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New Zealand votes: Blow for Jacinda Ardern’s election hopes

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new zealand votes blow for jacinda arderns election hopes

Jacinda Ardern has vowed to quit politics if she is voted out as a new poll revealed support for her party had fallen. 

The current New Zealand Prime Minister, 40, faced off against Judith ‘The Crusher’ Collins, 61, in a final debate on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s election. 

An opinion poll showed support for both Ms Ardern’s Labour Party and Ms Collins’ centre-right National Party had dropped by one percentage point. 

The popular leader also declared that if her party lost she would resign from leadership and leave politics. 

Current New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) announced on Thursday she would resign if her Labour Party failed to win the election on Saturday

Current New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) announced on Thursday she would resign if her Labour Party failed to win the election on Saturday

Current New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) announced on Thursday she would resign if her Labour Party failed to win the election on Saturday 

Ms Ardern faced off against National Party leader Judith Collins (pictured) in a final debate on Thursday night. A new opinion poll revealed support for both of their parties had fallen

Ms Ardern faced off against National Party leader Judith Collins (pictured) in a final debate on Thursday night. A new opinion poll revealed support for both of their parties had fallen

Ms Ardern faced off against National Party leader Judith Collins (pictured) in a final debate on Thursday night. A new opinion poll revealed support for both of their parties had fallen 

‘My message would that be if people don’t want to see me resign, then vote for Labour,’ she told media after the debate.

The closely watched 1News-Colmar Brunton poll showed support for Ms Ardern’s party slipped to 46 per cent from the previous poll on October 8.

Labour maintained a 15-point lead over the National Party’s 31 per cent. 

Ms Ardern is on course to win Saturday’s election on the back of her success in tackling the novel coronavirus in New Zealand.

She also won support at home and global admiration for her response to last year’s attack by a white supremacist on two mosques and a fatal volcanic eruption.  

Despite her success in handling crises, questions have been asked of Labour’s credentials to tackle the looming economic crisis.

Support for Ms Ardern's (pictured above) Labour Party slipped to 46 per cent while support for the centre-right National Party fell to 31 per cent

Support for Ms Ardern's (pictured above) Labour Party slipped to 46 per cent while support for the centre-right National Party fell to 31 per cent

Support for Ms Ardern’s (pictured above) Labour Party slipped to 46 per cent while support for the centre-right National Party fell to 31 per cent

The prime minister shared an image of herself (pictured) conducting a 'quick final round of interviews' to social media on Friday morning and reminded New Zealanders to vote

The prime minister shared an image of herself (pictured) conducting a 'quick final round of interviews' to social media on Friday morning and reminded New Zealanders to vote

The prime minister shared an image of herself (pictured) conducting a ‘quick final round of interviews’ to social media on Friday morning and reminded New Zealanders to vote

Ms Collins has focussed her campaign on the financial challenges ahead as unemployment rises, recession looms and the government’s coronavirus support packages expire.

The 61-year-old conservative has warned a left-leaning coalition would mean more taxes and a business-unfriendly environment.

‘We are moving into very difficult economic times. We need a party that understands business and makes decisive decisions about what happens in our economy.

‘So our plan is all focused on the economy,’ Ms Collins said.  

The latest figures mean Labour would have just 59 seats in parliament, short of the 61 needed to form a government on its own. 

Labour’s likely coalition partner, the Green Party, has bounced back to its highest level since 2017 with a support of 8 per cent, which would give it 11 seats.

If the parties join hands that would produce the country’s first pure left-leaning government since 1999.   

Ms Ardern’s popularity as preferred prime minister has jumped to 55 per cent, leaving Ms Collins behind at 20 per cent. 

The prime minister shared an image of herself conducting a ‘quick final round of interviews’ to social media on Friday and reminded New Zealanders to vote.   

Ms Ardern has been praised for her response to a number of crises but Ms Collins (pictured) cast doubt on the prime minister's ability to handle  financial trouble

Ms Ardern has been praised for her response to a number of crises but Ms Collins (pictured) cast doubt on the prime minister's ability to handle  financial trouble

Ms Ardern has been praised for her response to a number of crises but Ms Collins (pictured) cast doubt on the prime minister’s ability to handle  financial trouble 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Australia

Man fighting for life after being attacked by shark at spear fishing spot on the Great Barrier Reef

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man fighting for life after being attacked by shark at spear fishing spot on the great barrier reef

A man has been attacked by a shark on the Great Barrier Reef.

