FRIDAY, SEPT 3
Annastacia Palaszczuk has finally apologised for allowing NRL players and their partners Into Queensland after she slammed shut the border to returning residents.
The admission came as Queensland recorded no new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Friday as hundreds of quarantine rooms were made available and a family that sneaked back from Victoria returns negative tests.
Ms Palaszczuk said “it was not the right thing to do” as she backed down from her strong stance of permitting NRL players to enter.
The Indian and Australian women’s cricket teams also arrived during the lock-out, which was triggered because regular hotel quarantine was at capacity.
The sports stars stayed elsewhere.
“We had that pause, we shouldn’t have had anyone come in, but now that pause is lifted and there are bubbles that have been put in place by those sporting teams,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“They were outside the cap but I can understand that Queenslanders see, that in the light of when we are trying to reduce the number of people coming in, it was not the right look, I accept that.
“It was not the right thing to do. I extend my apologies to the public about that.
“As you can see we have been working very hard over the last week to get that pressure cooker of the hotel caps down.”
She announced 680 hotel quarantine rooms would be available from Monday after she abruptly shut-out all arrivals to Queensland from August 25 until September 10.
Days later, charter flights arrived with the NRL players and their partners, causing a huge public backlash.
“It shouldn’t have happened when we had the reduction in our hotels,” she said.
The Premier said with fewer international arriving flights and recent departures from quarantine hotels, rooms would become available on Monday, four days before the lockout was to end.
“I’ve just been advised by Queensland Health and Queensland police that from Monday we will make available 680 rooms.” she said.
She also urged Queensland residents to get vaccinated in a calm-before-storm styled messaging following a “double donut” day.
*Victoria has recorded 208 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and one more person has died with the virus in the state.
Of the new cases, 96 are linked to known outbreaks.
The new cases were identified from 48,572 test results received yesterday, while there were 33,511 doses of vaccine administered at state-run sites.
From today, the number of communities in the Victoria – New South Wales border bubble will be reduced, and there will be fewer permitted reasons to cross the border.
Victorian health authorities said with more than 1,000 new cases per day and a trajectory of exponential growth, the risk NSW posed was too great.
*NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says COVID-19 infections are expected to peak in the next two weeks after the state recorded 1,431 new cases and 12 deaths.
Friday’s numbers were the highest daily infection figures ever recorded by an Australian jurisdiction in a day.
“The next fortnight is likely to be our worst in terms of the number of cases,” she said.
“The highest number of people in our intensive care wards are likely to present during the month of October.”
One of the 12 fatalities was a woman in her 30s in south-west Sydney who died at home on September 1.
She was tested for COVID-19 on August 31.
NSW deputy chief health officer Marianne Gale said investigations were under way into the source of her infection.
She was not vaccinated.
ABBA is releasing its first new music in four decades, along with a concert performance that will see the “Dancing Queen” quartet going entirely digital.
The forthcoming album “Voyage,” to be released on November 5, is a follow-up to 1981’s “The Visitors,” which until now had been the swan song of the Swedish supergroup.
The concerts will be held at a purpose-built ABBA Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on May 27.
“We took a break in the spring of 1982 and now we’ve decided it’s time to end it,” ABBA said in a statement on Thursday.
“They say it’s foolhardy to wait more than 40 years between albums, so we’ve recorded a follow-up to ‘The Visitors.'”
The group has been creating the holographic live show, using motion capture and other techniques, with George Lucas’ special-effects company, Industrial Light & Magic.
They call it “the strangest and most spectacular concert you could ever dream of”.
“We’re going to be able to sit back in an audience and watch our digital selves perform our songs,” the group’s statement said.
“Weird and wonderful!”
The “abbatars” were created using motion-capture technology — similar to that used to create Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movies series — and will show members of the band as they looked in 1979.
“The only big problem was that we had to shave our beards,” Benny Andersson said.
The concerts will feature 22 songs, including the two new numbers and a “sort of a greatest hits” compilation, including “Dancing Queen”, he added.
Bjorn Ulvaeus said ABBA had chosen London because the group felt welcome there.
“Somehow, we have always felt that the Brits see us as their own — it feels like that when we come here every time,” he said.
In a statement, Agnetha Faltskog said she had not known what to expect when they got back together to record.
“But Benny’s recording studio is such a friendly and safe environment, and before I knew it I was really enjoying myself.”
ABBA was founded in the early 70s by then couples Agnetha and Bjorn, together with Benny and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.
Their initials gave the band its name.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
They sold more than 385 million albums and topped charts from Australia to America with a string of hits including “Waterloo”, “The Winner Takes It All” and “Take A Chance On Me”.
Their last album with fresh material, 1981’s “The Visitors”, included songs tinged with the sadness of their divorces. The band split a year later.
Rumours swirled for years that ABBA would get back together, but the members turned down many offers.
The planned show spurred the making of the album, which features the new songs “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.”
It began with sessions in 2018 and was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Devastation from Hurricane Ida and wildfires blazing across the United States are deadly reminders that the “climate crisis” has arrived, US President Joe Biden said.
“These extreme storms, and the climate crisis, are here,” Mr Biden said in a White House speech.
“We must be better prepared. We need to act.”
Scientists say climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events such as large tropical storms as well as the droughts and heatwaves that create conditions for vast wildfires.
US weather officials recently reported that July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded in 142 years of record-keeping.
Ida was the fifth-most powerful storm to strike the US when it hit Louisiana on Sunday (local time) with maximum winds of 240 kph, likely causing tens of billions of dollars in flood, wind and other damage, including to the electrical grid.
The storm’s remnants dropped devastating rainfall across parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey on Wednesday, causing significant disruption to major population centres.
“The suddenness, the brutality of storms now, it is different,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Ida causes severe flooding in NY streets, apartments and subway
Ida was “the biggest wake-up call” that the US needs to do more to fight climate change, he said.
The storm has killed more than 40 people in northeastern US states and states on the Gulf of Mexico.
More than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi remained without power after Ida toppled a major transmission tower and knocked out thousands of miles of lines and hundreds of substations.
Composer and political activist Mikis Theodorakis, who wrote the score for the film Zorba the Greek, has died, plunging Greece into three days of mourning.
As news of his death at home in Athens at the age of 96 swept across the country, tributes poured in from across the political spectrum.
“Today we lost a part of Greece’s soul. Mikis Theodorakis, Mikis the teacher, the intellectual, the radical, our Mikis has gone,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said.
Mr Theodorakis introduced a carefree image of Greece to the world in the 1960s with Zorba, the soundtrack to a movie starring Anthony Quinn as the lovable, eponymous rogue who dances barefoot on a Cretan beach.
But he also came to epitomise the country’s bitter political struggle, with the thumping, passionate intensity of his Romiosini (Greekness) cycle of songs that became anthems for the political left.
Praising a man he called the “Universal Greek”, conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who knew Mr Theodorakis from childhood, said: “We had all forgotten that he was a mere mortal.”
“But his legacy of music, his political activism and his service to the nation in times of crisis lives on.”
Born on the Greek island of Chios on July 29, 1925, Mr Theodorakis was repeatedly jailed for his beliefs.
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