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James Packer admits strong medication is affecting his memory during Crown casino inquiry

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james packer admits strong medication is affecting his memory during crown casino inquiry

Strong medication to treat ‘significant health issues’ is impairing billionaire James Packer’s memory, a casino inquiry has been told.

The 53-year-old on Tuesday was beamed into the Sydney-based hearing by video-link from his yacht moored in the South Pacific.

Mr Packer appeared under compulsion, and provided a written statement to the inquiry in late September.

James Packer of Crown Resorts leaves after attending the Crown Resorts annual general meeting on October 26, 2017 in Melbourne

James Packer of Crown Resorts leaves after attending the Crown Resorts annual general meeting on October 26, 2017 in Melbourne

James Packer of Crown Resorts leaves after attending the Crown Resorts annual general meeting on October 26, 2017 in Melbourne

Mr Packer appeared via video link on Tuesday from his mega yacht (pictured) moored in the South Pacific

Mr Packer appeared via video link on Tuesday from his mega yacht (pictured) moored in the South Pacific

Mr Packer appeared via video link on Tuesday from his mega yacht (pictured) moored in the South Pacific

‘In (the statement) you say that you’ve suffered from significant health issues for some years, and since 2016 you’ve been prescribed strong medication which you continue to take, is that correct?’ counsel assisting the inquiry Adam Bell SC asked the casino mogul.

‘Yes, that’s correct,’ Mr Packer replied.

‘You say that you believe that this has impaired your ability to recall past events, including in relation to the period that you were a director of Crown Resorts, is that correct?’ Mr Bell continued.

‘That’s correct,’ Mr Packer said.

Mr Packer also told the inquiry he resigned as chairman of Crown Resorts in December 2015 because he ‘wasn’t well’.

The NSW gaming regulator is holding an inquiry to determine the suitability of Crown to operate a new casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo.

Mr Packer resigned as director of the Crown board in December 2015, but remains a majority shareholder. He is expected to face questions about his knowledge of a share sale to casino company Melco Resorts.

Mr Packer fronted the inquiry via zoom in Tuesday and confirmed that strong medication was affecting his memory

Mr Packer fronted the inquiry via zoom in Tuesday and confirmed that strong medication was affecting his memory

Mr Packer fronted the inquiry via zoom in Tuesday and confirmed that strong medication was affecting his memory

Mr Packer was on board his yacht which is moored in the South Pacific when he appeared via video link on Tuesday for the Crown casino inquiry

Mr Packer was on board his yacht which is moored in the South Pacific when he appeared via video link on Tuesday for the Crown casino inquiry

Mr Packer was on board his yacht which is moored in the South Pacific when he appeared via video link on Tuesday for the Crown casino inquiry 

The NSW government was concerned that Stanley Ho, a billionaire with alleged links to organised crime, would gain an interest in a casino in the state. Dr Ho’s son Lawrence Ho controls Melco Resorts.

The inquiry commissioner, former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin, will make recommendations about whether the sale meant Crown breached its casino licence by allowing unsuitable parties to become close associates of the company.

The inquiry has been told the deal to sell 19.99 per cent of Crown stock from private company CPH Crown Holdings to Melco happened on Mr Packer’s urging, despite his earlier resignation from the board.

Crown management continued to provide Mr Packer with daily financial reports even after he left the board under a secret arrangement, the inquiry has been told.

The inquiry has also canvassed Crown’s measures to prevent its casinos being used for money laundering and its relationship with Chinese junket operators.

Ms Bergin’s report is expected in early 2021.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Australia

Coronavirus: Australia to spend $500M on vaccine for South East Asia

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coronavirus australia to spend 500m on vaccine for south east asia

Australia is set to spend half a billion dollars on an ‘advance purchase’ of COVID-19 vaccines to help its regional neighbours bounce back from the pandemic. 

The Morrison government says lending a hand to Pacific and Southeast Asian nations will assist Australia’s economic recovery and health security.

While the government is preparing to spend $500 million on a vaccine for regional neighbours, it has not yet spent money on a vaccine for Australians.  

PM Scott Morrison signed a deal with UK drug firm AstraZeneca, which is developing their vaccine at Oxford University, in August – but no money has been exchanged. 