He was airlifted to Townsville University Hospital after being bitten at Britomart Reef at Lucinda around 12.20pm on Sunday, Queensland Ambulance says.

The area, off the north Queensland coast about 150km north of Townsville, is a popular spear fishing location.

The man was bitten on the upper leg and is in a critical condition.

A man is in a critical condition after he was attacked by a shark on the Great Barrier Reef. Pictured: a rescue helicopter on its way to the scene

A man is in a critical condition after he was attacked by a shark on the Great Barrier Reef. Pictured: a rescue helicopter on its way to the scene

A man is in a critical condition after he was attacked by a shark on the Great Barrier Reef. Pictured: a rescue helicopter on its way to the scene

Seven Australians have been killed in shark attacks this year.

The death toll rose when father-of-two Andrew Sharpe was killed by a shark while surfing at Kelp Beds in Wylie Bay, near Esperance on WA’s south coast, on October 9.

Experts believe a La Niña weather event is creating cooler water temperatures that are favoured by great white sharks, which have killed several victims this year, and drawing them closer to shore.

The first fatal shark attack of the year came when diver Gary Johnson, 57, was killed by a great white shark while diving with his wife near Esperance in WA in January.

Esperance is a hot spot for shark attacks as Laeticia Brouwer, 17, was also killed by a great white while surfing near the WA town in 2017.

Wildlife ranger Zachary Robba, 23, was then mauled to death by a shark while swimming off the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland in April.

There have been seven Australians killed in shark attacks this year (stock image)

There have been seven Australians killed in shark attacks this year (stock image)

There have been seven Australians killed in shark attacks this year (stock image)

Another great white shark killed surfer Rob Pedretti, 60, at Salt Beach near Kingscliff in far northern NSW in June. 

Spearfisher Matthew Tratt, 36, was mauled to death by a suspected great white shark in a ‘provoked’ attack on Fraser Island in Queensland in July. 

Later in July, surfer Mani Hart-Deville, 15, was catching waves when he was killed by a suspected great white shark at Wooli Beach, near Grafton on the NSW North Coast.

Another surfer, Nick Slater, 46, was mauled to death by a suspected great white at Greenmount Beach on the Gold Coast in September.

More to come. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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‘This is just half of me’: Adele flaunts her incredible weight loss on SNL

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this is just half of me adele flaunts her incredible weight loss on snl

Adele has hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time, joking that she brought ‘half of me’ with her, as a result of her massive weight loss. 

She immediately referenced her radically different appearance, saying: ‘I know I look different than when you last saw me, but because of the COVID restrictions I had to travel light and bring only half with me, so this is the half I chose.’ 

In January, the singer told a fan during a vacation in Anguilla that she lost ‘something like 100 pounds.’

Adele Adkins hosted Saturday Night Live and joked about her 100lb weight loss - something which has fascinated people

Adele Adkins hosted Saturday Night Live and joked about her 100lb weight loss - something which has fascinated people

Adele Adkins hosted Saturday Night Live and joked about her 100lb weight loss – something which has fascinated people

The singer was last on the show in 2008: 'I know I look different than when you last saw me,' she said on Saturday night

The singer was last on the show in 2008: 'I know I look different than when you last saw me,' she said on Saturday night

The singer was last on the show in 2008: ‘I know I look different than when you last saw me,’ she said on Saturday night

Adele was on the show in 2008 with Josh Brolin, pictured next to her, and Sarah Palin (far right)

Adele was on the show in 2008 with Josh Brolin, pictured next to her, and Sarah Palin (far right)

Adele was on the show in 2008 with Josh Brolin, pictured next to her, and Sarah Palin (far right)

Palin (far right) was running for the vice presidency as John McCain's running mate in 2008, when she appeared on SNL

Palin (far right) was running for the vice presidency as John McCain's running mate in 2008, when she appeared on SNL

Palin (far right) was running for the vice presidency as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, when she appeared on SNL

The London-born singer said she was 'thrilled' to be hosting the show, and said she was a huge fan of the series

The London-born singer said she was 'thrilled' to be hosting the show, and said she was a huge fan of the series

The London-born singer said she was ‘thrilled’ to be hosting the show, and said she was a huge fan of the series

The 32-year-old British singer thanked Sarah Palin for boosting her career in 2008: the pair appeared on the same episode

The 32-year-old British singer thanked Sarah Palin for boosting her career in 2008: the pair appeared on the same episode

The 32-year-old British singer thanked Sarah Palin for boosting her career in 2008: the pair appeared on the same episode

Adele has not released an album since 2015 but said that she was working on new music, although it is not yet ready

Adele has not released an album since 2015 but said that she was working on new music, although it is not yet ready

Adele has not released an album since 2015 but said that she was working on new music, although it is not yet ready

Adele’s former trainer Camila Goodis told ‘Extra’s’ Billy Bush: ‘I do believe she changed her lifestyle – she really changed her diet.

