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Urgent recall of child products due to contamination


Popular baby rattles, pram accessories and “cuddle blankets” have been urgently recalled over fears of mould contamination.

Kaisercraft Pty Ltd has recalled four products, advising consumers to “immediately stop using the products” and return them to the nearest Kaisercraft store.

The products “may pose a risk” to children with weakened immune systems, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement.

“Exposure to mould spores may affect those with allergies and can cause an adverse reaction, including an allergic reaction, infection or health complications.”

These impacted products were sold online and at the Majura Park Shopping Centre in the ACT between October 28 and November 8:

  • Cuddle Blankets: Monkey KS2331 and Utopia Unicorn KS2332
  • Pram Accessories: Finn Fox KS2338 and Utopia Unicorn KS2342
  • Baby Rattles: Sheep KS2398, Koala KS2400, Lion KS2401 and Deer KS2402
  • Plush Rattles: Koala KS2327, Lion KS2328, and Utopia Unicorn KS2330



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Sydney councils scrap Australia Day plans due to COVID-19


Multiple Sydney councils have been accused of using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to scrap Australia Day events.

NSW has recorded 16 days in a row of no locally transmitted coronavirus cases but some councils have already said Australia Day plans won’t be going ahead due to the risk of spreading the virus.

Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and The Hills are some of the Sydney councils that have cancelled some of their upcoming events for January 26 due to COVID-19.

This is despite the National Australia Day Council offering grants of up to $20,000 to help councils increase COVID safety measures so events can go ahead.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus updates

RELATED: When Aussies can go overseas again

The Inner West and North Sydney councils also won’t be going ahead with some of their Australia Day events.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly has lashed out at these councils, claiming they were using COVID-19 as an excuse not to hold Australia Day events.

“This just complete nonsense. We know there are so many bureaucrats around the place that just love to cancel things and ban things,” he told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.

“We also know there are many people that actually don’t want Australia Day and are looking for an excuse to cancel it.”

Mr Kelly said NSW’s success in suppressing the virus meant there was not excuse for councils not to be holding these outdoor events.

“We’ve got to get on with life. We just can’t continue to suspend all these things. If we had coronavirus infections like they do in America maybe there would be some argument there,” he said.

“But we have had zero infections in NSW in the last 15 days and we know from past evidence that the coronavirus is a seasonal virus, infections are very low in summertime anyway.

“These are outdoor events, there is no excuse to ban them. These local councils need to be called out. It is just nonsense and petty, foggy bureaucracy.”

RELATED: The real significance of Australia Day

Cumberland City mayor Steve Christou echoed these thoughts, labelling the decisions being made by some councils as “un-Australian”.

“I think the decision taken by some councils to cancel their Australia Day events is completely unacceptable and frankly un-Australian, particularly if the events can be hosted in a COVID-safe manner,” The Sydney Morning Heraldreported him as saying.

The publication revealed the usual pool parties and concert held by City of Canterbury Bankstown to celebrate Australia Day wouldn’t go ahead this year due to not being “essential”.

A council spokeswoman told the outlet the Australia Day Awards and citizenship event would still go ahead but would be a “scaled back seated event with tight COVID controls and no catering”.

Liverpool City Council’s outdoor Australia Day 2021 event won’t be going ahead but there was the possibility of a virtual celebration being held.

The Sydney Morning Herald also reported the Hills Shire Council had cancelled its Australia Day concert but an awards and citizenship ceremony would still be held.

News.com.au has contacted Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and The Hills councils for comment.

North Sydney’s BBQ by the Bridge Australia Day event also won’t be taking place, but this is reportedly due to major Harbour Bridge works where the event is held.

This will be the second year in a row the Inner West Council won’t hold an Australia Day event on January 26 after the council voted in 2019 to scrap the celebration.

Residents were instead encouraged to attend the Aboriginal Yabun festival held that day.

“Attitudes towards 26 January are changing in the community,” Mayor Darcy Byrne said at the time.