The federal government has instead signed a so-called ‘Letter of Intent’ with AstraZeneca in which the firm agrees to hand the vaccine over to Australia as soon as it is approved. 

An aerial view of Dili, Timor-Leste. Australia will spend $500 over three years to help countries, like Timor-Leste to Australia's north, achieve full virus immunisation coverage.

An aerial view of Dili, Timor-Leste. Australia will spend $500 over three years to help countries, like Timor-Leste to Australia's north, achieve full virus immunisation coverage.

An aerial view of Dili, Timor-Leste. Australia will spend $500 over three years to help countries, like Timor-Leste to Australia’s north, achieve full virus immunisation coverage. 

‘The Indo-Pacific region is the engine of the new global economy,’ Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said in a statement on Saturday.

‘Ensuring it can recover quickly will stimulate economic activity and restore jobs at home and abroad.’

The purchases will be made from a range of manufacturers via the global COVAX Facility plan, which aims to ensure virus vaccines are shared with all nations.

Australia will provide a range of support with the vaccine doses, including vaccine safety and effectiveness assessments, advice to each nation’s regulatory authorities, technical support as well as passing along vital World Health Organisation information.

The plan will be rolled out over three years to help countries, like Timor-Leste to Australia’s north, achieve full virus immunisation coverage.

‘A fast, safe vaccine rollout in the Pacific and Southeast Asia will mean we are able to return to more normal travel, tourism and trade with our key partners in the region,’ Ms Payne said.

A vegetable vendor in a face mask amid COVID-19 concerns at a market in Dili, Timor-Leste. Pacific and Southeast Asian nations with economies that rely on tourism have been devastated by travel restrictions amid the pandemic. The Morrison government says helping Pacific and Southeast Asian nations will assist Australia's economic recovery and health security

A vegetable vendor in a face mask amid COVID-19 concerns at a market in Dili, Timor-Leste. Pacific and Southeast Asian nations with economies that rely on tourism have been devastated by travel restrictions amid the pandemic. The Morrison government says helping Pacific and Southeast Asian nations will assist Australia's economic recovery and health security

A vegetable vendor in a face mask amid COVID-19 concerns at a market in Dili, Timor-Leste. Pacific and Southeast Asian nations with economies that rely on tourism have been devastated by travel restrictions amid the pandemic. The Morrison government says helping Pacific and Southeast Asian nations will assist Australia’s economic recovery and health security

Humanitarian agency United Nations Children’s Fund welcomed the news.

‘Until the pandemic is over for everyone, it’s not for anyone and this support for South East Asia and the Pacific to introduce a successful vaccine is a strong contribution towards ensuring the health of all Australians and our neighbours,’ UNICEF Australia researcher Alice Hall said.

Save the Children Fund said the pledge is a good start but more will need to be done.

‘A vaccine is still a long way off and the pandemic is expected to push a further half a million people in the Pacific into poverty,’ deputy chief executive Mat Tinkler said.

‘Pacific economies – many heavily reliant on tourism – have been decimated.’

Mr Tinkler called on the federal government to also increase support for impoverished people in the Pacific.

‘We are urging Australia to work with the Pacific to create a social protection system that reaches the poorest children and families,’ he said.

‘Strong social intervention would save lives now and is in Australia’s strategic interests.’

PM Scott Morrison (right) shakes hands with Papua New Guinea's PM James Marape (left) at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, in August, 2019. Papua New Guinea is another Pacific Island that may benefit from Australia's vaccine funding

PM Scott Morrison (right) shakes hands with Papua New Guinea's PM James Marape (left) at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, in August, 2019. Papua New Guinea is another Pacific Island that may benefit from Australia's vaccine funding

PM Scott Morrison (right) shakes hands with Papua New Guinea’s PM James Marape (left) at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, in August, 2019. Papua New Guinea is another Pacific Island that may benefit from Australia’s vaccine funding

The Australian government has also entered into advanced purchase agreements with Astra Zeneca-Oxford and CSL-University of Queensland for over 84 million units of vaccines.

Mr Morrison signed a deal with Astra Zeneca-Oxford, which is developing their vaccine at Oxford University in August. 

All 25 million Australians will be able to get injected for free just weeks after the vaccine is approved, which is expected to be late this year or early next year.