‘There is no miracle exercise that can make you look like you lost a lot of weight.’ 

Adele was last on SNL in 2008, in an episode hosted by Josh Brolin.

At the time she had just released her first album, 19.

‘It’s me, Adele, and my God, I’m absolutely thrilled to finally be hosting this show,’ she said. 

‘A show that not only do I genuinely love, but the show that broke my career here in America 12 very long years ago. 

‘See, I was a musical guest back in 2008 when Sarah Palin came on with Ms Tina Fey. 

‘So obviously a few million people tuned in to watch it and the rest is history. 

‘Now, I don’t know anything about American politics. I’m British, you know? And I don’t want to say anything too political, so I’ll just say this: Sarah Palin, babes, thanks for everything, yeah?’

She also joked about her British habit of swearing, gesturing to a swear jar. 

Sarah Palin, at the time the vice presidential nominee, appeared on the 2008 show with Adele

Sarah Palin, at the time the vice presidential nominee, appeared on the 2008 show with Adele

Sarah Palin, at the time the vice presidential nominee, appeared on the 2008 show with Adele

Adele's swear jar, jokingly said to be just from her dressing room, was full of cash she said should go to charity

Adele's swear jar, jokingly said to be just from her dressing room, was full of cash she said should go to charity

Adele’s swear jar, jokingly said to be just from her dressing room, was full of cash she said should go to charity

Adele said she didn't want to be the musical act, and instead wanted to 'have a glass of wine of six and see what happens'

Adele said she didn't want to be the musical act, and instead wanted to 'have a glass of wine of six and see what happens'

Adele said she didn’t want to be the musical act, and instead wanted to ‘have a glass of wine of six and see what happens’

‘I’m nervous. You know what I’m like. I always get very nervous on live TV but tonight especially so because I swear a lot. Like a lot a lot,’ she said.

‘Honestly I don’t notice I’m doing it anymore. But tonight, we’ve got a swear jar. Let’s check in on that. Let’s make sure that all goes to charity.’ 

She said her album was not finished and she would rather ‘have a glass of wine of six and see what happens’. 

The 32-year-old London-born singer last released new music in 2015, with her third and final album, 25.

In 2016 she headlined Glastonbury, but has kept a low profile for the past few years, leaving fans clamoring for more music from her. 

In one skit on Saturday, Adele played a contestant on The Bachelor, breaking into song and irritating the other contestants. 

Adele in a skit played a contestant on The Bachelor, singing her hit song 'Hello' to the man

Adele in a skit played a contestant on The Bachelor, singing her hit song 'Hello' to the man

Adele in a skit played a contestant on The Bachelor, singing her hit song ‘Hello’ to the man

The singer was enraging other contestants by constantly breaking into song

The singer was enraging other contestants by constantly breaking into song

The singer was enraging other contestants by constantly breaking into song

Adele's singing was interrupted repeatedly by the male character in The Bachelor

Adele's singing was interrupted repeatedly by the male character in The Bachelor

Adele’s singing was interrupted repeatedly by the male character in The Bachelor

In the spoof she emerges from the bushes to serenade the male lead on the reality dating show

In the spoof she emerges from the bushes to serenade the male lead on the reality dating show

In the spoof she emerges from the bushes to serenade the male lead on the reality dating show

Adele infuriates her rivals on the reality tv show, in the skit, by breaking repeatedly into song

Adele infuriates her rivals on the reality tv show, in the skit, by breaking repeatedly into song

Adele infuriates her rivals on the reality tv show, in the skit, by breaking repeatedly into song

The contestant, in the skit, looks on bemused as Adele keeps on singing lines from her hit songs

The contestant, in the skit, looks on bemused as Adele keeps on singing lines from her hit songs

The contestant, in the skit, looks on bemused as Adele keeps on singing lines from her hit songs

She was then transformed into a ghost, haunting a mansion while Pete Davidson followed her around. 

In a white gown, Adele floated through the corridors, reminiscing about her former husband – to Davidson’s bewilderment.

