Greens leader Adam Bandt says a new scheme potentially rewarding coal and gas generators for generating reliable supply would “prolong the transition to renewables” in Australia.
The Energy Security Board (ESB) will reveal on Monday a draft plan which could include coal and gas as part of a national scheme to reward power generators who can meet the urgent need for new electricity supplies.
The ESB says it would be better to include existing power generation in the scheme – including gas and coal – and says “all capacity types” should be allowed to bid to guarantee supply.
But Greens leader Adam Bandt said adding non-renewable sources of energy to the scheme could give incentive for their slower exit from the market.
“Coal and gas are the causes of not only the climate crisis but also the problem that we’re finding ourselves in at the moment,” he told ABC RN Breakfast.
“The idea of paying coal and gas to stay in the system for longer isn’t just going to make the climate crisis worse, but it’s rewarding those big coal and gas corporations that have been holding us to ransom.
“Paying them to stay in the system for longer is only going to prolong the problems and also prolong the transition to renewables.”
NSW hospitals will make extra theatres available for elective surgeries on evenings and weekends in a bid to catch up on a significant backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of a $408 million investment in Tuesday’s budget, public hospitals will fast-track elective surgeries that had to be delayed, with some to operate at 125 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity.
A surgery backlog has continued to worsen across the state as non-urgent procedures were cancelled due to the pandemic, with recent analysis showing elective surgery waiting lists were in danger of blowing out to 160,000 patients in the next five years.
Projections from the McKell Institute show the state’s waiting list will hit 160,000 patients in five years, with more than 30,000 people overdue for life-changing treatment, such as hip replacements, gall bladder and heart valve replacements.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the funding boost would take the government’s total commitment to reducing wait times to almost $1 billion, which includes previous announcements of more than $530 million during the pandemic.
“This additional $408 million will make a real difference to patients by bringing their surgeries forward,” Perrottet said.
Victoria has recorded 5661 new coronavirus cases, with no deaths reported on Monday morning.
There are now 418 people in hospital suffering from the virus, with 21 people in intensive care and nine people on a ventilator.
NSW has reported 6076 new cases of COVID-19, with five additional deaths.
There are 1470 people in hospital with the virus and 58 people in ICU.
New York: People infected with the earliest version of the Omicron variant of coronavirus at the start of the year could be reinfected with later versions of Omicron, as new findings suggest that even being vaccinated and boosted may not provide protection.
Vaccinated patients with Omicron BA.1 breakthrough infections developed antibodies that could neutralise that virus plus the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but researchers from China reported on Friday in Nature that sublineages circulating now have mutations that evade those antibodies.
Omicron BA.2.12.1, which causes most infections in the United States now, and Omicron BA.5 and BA.4, which account for more than 21 per cent of new US cases, contain mutations not present in the BA.1 and BA.2 versions of Omicron.
The BA.5 variation looks set to overtake the BA.2 strain as the dominant strain in NSW, the latest health department respiratory surveillance report, although BA.2 is still the most prevalent variant in other Australian states so far.
Those newer sublineages “notably evade the neutralising antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination,” the researchers found in test-tube experiments.
A prominent Australian frontbencher says FINA’s decision to effectively ban transgender women from competing in swimming events showed individual sporting events could “make the decision that suits” them.
FINA members widely adopted a new “gender inclusion policy” on Sunday that only permits swimmers who transitioned before age 12 to compete in women’s events. The organisation also proposed an “open competition category”. The change comes in from Monday.
Speaking to Sunrise on Monday morning, federal minister Tanya Plibersek said those in elite sports were “very sensitive to any perceived advantage”.
I think it shows that when you leave decisions to individual sporting competitions they can make the decision that suits their competition.
I guess if you are talking about fractions of a second between who comes first and third you would be looking for any of those sorts of advantages but, you know, this can very safely be left to individual sporting codes to work out.
Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce told the same morning program said he agreed with FINA’s decision, as he did not think the inclusion of transgender athletes would be “fair”.
“I want to see a women’s competition and men’s competition,” he said. “If you want a separate competition, have a transgender competition. You have to compare like with like.”
Australians travelling to parts of Europe must still verify their vaccination status with local authorities before they can soak up the full range of attractions, but the app used by locals does not recognise Australian COVID-19 digital certificates.
As industry warns red tape is hindering international travel, Health Minister Mark Butler will meet with his G20 counterparts on Monday to discuss potential solutions, including ways to “reduce the impediments for travellers as they cross borders”.
A pilot project to test ways for their countries to recognise each other’s vaccine certificates will be on the agenda as leaders work to get trade and travel back to normal across the G20, which includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and the European Union.
