’d had a heart attack.

He said the rioters’ chants to kill him with his own gun were still ringing in his head today.

“I was electrocuted again and again and again with a Taser. I’m sure I was screaming but I don’t think I could hear even my own voice,” Mr Fanone said.

Michael Fanone banged his fist on the table as he testified.(AP: Andrew Harnik/Pool)

Rebuking Republican politicians who have resisted the hearings, he added: “I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room.”

Frontline officers were beaten and abused with racial slurs as the mob overwhelmed them, broke through windows and doors and interrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential win.

In front of the panel, Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn recalled being racially abused.

“One woman in a pink ‘MAGA’ shirt yelled, ‘You hear that, guys, this n****r voted for Joe Biden!’ Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in, screaming ‘Boo! f***ing n****r!’ No-one had ever, ever — called me a ‘n****r’ while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer.”

Metropolitan Police officer Daniel Hodges, in his testimony, called the rioters terrorists.

“Terrorists pushed through the line and engaged us in hand-to-hand combat. 

“One latched onto my face and got his thumb in my right eye, attempting to gouge it out,” he said.

“I couldn’t engage anyone fully, for the moment I do is when another 20 terrorists move in to attack while I am occupied,” Mr Hodges continued.

He said he remembered foaming at the mouth as rioters crushed him between two doors and bashed him in the head with his own weapon, injuring his skull.

Many Republicans have played down the violence that occurred, denouncing the Democratic-led investigation as politically motivated.

Democrats now want to launch the probe by reminding people how brutal it was, and how the law enforcement officers who were sworn to protect the Capitol suffered grave injuries at the hands of the rioters.


Australia has claimed a historic Olympic medal in surfing, with Owen Wright beating world number 1 Gabriel Medina in a bronze-medal match.

It has been rough ride to this moment for the 31-year-old who had to basically start from scratch and learn to surf all over again after a horror wipe-out in Hawaii.

Wright emerged from the water victorious on day four of the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Aussie surfer to ever finish on the podium.

Following his incredible performance, he revealed that it was the announcement of the Tokyo games that motivated his recovery from a devastating brain injury in 2015.

Wright credited the Games for being able to attain sponsorships to support his medical treatment, as well as the mental stamina involved with preparing to represent the country.

“It’s a very special thing and I couldn’t be any prouder to be a part of surfing, representing surfing and I really felt like I did the Aussies proud today,” he said.

The brain injury he sustained was so severe that he almost died, but before it all went wrong in 2015, he was flying high.

Back then Wright was ranked fifth on the World Surf League’s Championship Tour. He was going for the world title and in some of the best form of his life.


Simone Biles’s exit from the gymnastics team final on Tuesday night has emerged as the biggest story from the Tokyo Olympics so far.

The American gymnast came into the Olympics as the most decorated athlete in her sport, but left the final saying she was not mentally prepared to continue after struggling on her first vault.

Afterwards she said she was not in “the right head space” to compete and that she did not want to jeopardise her team’s medal chances.

“I do not trust myself anymore. I tried to go out there for the team and they stepped up to the plate,” she said.

Many expressed sympathy for Biles and praised her strength as she cheered on her teammates, who went on to claim silver behind their Russian rivals.

Owing to Biles’s status as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, the USA went into the team final as the favourites for gold.

Biles has received an outpouring of support after her exit from the gymnastics team final.(Getty: Ezra Shaw)

Their defeat to the ROC team marked the first time the USA had lost a gymnastics team final in an Olympics or a world championship since 2010.

After the event, Biles’s teammates and coaches wrapped their arms around the struggling 24-year-old.

“We did this for ourselves, but we also did this for her,” USA gymnastics teammate Jordan Chiles said.

Morgan Hurd, the USA’s 2017 world all-around champion, said she was “insanely” proud of the team after winning silver.

“No-one but them knows how hard this sport is not only physically but mentally and they handled everything with grace,” she tweeted.

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