“For Aboriginal people, the date represents the beginning of colonisation, dispossession, the removal of children and deliberate destruction of language and culture.

“A growing number of Australians want that to be respectfully acknowledged.”



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David Warner says he might miss tours in 2021 due to coronavirus restrictions


David Warner will weigh up skipping some tours in 2021, with cricket’s bio-secure bubble putting a strain on how much time he can spend with his family.

Warner is nearing the end of 100 days away from his wife and three daughters.

After leaving Australia for a white-ball series in England on August 23, Warner and 12 of his teammates flew straight to the UAE for the Indian Premier League.

They have since been whisked into two weeks of quarantine in Sydney, ahead of being reunited with their families on Thursday.

And he admits it is a factor weighing on his mind ahead of an uncertain 2021, where questions remain over a COVID-19 vaccine and international travel.

David Warner looks at his helmet as he carries it while trudging off after a dismissal
David Warner has been away from home since August 23.(AP: Trevor Collens)

Players will be able to see families in several windows during the home summer, but the year will still be full of time away.

Australia are scheduled to tour South Africa in February and March for three Tests, and could feature in the World Test Championship final in England in June.

That is followed by three ODIs and three T20s in late June and July, before three T20s against Sri Lanka in October leading into that format’s World Cup in India.

“It’s going to be very difficult to be able to [go on all tours],” Warner, now aged 34, said.

“The past six months has been quite challenging in itself getting used to these bubbles and not having the family with me.

“There are going to be times when you can come home and have time with your family. But you have that 14 days in place you have to do beforehand.

“Each individual will have to put their hand up and be brave and do that.”

David Warner grimaces as he plays a cut shot.
Warner was back to his sparking best on home soil against New Zealand.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

The veteran said last summer he could retire from either red or white-ball cricket by mid-2021 to prolong his career.

That was before Australia’s hosting of the T20 World Cup was pushed back from 2020 to 2022 and after next year’s in India, owing to the pandemic.

But with the next ODI World Cup not scheduled until 2023, the opener indicated that would most likely be the format he could miss games in.

“That’s something we have identified as players and coaching staff,” Warner said.

“The preference will be the T20 stuff over the next two years. And then gearing up for the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023.”

Meanwhile Warner also revealed on Monday he would likely not feature in the Big Bash while still playing international cricket.

AAP



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Andrew Moloney’s denied title over Joshua Franco due to contentious accidental headbutt ruling



Australian boxer Andrew Moloney has been controversially denied the WBA super flyweight title after being deemed to have headbutted opponent Joshua Franco.

Though Moloney convincingly had the better of the fight, the referee deemed an eye injury sustained by Franco had been caused by an “accidental headbutt” in the first round and, after half an hour of review, officials upheld the decision.

But replays showed any head-to-head contact was minimal at best while Moloney had landed several punches on Franco’s eye, any of which could conceivably have caused the injury.

Franco was unable to continue due to the injury, but the referee’s ruling that it had been caused by the headbutt meant the fight was ruled a “no decision”, instead of the TKO victory Moloney felt he had deserved.

“That eye was closed by 50 jabs,” Moloney said after the fight.

“I can’t believe that they took this away from me. I’ve trained my arse off the last five months, been away from my family. I can’t believe they didn’t give it to me.”

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Bob Arum, the promoter of the fight, said he was “disgusted” by the decision and that he and any future fights he promotes would “get the f**k out of Vegas”.

“People blame me because I’m the promoter, but I’ve got nothing to do with the god damn thing, I just want a fair adjudication,” Arum said.

“The referee made a mistake, and they [the officials] have his back, it’s clear. I mean, it’s not even close.”

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Robert Byrd, one of the replay officials, said he saw “two headbutts”.

“The punches only made it [the eye injury] worse,” he said.

The decision was widely panned across social media, with most observers sympathetic with Moloney.