Adele was disappointed with how little she managed to scare him, even when she removed a necklace to show where her neck had been slit, an injury which turned her into a ghost.

Adele played a ghost in a special pre-Halloween skit, haunting a mansion visited by Pete Davidson

Adele played a ghost in a special pre-Halloween skit, haunting a mansion visited by Pete Davidson

Adele played a ghost in a special pre-Halloween skit, haunting a mansion visited by Pete Davidson

Adele floated through the corridors while Davidson followed her, unafraid and unimpressed

Adele floated through the corridors while Davidson followed her, unafraid and unimpressed

Adele floated through the corridors while Davidson followed her, unafraid and unimpressed

In another skit on Saturday, Adele was a customer at Kate McKinnon’s fortune telling salon.

‘I see no concerts in 2020, only coloring,’ McKinnon tells Adele. 

The fortune teller tells Tiffany Toobin: ‘I see your father. He is on a Zoom. And his weiner is out.’

She ends: ‘If any of you see JK Rowling, please tell her – stick to the books.’ 

Kate McKinnon told Adele she was going to spend 2020 with 'no concerts, only coloring'

Kate McKinnon told Adele she was going to spend 2020 with 'no concerts, only coloring'

Kate McKinnon told Adele she was going to spend 2020 with ‘no concerts, only coloring’

Adele visited the fortune teller with her friends in a SNL skit

Adele visited the fortune teller with her friends in a SNL skit

Adele visited the fortune teller with her friends in a SNL skit

Adele also starred in a spoof tourism advert for ‘Africa’ – described as ‘the number one place for divorcees’.

As Adele and McKinnon spoke, a series of young handsome black men strolled by, with white women on their arms.

The pair repeatedly emphasized the wonder of ‘the bamboo’, with McKinnon repeating: ‘The tribesmen. The tribesmen.’

Adele struggled to keep her composure, doing her best to stifle her giggles.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Victoria’s hotel quarantine set to reach $10million

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victorias hotel quarantine set to reach 10million

The cost of the inquiry into Melbourne‘s bungled hotel quarantine scheme is set to soar to $10million.

Taxpayers have already footed $5.7million after the cost jumped from an original $3million, but the bill for legal fees alone is expected to balloon out to $4million.

Departments, government agencies and individual MPs have been represented by at least a dozen legal teams, including 10 senior counsel and 21 lawyers.

The inquiry has been investigating Victoria’s second wave – which resulted in more than 18,000 new COVID-19 infections, 750 deaths and a lengthy lockdown – which began with outbreaks at two Melbourne hotels used for returning travellers. 

The Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions each had legal teams attend 24 days of hearings during September and October. 

Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID infections, the inquiry has heard

Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID infections, the inquiry has heard

Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID infections, the inquiry has heard

Victoria's second wave, which resulted in more than 18,000 new COVID-19 infections and 750 deaths, can be traced back to outbreaks at two Melbourne hotels used in the quarantine program

Victoria's second wave, which resulted in more than 18,000 new COVID-19 infections and 750 deaths, can be traced back to outbreaks at two Melbourne hotels used in the quarantine program

Victoria’s second wave, which resulted in more than 18,000 new COVID-19 infections and 750 deaths, can be traced back to outbreaks at two Melbourne hotels used in the quarantine program 

The legal team for former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos Taxpayers is estimated to have cost taxpayers more than $10,000 a day, The Herald Sun reports.

A day after her last appearance she sensationally resigned when Premier Daniel Andrews pointed the finger at her over the botched scheme. 

Shadow Attorney-General Ed O’Donohue said he predicts the total cost for legal representation surpassed $1.9million, given that it costs $7000 per day for senior counsel and $3000 per day for junior counsel.  

Legal sources estimate that proofing witness statements and preparing and proofing exhibits could end up doubling the forecast $1.9million bill.

But the cost will only increase after addition days of hearings were added to look into leaked emails sent by Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton. 

Professor Sutton was allegedly told private security would be used in hotels to guard quarantined travellers, but he denied knowing this when fronting the inquiry.

A damning email chain produced to the inquiry has now exposed those statements to be untrue, with Prof Sutton copied into discussions about private security before the program officially kicked off.

Tony Neal QC, the counsel assisting Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry, said the emails had not been produced by Victoria’s health department despite it being asked to hand over everything that related to the program.

