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White Island volcano survivor shares heartfelt plea to Victorians in coronavirus lockdown 

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white island volcano survivor shares heartfelt plea to victorians in coronavirus lockdown
Stephanie Browitt (pictured before the volcanic eruption) is her mother Marie's only surviving child

Stephanie Browitt (pictured before the volcanic eruption) is her mother Marie's only surviving child

Stephanie Browitt (pictured before the volcanic eruption) is her mother Marie’s only surviving child

A White Island volcano survivor who was left scorched and disfigured in the blast that killed her family has shared a message of encouragement for Victorians struggling through lockdown.

Stephanie Browitt is her mother Marie’s only surviving child after the family-of-four were torn apart in the eruption near Whakatane in New Zealand last December.

Along with grieving the loss of her father Paul and younger sister Krystal, the 24-year-old suffered burns to 70 per cent of her body and had her fingers amputated.

She now wears a full face mask to protect her mottled skin and has been cooped up in Marie’s Craigieburn home in Melbourne for the last eight months – since before COVID-19 gripped the nation and people were forced into their homes.

As Victoria ploughs through its second lockdown with record deaths recorded on Sunday, the young woman urged people struggling in isolation to enjoy spending time with their loved ones.

‘As someone who is grieving deeply and has essentially been in lockdown since early December … I truly believe that focusing on what you can’t change is wasted energy that could be used elsewhere,’ she told The Herald Sun.

Victorian police have been battling with Melbournians to enforce Stage 4 lockdowns, handing out 268 fines for breaches in 24 hours over the weekend. 

The 24-year-old (pictured after the volcano with her dog) urged people struggling in isolation to enjoy spending time with their loved ones

The 24-year-old (pictured after the volcano with her dog) urged people struggling in isolation to enjoy spending time with their loved ones

The 24-year-old (pictured after the volcano with her dog) urged people struggling in isolation to enjoy spending time with their loved ones

White Island volcano survivor Stephanie Browitt (pictured) had her fingers amputated after the volcano

White Island volcano survivor Stephanie Browitt (pictured) had her fingers amputated after the volcano

White Island volcano survivor Stephanie Browitt (pictured) had her fingers amputated after the volcano

The number of active cases in Victoria has hit 7,854 with a record 17 deaths on Sunday. 

Miss Browitt said it was okay for residents to feel upset and isolated as virus cases continue to surge, but added that she would do anything to have her father and sister in lockdown with her.

‘I feel as though people don’t realise how precious time is and that you don’t often get the chance to be with family like this.’ 

While she has had essential surgeries cancelled as a result of the pandemic, she reminded Victorians that lockdown will pass with ‘patience and perseverance’.

Her mother Marie, whose immune system is compromised fighting autoimmune diseases multiple sclerosis and Lupus, believed COVID-19 could kill her.

As the 24-year-old’s only surviving parent, Miss Browitt would be forced into a nursing home if anything happened.

The Victorian woman shared a picture after her skin graft surgery in July describing the agonising pain she has had to endure during her recovery

The Victorian woman shared a picture after her skin graft surgery in July describing the agonising pain she has had to endure during her recovery

The Victorian woman shared a picture after her skin graft surgery in July describing the agonising pain she has had to endure during her recovery

Ms Browitt has to wear a protective suit on her skin after suffering third degree burns to 70 per cent of her body

Ms Browitt has to wear a protective suit on her skin after suffering third degree burns to 70 per cent of her body

Ms Browitt has to wear a protective suit on her skin after suffering third degree burns to 70 per cent of her body

‘There are people out there, ignoring laws designed to protect their own family’s survival. I can’t comprehend it,’ Marie said.  

The heartbroken mother said the pair still cry for Paul and Krystal daily, but joined her daughter encouraging Victorians to be proud that they can stay home and protect their loved ones.

Krystal, 21, and Paul were killed along with 19 other people when the volcano erupted on December 9, 2019.

When first responders arrived on the scene after the explosion, Mr Browitt urged them to save his girls before coming back for him.

Krystal was tragically killed in the initial blast, while Mr Browitt died later in hospital.