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Local News - Victoria

Virtual International Rose Garden Festival Morwell goes online due to COVID-19


For the past two years, it has hosted Morwell’s International Rose Garden Festival. Volunteers curate the plants all year so they bloom during the event in November.

Latrobe City Council chief executive officer Steven Piasente said last year’s festival brought more than 6000 visitors and injected about $1.7 million into the local economy.

Roses in the Morwell Centenary Rose Garden will be in full bloom for the upcoming festival.

Roses in the Morwell Centenary Rose Garden will be in full bloom for the upcoming festival.Credit:Joe Armao

Instead of cancelling it due to COVID-19, it was seen as important to keep the public engaged and to buoy locals’ spirits, so the festival will be held virtually on November 14 and 15.

It will include talks by TV gardener Costa Georgiadis and UK and US rose experts, an interactive dance party hosted by kids’ entertainer Dirtgirl, virtual garden tours, local music and virtual stalls.

While you can’t smell roses online, Mr Piasente said people far beyond Morwell could log on and possibly visit the town in future.

The festival is among revitalisation efforts following a grim recent few years in Morwell.

In 2014, a fire at the Hazelwood open cut mine burned for 45 days, sending toxic smoke into the town, which was linked to serious illnesses.

The Hazelwood power station and mine, and a local timber mill have closed, costing more than 1000 direct and countless indirect jobs.

The rose garden, however, was the reason that at least two couples moved to Morwell.

Carl Ellefsen, 67, a retired coffin maker, and his wife Lorraine settled here from Chadstone five years ago.

Mr Ellefsen, who had been a volunteer annual pruner at the garden for years, said they were welcomed with open arms.

‘‘The day I moved in here, I had 50 friends, and I didn’t have 50 friends in Melbourne,’’ Mr Ellefsen said.

Six years ago Ian Spriggs, 74, and wife Sadie moved from Narre Warren after buying a house opposite the rose garden.

For Mr Spriggs, a former Rose Society of Victoria president, it was the perfect retirement spot.

“I knew that this was where I wanted to spend the rest of my days.”

“Morwell was a smoky old town, but this garden, which is world renowned, is a highlight of the Latrobe Valley, there’s no question. A highlight of Australia,” he said.

The Virtual International Rose Garden Festival Morwell is on November 14, 3pm to 4pm and November 15, noon to 5pm. It’s free but you must register at irgfm.com.au

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Melbourne Cup day arrives without the crowds in a year like no other due to coronavirus restrictions


Trainer Chris Waller will be watching today’s Melbourne Cup from Sydney despite having two runners in today’s Melbourne Cup in what he calls a “very different” year.

The horses and most trainers will be at the track but, for the first time in its history, the Melbourne Cup will be celebrated remotely by punters and racing fans alike.

Waller, the trainer of the legendary Winx, said it would be business as usual for his team despite the arrangements.

“We’ve got a big operation, we’re concentrating on getting data from each of these stables each day so it’s pretty normal for us,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“If anything, the coach is not there and he’s not complicating things.

“I don’t think Verry Elleegant or Finch3 would run 1 centimetre better if I was there.”

Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions mean even a limited number of racing fans and connections are not allowed to attend the race this year.

Victoria’s Racing Minister, Martin Pakula, said despite the easing of some restrictions, it was “not a suitable time for gatherings of this nature”.

The Victorian Government was forced to backflip on a decision to allow some owners and connections to attend the Cox Plate after a public backlash.

The Hill Gate at Flemington racecourse on a sunny day.
The Hill Gate at Flemington racecourse will remain closed on Melbourne Cup day.(ABC News: Darryl Torpy)

Waller said both of his horses have had a good run-up to the big day, including Verry Elleegant’s victory in the Caulfield Cup.

“I wouldn’t swap my two for any others but … there are 24 horses in this hard-to-win race,” he said.

The winner takes home an $8 million prize, with internationals Tiger Moth and Anthony Van Dyck, and Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet, the favourites after the barrier draw.