The vaccine, licensed by UK drug firm AstraZeneca, is in phase three trails on thousands of people in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.

Earlier trials found it generated a strong immune response and a four-fold increase in antibodies against coronavirus in 95 per cent of participants. 

A health care worker holds an injection syringe of the phase 3 vaccine trial. The Australian government has entered into an advanced purchase with Astra Zeneca-Oxford, which is developing a vaccine that is in phase three 3 on thousands in the UK, Brazil and South Africa

A health care worker holds an injection syringe of the phase 3 vaccine trial. The Australian government has entered into an advanced purchase with Astra Zeneca-Oxford, which is developing a vaccine that is in phase three 3 on thousands in the UK, Brazil and South Africa

A health care worker holds an injection syringe of the phase 3 vaccine trial. The Australian government has entered into an advanced purchase with Astra Zeneca-Oxford, which is developing a vaccine that is in phase three 3 on thousands in the UK, Brazil and South Africa

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Sydney locals have been finding bags filled with brown sludge in their rubbish bins for 2 YEARS

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sydney locals have been finding bags filled with brown sludge in their rubbish bins for 2 years

An upmarket Sydney community are still trying to solve a two-year mystery after sealed plastic sandwich bags filled with a suspicious brown and pink fluid were dumped in locals’ rubbish bins. 

Deborah Munro posted a call-out to the Balmain/Rozelle Mums and Dads Facebook group in December 2018, asking other locals in the inner-west community if their wheelie bins had been used to stash the sludge.

‘Over the last couple of months we have had someone dumping plastic bags filled with sealed sandwich/glad bags filled with a foul browny/pink fluid in our wheelie bin,’ she wrote.

‘I’m talking up to 15 sandwich bags of disgusting fluid a week.’

Ms Munro said the culprit always dumped the bags the day after rubbish collection. 

An upmarket Sydney community are still trying to solve a two-year mystery after sealed plastic sandwich bags filled with a suspicious brown and pink fluid were dumped in locals' rubbish bins. Pictured: Sludge found by a resident on December 26, 2018

An upmarket Sydney community are still trying to solve a two-year mystery after sealed plastic sandwich bags filled with a suspicious brown and pink fluid were dumped in locals' rubbish bins. Pictured: Sludge found by a resident on December 26, 2018

An upmarket Sydney community are still trying to solve a two-year mystery after sealed plastic sandwich bags filled with a suspicious brown and pink fluid were dumped in locals’ rubbish bins. Pictured: Sludge found by a resident on December 26, 2018

She reported the incident to police who told her it was ‘weirdly suspicious’.

‘Wanted to see if it has happened to anyone else? Or has anyone ever noticed an unexpected pink sludge in/on their bin?’ she questioned. 

Ms Munro told Daily Mail Australia she first started to suspect something was off when her bin was ‘incredibly heavy’ over the course of a few months but assumed it was her daughter’s nappies.

‘I also noticed that sometimes there would be a pinkish brown sludge on the bin lid or down the bottom of the bin and thought it was strange that our waste always rotted into the same coloured – pinkish – sludge!’ she said.  

Ms Munro then came back from holidays to find her old bin had a big crack down the bottom. She got a new bin delivered by the council and ‘started to take more notice’ of the weird fluid.

‘One morning I went to rinse the bin out – only a couple of hours after they were collected – to see that a large bin bag filled with about 10 zip-lock bags of sludge down the bottom,’ she said. 

‘I thought it was very strange.’

The same thing happened the week that followed and Ms Munro visited the local police station to ask what she should do with it and whether she should be concerned. 

Ms Munro was prompted to contact police after this lot of sludge was dumped in her bin

Ms Munro was prompted to contact police after this lot of sludge was dumped in her bin

Ms Munro was prompted to contact police after this lot of sludge was dumped in her bin

Deborah Munro posted a call-out to the Balmain/Rozelle Mums and Dads Facebook page in December 2018, asking other locals in the inner-west community if their wheelie bins had been used to stash the sludge (pictured)

Deborah Munro posted a call-out to the Balmain/Rozelle Mums and Dads Facebook page in December 2018, asking other locals in the inner-west community if their wheelie bins had been used to stash the sludge (pictured)

Deborah Munro posted a call-out to the Balmain/Rozelle Mums and Dads Facebook page in December 2018, asking other locals in the inner-west community if their wheelie bins had been used to stash the sludge (pictured)

She was visited by three officers from the drug squad who thought it sounded ‘suspicious’. 