Taxpayers have already footed $5.7million after the cost jumped from an original $3million, with the bill for legal fees alone set to balloon out to $4million. Pictured: Premier Daniel Andrews appearing at the inquiry

Taxpayers have already footed $5.7million after the cost jumped from an original $3million, with the bill for legal fees alone set to balloon out to $4million. Pictured: Premier Daniel Andrews appearing at the inquiry

Taxpayers have already footed $5.7million after the cost jumped from an original $3million, with the bill for legal fees alone set to balloon out to $4million. Pictured: Premier Daniel Andrews appearing at the inquiry 

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton had told the inquiry last month that he had no knowledge private security was even in the hotels until the virus broke free from them in May

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton had told the inquiry last month that he had no knowledge private security was even in the hotels until the virus broke free from them in May

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton had told the inquiry last month that he had no knowledge private security was even in the hotels until the virus broke free from them in May

Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID infections, the inquiry has heard.

Prof Sutton was included on an email chain discussing the use of private security on the evening of March 27.

Another exchange included him between March 30 and July 2.

Prof Sutton has now been asked to submit a second statement to the inquiry explaining his previous evidence that he was unaware private security had been used in hotels until much later.

The inquiry will hand down its findings on November 6. 

Suggested findings for Victorian quarantine hotels inquiry 

Lawyers Tony Neal QC, Rachel Ellyard and Ben Ihle submitted their suggested findings to Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry. They are as follows: 

GOVERNMENT HAD NO PLAN

* Public servants were given just 36 hours to set up the program.

* There was no suggestion those who set up the program worked other than with ‘the best of intentions and to the best of their ability’.

* ‘Bad faith or corruption is not what the evidence shows.’

DHHS WAS IN CONTROL

* The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions played a substantial role but the Department of Health and Human Services was the control agency responsible for the program.

BRETT SUTTON SHOULD’VE BEEN IN CHARGE

* It was wrong to appoint people without public health expertise as the state controllers of the pandemic in February as it ‘influenced the way in which DHHS subsequently understood and acted on its responsibilities’.

* ‘Had the chief health officer or another person with public health expertise been appointed state controller … they would have had direct oversight of the hotel quarantine program and been able to directly influence the model of that program.’

NO ONE PERSON MADE THE DECISION TO USE SECURITY GUARDS

* ‘It can be best understood … as a creeping assumption or default consensus reached in the state control centre after the preference of Victoria Police was known.’

POLICE HAD PREFERENCE FOR GUARDS

* ‘It was not Victoria Police’s decision, but Victoria Police’s clear position that security would be preferable was a substantial contributing factor to the consensus.’

PREMIER SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD ABOUT ADF OFFER

* Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Chris Eccles should have told Premier Daniel Andrews his federal counterpart had offered Australian Defence Force support in an April 8 email exchange.

* But the initial decision not to have ADF boots on the ground was ‘reasonable and open – and no criticism should be directed to those who made those operational decisions’.

CONTRACTS WERE INAPPROPRIATE

* ‘There was insufficient supervision of those contracts to ensure compliance with the contractual terms, including as to subcontracting.’

* ‘The contracts with hotels and security companies should not have placed responsibility for PPE and infection control education on those contractors.’

HOTEL QUARANTINE RESPONSIBLE FOR SECOND WAVE

* Ninety per cent of second wave COVID-19 cases are attributable to the Rydges on Swanston outbreak in mid-May. Just under 10 per cent were attributable to the outbreak at the Stamford Hotel in mid-June.

* ‘The hotel quarantine program in Victoria failed to achieve its primary objective. The program that was intended to contain the disease was instead a seeding ground for the spread of COVID-19 into the broader community.’

* ‘The failure by the hotel quarantine program to contain this virus is, as at today’s date, responsible for the deaths of 768 people and the infection of some 18,418 others.’

PEOPLE IN QUARANTINE NOT LOOKED AFTER

* ‘The program did not always operate so as to meet the needs of those who were detained, in particular, those who had specific needs or vulnerabilities.’

* ‘Very early on, better consideration ought to have been given to the likely psychosocial impact of detention and expert advice should have been sought.’

* ‘Exemptions could and likely should have been granted in more situations.’

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY

* ‘There were significant issues which should have been brought to the respective ministers’ attention. The departmental secretaries were obliged to ensure that they discharged those obligations.’

* ‘They likely contributed to a loss in opportunities to identify and address issues which may have prompted better, fuller and more timely action.’

The submissions may form the recommendations of the inquiry’s chair, retired judge Jennifer Coate. She is due to deliver her final report to Victorian Governor Linda Dessau by November 6.

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