The G20 health ministers’ meeting will also discuss efforts to vaccinate developing countries significantly behind schedule.
While an international COVID-19 vaccination certificate generated through MyGov is enough to gain entry to most European countries, laws that exclude unvaccinated people from restaurants, bars and other venues are widespread.
Locals flash EU digital COVID certificates via QR codes on their smartphones, but the app used does not recognise Australian COVID-19 digital certificates.
The wife of Julian Assange says she feels there’s been a ‘shift’ in political sentiment in favour of her husband following Australia’s change of government.
The UK Home Office announced late on Friday (AEST) that “after consideration by both the Magistrates’ Court and High Court, the extradition of Julian Assange to the US was ordered”.
Assange’s legal team has 14 days to appeal the decision to the High Court and will do so while he remains in Belmarsh prison.
Assange’s wife Stella Moris, a human rights lawyer, told ABC RN Breakfast it was “extremely welcome news” that the Australian government was raising the case with the US, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“I’m feeling definitely there’s a shift,” she said.
“It feels like we’ve been running a marathon for a long time. And you know, that’s hard – mentally, physically. But now it feels like we have many people running alongside us, and we might see the finish line.”
Moris said while she was “preparing for the worst” when it came to the extradition order to the US, she remained “extremely worried” about what would happen to Assange next.
Greens leader Adam Bandt told ABC RN Breakfast he hoped the Albanese government would use the “special relationship” Australia has with the US to ensure Assange was not mistreated in the US.
“It’s not enough to for the government to simply say that the case has gone on too long,” he said.
“There’s something the government can do about it, and I’d be very concerned if now that they’re in government, there is a soft-pedalling that goes on. We need to bring Julian Assange home.”
Soaring numbers of Australians seeking care for debilitating symptoms of long COVID are struggling to access crucial treatment and being put on public waiting lists for more than six months.
Others are forced to pay hefty out-of-pocket costs for specialist care, such as neuropsychology, as long-COVID clinics across the country are crushed by demand.
Sherene Magana Cruz wakes up each day with searing pain through her shoulders, feet, hips and ankles. Last week the Hoppers Crossing woman was peeling apples when her muscles seized up, leaving her unable to move her arm for days.
Cruz is among thousands of Australians left with persistent symptoms after contracting the coronavirus, in a phenomenon commonly known as long COVID.
More than a year after she was infected, Cruz is still waiting to see a nose and throat specialist over the burning sensation she has at the back of her throat. Simple tasks, such as remembering what she has to do on a given day or standing for more than 15 minutes, can be excruciating for Cruz, who had to learn to walk again after catching the virus while working in an aged care home.
“It’s been horrific, not just for me, but my family,” she says, her voice breaking.
“My daughter said to me the other day, ‘Mum, I don’t think my heart can take any more of this.’ ”
Read the full article here.
Budapest: Swimming’s world governing body FINA voted on Sunday to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions and create a working group to establish an “open” category for them in some events as part of its new policy.
The decision was made during FINA’s extraordinary general congress on the sidelines of the world championships in Budapest after members heard a report from a transgender taskforce comprising leading medical, legal and sports figures.
The new policy will require transgender competitors to have completed their transition by the age of 12 in order to be able to compete in women’s competitions.
The policy was passed with a roughly 71 per cent majority after it was put to the members of 152 national federations with voting rights who had gathered for the congress at the Puskas Arena.
Australia should demand the freedom of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange by citing the precedent set when the United States pardoned others for revealing state secrets, former foreign minister and NSW premier Bob Carr has declared.
The call sets out an argument for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to persuade US President Joe Biden to release Assange in the same way former president Barack Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning, who released classified information to Wikileaks while she was a US Army intelligence analyst.
“Manning, the American who slipped the material to Assange, goes free while the Australian who published it faces extradition, trial in Virginia and the rest of his life in cruel confinement in a high-security prison, likely on the plains of Oklahoma,“ Carr writes in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age today.
“In the context of Australia’s role as an ally – the heft we deliver for the US empire – a decision to let Assange walk free rates about five minutes of President Biden’s Oval Office attention.”
Speaking to RN Breakfast this morning, the former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service, Nick Vamos, said it was “inevitable” that UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed Assange’s extradition order, which she did last week.
In discussing Assange’s options, Vamos said that if Assange exhausts all appeal avenues in the UK, he could go to the European Court of Human Rights, where cases “sometimes get stuck for up to two or three years”.
“We could be talking about this until 2025,” he said on Monday morning.
“I don’t think the European Court will take this, but I’ve been wrong before. I think it will be another six months of UK court proceedings and at the end of that his [Assange’s] extradition will be ordered, and he will be flown to the United States.”
Read the full article here.