‘Once they saw it they said it didn’t seem to be a drug by-product, but that ‘it was definitely one of the most disgusting things he’d seen’ and that it seemed like some sort of bio waste,’ Ms Munro said.  

She then shared her post in the Facebook group. 

After a few more dumpings in the bin, Ms Munro bought a cheap security camera.

‘But after that it stopped! So I never caught anyone,’ she said. 

‘I didn’t get any more dumpings until perhaps a year ago when two big bags were placed on the top of our bin just before collection day.’

Ms Munro said the community was ‘really intrigued’ after she made her post.

‘Lots of theories, zero conclusions,’ she said. 

A picture of sludge dumped in Ms Munro's bin  in September 2019

A picture of sludge dumped in Ms Munro's bin  in September 2019

A general plastic rubbish was also dumped at the time

A general plastic rubbish was also dumped at the time

Ms Munro shared these pictures dumped in her bin in September 2019. One big bag of general plastic rubbish, and another bag of sludge 

‘It all got so strange when other people started reporting dumpings too, of the exact same stuff. 

‘I think it was my opposite neighbour who reported the next lot of dumpings, a few weeks after my original post around Christmas 2018.’

Ms Munro said the ‘pinky-brown’ fluid is ‘quite liquidy but with thicker chunks’.

‘Smelt disgusting, but I’m not sure I could describe it,’ she said.  

It appears the offender is still on the loose as the Facebook post has new comments from as recent as Friday – almost two years after the strange situation was first addressed. 

‘Such a shame it’s happening again,’ one local wrote this week.

‘Curious that it seemed to stop during COVID-19 lockdown though as no reported cases here. 

Pictured: One resident found this sealed bag of fluid stashed in a Forever New shopping bag on Boxing Day 2018

Pictured: One resident found this sealed bag of fluid stashed in a Forever New shopping bag on Boxing Day 2018

Pictured: One resident found this sealed bag of fluid stashed in a Forever New shopping bag on Boxing Day 2018

‘It might help us get some clues on what it could be if we could figure out what businesses/shops had to close down.’ 

Almost two months ago another group member spoke about finding the fluid in their bin.

‘We were getting hit every time we left our bin out. One night too much and I spotted some dumped on the curb,’ they wrote.

‘My husband even bought a dash cam to try and catch them red-handed but then they suddenly disappeared.

‘This was about eight months ago which is when the last post was written about the issue. Maybe this post forced them underground?’ 

'Such a shame it's happening again,' one local wrote in the Facebook group this week

'Such a shame it's happening again,' one local wrote in the Facebook group this week

‘Such a shame it’s happening again,’ one local wrote in the Facebook group this week

Almost two months ago another group member spoke about finding the sludge in their bin

Almost two months ago another group member spoke about finding the sludge in their bin

Almost two months ago another group member spoke about finding the sludge in their bin

Numerous locals said they have keenly followed the saga

Numerous locals said they have keenly followed the saga

'Okay I just joined this group and this was the first post I saw and then read back two years of mystery. I'm hooked! Way better than TV,' one group member wrote

'Okay I just joined this group and this was the first post I saw and then read back two years of mystery. I'm hooked! Way better than TV,' one group member wrote

Numerous locals said they have keenly followed the saga (pictured)

Just seven weeks ago Ms Munro updated community members on the drama.

‘It appears this post was my gift to the Balmain community!’ she said.

‘Nearly two years on and we’re still so intrigued.

‘Sadly, there have been no recent dumpings in my bin.’  

Numerous locals said they have keenly followed the saga.

‘I have moved out of Balmain and still follow this with extreme interest,’ one comment read.

‘Okay I just joined this group and this was the first post I saw and then read back two years of mystery. I’m hooked! Way better than TV,’ another said. 

‘The gift that keeps on giving,’ a third wrote.   