A racehorse trainer wearing a suit gives an interview in a racecourse mounting yard.
Chris Waller says he prefers to watch important races like the Melbourne Cup with a small group of co-workers.(AAP: Simon Bullard, file photo)

Waller said the lack of a crowd would be a factor in the race.

“It affects horses in certain ways and certainly creates atmosphere but I’m sure it will still look pretty good watching from home,” he said.

He said the thing that made winning a Melbourne Cup so special was that the jockey and trainer became household names.

“I wouldn’t dare say it’s just another race, but it certainly is a part of history,” he said.

“That’s what this Melbourne Cup does: it creates dreams. Whether you’re a trainer, the strapper, a kid watching at home; it’s what makes careers and futures.”

People wearing horse head masks with signs saying you bet, they die.
One thing that won’t change about the cup is the regular presence of animal rights activists.(ABC News)

One thing that hasn’t changed this year is the demonstrations. Animal rights activists staged another protest calling for the race to be called off over animal cruelty concerns.

Activists from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) carried signs saying “Nup to the Cup” and “You bet, they die” before cracking whips full of red powder meant to look like blood.

The foreshore at St Kilda beach on a sunny day with lots of people walking and on the sand.
Beachgoers are expected to be out in force with more hot weather forecast.(ABC News: Nicole Asher)

Melburnians warned to obey restrictions

Melbourne’s beaches are expected to be busy today with an expected top temperature of 29 degrees Celsius in the city.

Beachgoers are being warned not to forget the coronavirus restrictions.

The chief executive of Bayside Council, Mick Cummings, said council officers would be out monitoring the crowds and would call police if things got out of hand.

“We’re not planning to close the beaches,” Mr Cummings said.

“We are expecting a lot of traffic and we are expecting to be busy.

“But if people do the right thing, in terms of maintaining social distance and wearing of masks then we believe it should be manageable.”



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No crowds at Flemington for Melbourne Cup Carnival due to coronavirus, Victoria Racing Club says



The Melbourne Cup Carnival will go ahead, but no crowds will be allowed at Flemington for the four-day festival of racing, according to the Victoria Racing Club (VRC).

In a statement, VRC chairman Amanda Elliott said it was clear it would not be possible to safely host even small crowds at the racecourse for the festival.

Last week the Victorian Government announced a limited number of owners would be allowed to Moonee Valley for Saturday’s Cox Plate meeting, before backtracking on the decision.

More to come.



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Springboks withdraw from Rugby Championship due to South Africa’s coronavirus travel restrictions and player safety concerns


World champions South Africa will not defend their Rugby Championship title after governing body SANZAAR announced the Springboks were withdrawing from this year’s competition.

The announcement delivers a big blow to the tournament, 15 days before its scheduled start.

The Rugby Championship, which had included South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina, will now go take the form of a Tri-Nations competition between the latter three national sides.

The annual Test tournament was already delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and is being staged in one country for the first time.

“Naturally, it is extremely disappointing that the Springboks, due to the continued complexities of operating in and around this COVID environment, cannot fully compete in the previously planned six-round Rugby Championship,” SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos said in a statement.

SANZAAR’s statement cited a number of factors leading to the decision, including South African Government travel restrictions, player welfare and safety concerns, and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on South African players.

“SANZAAR recognises the challenges and adversity that the national unions have had to face this year due to the pandemic.

“It is a tribute to the unions in how they have been able to adapt and, dependent on COVID restrictions, run domestic competitions with the exception of Argentina who has been impacted the hardest through their lockdown.

“These short domestic tournaments, and in Argentina’s case no domestic competition, are not the normal lead into an international playing window, and while it has been a far from ideal preparation we look forward to an exciting and vibrant Tri-Nations tournament.”

Last year the Springboks won the Rugby Championship for the fourth time, finishing with two wins and a draw in a shortened competition due to the Rugby World Cup.