Pictured: The mysterious sludge was stashed inside a Forever New bag and left outside a recycling bin on December 26, 2018

Pictured: The mysterious sludge was stashed inside a Forever New bag and left outside a recycling bin on December 26, 2018

Pictured: The mysterious sludge was stashed inside a Forever New bag and left outside a recycling bin on December 26, 2018

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Wife of Dr Yen-Yung Yap wants answers over investigation into husband before his death

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wife of dr yen yung yap wants answers over investigation into husband before his death

The heartbroken wife of an obstetrician who was found dead in a forest wants answers about an investigation into his work conduct before he disappeared.

Dr Yen-Yung Yap, 43, was found by police in the Kuitpo forest around 40km south-east of Adelaide on September 5.

Two days earlier, the father-of-three packed a bag and drove away from his house, leaving behind his three children and wife Mei-Khing Loo, 44.

In March this year, Dr Yap had been banned from delivering vaginal births unsupervised by the Medical Board of Australia, The Advertiser reported.

A year earlier he was told to undertake more training after complaints of misconduct.

Dr Yen-Yung Yap, 43, (pictured with wife Mei-Khing Loo) was found by police in the Kuitpo forest around 40km south-east of Adelaide on September 5

Dr Yen-Yung Yap, 43, (pictured with wife Mei-Khing Loo) was found by police in the Kuitpo forest around 40km south-east of Adelaide on September 5

Dr Yen-Yung Yap, 43, (pictured with wife Mei-Khing Loo) was found by police in the Kuitpo forest around 40km south-east of Adelaide on September 5

The experienced obstetrician and gynaecologist had been banned from performing vaginal births due to a complaint about his alleged use of suctions instead of forceps to remove two babies who were later found to have bleeding on the skull.

Dr Yap was told in March, 2019 he needed more education after the SA Health Practitioners Tribunal was made aware of ‘several complaints’ about his performance.

The 43-year-old argued he had done nothing wrong and was following medical advice, adding the two babies and mothers suffered no long-term effects.

Ms Loo said the first baby was born in 2015 and the mother used Dr Yap to deliver her second child in 2018, before lodging a complaint the following year.

She then wrote to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) asking them to finalise and release any findings from the investigation into her husband’s conduct.

Before his death, Dr Yap wrote two letters to his wife, detailing his guilt over how much stress the investigation had brought his family.

Before his death, Dr Yap wrote two letters to his wife, detailing his guilt over how much stress the investigation had brought his family

Before his death, Dr Yap wrote two letters to his wife, detailing his guilt over how much stress the investigation had brought his family

Before his death, Dr Yap wrote two letters to his wife, detailing his guilt over how much stress the investigation had brought his family

The letters were dated from June this year but Ms Loo only found them on the day she learnt her husband of 21 years had died. 

‘I don’t know how to express my sorrow and I don’t have (a) solution to stop the stressful problems continuing to affect your life and our kids,’ Dr Yap said in the note. 

‘The ongoing harassment from AHPRA and the Medical Board will make me mentally and emotionally traumatised and professionally unable to care for my patients, and financially unable to care for our kids.’

Four doctors who knew Dr Yap told his legal team he done nothing wrong in the births of the babies, Ms Loo said.

In a statement from AHPRA, they said the investigation would not be continued.

‘Dr Yap appealed to the Tribunal the decision of the Medical Board of Australia to impose conditions in response to a number of notifications of concern about his practice, made by several individuals including patients and doctors,’ the statement said.

‘We are aware of the request from Dr Yap’s widow, Ms Mei-Khing Loo, to complete the investigation and have responded to her in writing, offering to meet with her in person to further discuss our regulatory action.

‘In the circumstances of this case, there is no longer any risk posed and therefore no proper basis for us to continue the investigation.’

Ms Loo said she was ‘heartbroken’ by the decision not to finalise the investigation that ultimately led to her husband’s death.

‘I now need to go through some very tough things, and I’m still in a state of denial, to be honest. Everyday I look at him … and it’s very heartaching, but I have to tell myself I have to be strong, I have three children to look after,’ she said.

Lifeline 13 11 14 

Dr Yap had been married to Ms Loo for 21 years and had three young children together

Dr Yap had been married to Ms Loo for 21 years and had three young children together

Dr Yap had been married to Ms Loo for 21 years and had three young children together

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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