The team went on to beat England 32-12 in the final, to claim a third Rugby World Cup title.

South African Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux acknowledged that the other rugby bodies including Rugby Australia had “bent over backwards” to help them and that it would have been unfair to delay a decision any longer.

“This is a hugely disappointing outcome for supporters and commercial partners but the ongoing impacts of the pandemic in multiple dispensations mean we are unable to deliver a Springbok team without seriously compromising player welfare, apart from other logistical challenges,” Roux said.

The new format will see six international matches played in Australia across six consecutive weekends. Each team will play each other twice, with matches to be played in Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane.

The first two matches involving Australia and New Zealand will double up as the final two Bledisloe Cup series matches.

Tri-Nations Match Schedule 2020

  • October 31: Australia v New Zealand (Olympic stadium, Sydney)
  • November 7: Australia v New Zealand (Lang Park, Brisbane)
  • November 14: New Zealand v Argentina (Western Sydney Stadium)
  • November 21: Argentina v Australia (Hunter Stadium, Newcastle)
  • November 28: Argentina v New Zealand (Hunter Stadium, Newcastle)
  • December 5: Australia v Argentina (Western Sydney Stadium)

Reuters/ABC



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Australian PGA Championship and the Australian Open golf titles are cancelled due to coronavirus concerns



The impact of coronavirus concerns on Australian sport continues, with golfing administrators announcing the cancellation of the three feature tournaments of the summer.

The Australian PGA Championship, and the men’s and women’s Australian Open titles, which were due to be played in February 2021, will not go ahead due to the pandemic.

The PGA of Australia, ALPG and Golf Australia came together to issue a statement acknowledging an “unprecedented” blow to Australian golf.

“It’s unprecedented and a real blow for Australian golf and its fans,” PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman said.

“We have collectively spent months in exhaustive consultation with all relevant authorities and our sanctioning partners to try to find a way to stage all three events safely and at that world-class level to which we’ve all become accustomed.

International golf has already been affected by the pandemic, with two of golf’s majors — the US PGA Championship and US Open — completed later than scheduled for 2020.

A third, the Masters, will be held next month at Augusta, while the fourth, the British Open was cancelled earlier this year.

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The Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship — the feature events on the PGA Tour of Australasia — were originally slated for a late November and early December window, to be played at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath and Brisbane’s Royal Queensland, respectively.

Both were postponed in recent months in the hope a late-summer timeslot would buy time to host the tournaments.

Golf Australia boss James Sutherland said the decisions to cancel due to the impacts of COVID-19 were made with a heavy heart given the tournaments’ history and international significance.

“On the advice of relevant domestic government authorities and, with consideration for the global nature of our fields and partners, the call was made with the health and wellbeing of the golfing community as the priority,” Sutherland said.

“The events rely on significant support from players and tours around the world, so given current quarantine restrictions, we believe the field strength of all three events would be severely compromised.

“This, in turn, is unsatisfactory for spectators, broadcasters and our events’ commercial partners.”



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Business

James Packer due to give evidence over junkets, money-laundering


Hello, and welcome to our live blog of James Packer’s appearance at the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s public inquiry into Crown Resorts.

Over the past couple of months, the inquiry has been examining various probity issues at the casino giant and will make a recommendation to the NSW government on whether Crown should keep the licence for its new casino at Barangaroo.

Packer owns 36 per cent of Crown and was its chairman for many years but has not had an official role with the company since he left its board in 2018. However the inquiry has heard the billionaire has continued to wield significant influence at the ASX-listed group.

There’s a lot on the line for both Packer and Crown. The impending appearance has already been compared to his media baron father Kerry’s (in)famous 1991 Senate tax inquiry appearance.

Witnesses are appearing at the inquiry via video link due to COVID-19. For Packer, that means he’s dialling in from his $200 million superyacht, IJE, which we believe is moored somewhere in the South Pacific.



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