Stephanie (left with sister Krystal right) tragically lost her sister in the disaster and her father Paul

Stephanie (left with sister Krystal right) tragically lost her sister in the disaster and her father Paul

Stephanie (left with sister Krystal right) tragically lost her sister in the disaster and her father Paul

Ms Browitt (pictured with her father Paul) said despite the time that has passed, she remembers the eruption like it was 'just yesterday'

Ms Browitt (pictured with her father Paul) said despite the time that has passed, she remembers the eruption like it was 'just yesterday'

Ms Browitt (pictured with her father Paul) said despite the time that has passed, she remembers the eruption like it was ‘just yesterday’

Ms Browitt spent seven months painstakingly rebuilding her life and recovering in hospital.

She previously said despite the time that passed, she remembers the eruption like it was ‘just yesterday’.

‘Honestly, every time it’s the ninth of each month I can feel my heart racing and my body tense as the memory of it floods back in my mind,’ Ms Browitt wrote on Instagram.

‘I get anxious. I hate it so much, it does not get easier. It just hurts more and more when I think about how much time has passed since I was last with my dad and sister.’

She said she keeps wishing she could turn back time and at least have looked for her sister and father and sat with them during the aftermath.

‘We’re just picking up the pieces of our new lives and doing the best that we can do.

‘I just want to thank everyone for your kindness, compassion and constant support. You guys manage to put a smile on my face, even if just for a second.’

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American and United Airlines announce they will be furloughing a combined 32,000 staff

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american and united airlines announce they will be furloughing a combined 32000 staff

American Airlines and United Airlines say they will begin to furlough a combined 32,000 employees after lawmakers and the White House failed to agree on a broad pandemic relief package that includes more federal aid for airlines.

CEO of American Doug Parker announced that 19,000 workers would be furloughed beginning from Thursday in a letter to staff, as money from the CARES Act provided to airlines in the spring expired at midnight Wednesday.

‘I am extremely sorry we have reached this outcome,’ Parker wrote in the letter. ‘It is not what you all deserve.’

Parker said that if Washington comes up with a stimulus package that allocates $25 billion to airlines ‘over the next few days,’ then the company will reverse furloughs and recall the workers.

Similarly, United said the Congressional impasse has forced it to furlough 13,000 workers. The company said it told leaders in the Trump administration and Congress that if payroll aid is approved in the next few days, it too could undo the furloughs.

‘We implore our elected leaders to reach a compromise, get a deal done now, and save jobs,’ the company said in a message to staff.

CEO of American Airlines Doug Parker announced that 19,000 workers would be furloughed beginning from Thursday in a letter to staff this week after lawmakers and the White House failed to agree on a broad pandemic relief package that includes more federal aid for airlines

CEO of American Airlines Doug Parker announced that 19,000 workers would be furloughed beginning from Thursday in a letter to staff this week after lawmakers and the White House failed to agree on a broad pandemic relief package that includes more federal aid for airlines

CEO of American Airlines Doug Parker announced that 19,000 workers would be furloughed beginning from Thursday in a letter to staff this week after lawmakers and the White House failed to agree on a broad pandemic relief package that includes more federal aid for airlines

33840538 8792725 image m 12 1601523241176

33840538 8792725 image m 12 1601523241176

Similarly, United said the stimulus relief impasse has forced it to furlough 13,000 workers

The furloughs announced by American amounts to close to 14 percent of the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline’s pre-pandemic workforce.

The bulk of United’s reductions is made up by flight attendants with 6,939 set to be furloughed. 

The moves by two of the nation’s four biggest airlines represent the first – and likely the largest part – of involuntary job cuts across the industry in coming days. 

Industry analysts said the four largest U.S. airlines – American, United, Delta and Southwest – lost a combined $10 billion in the second quarter of this year.  

Southwest has said it does not plan to lay off any employees through the end of the year.

Delta Airlines, meanwhile, said it’s currently exploring the possibility of furloughs for about 2,000 of its pilots.

Airline employees and executives made 11th-hour appeals this week to Congress and the Trump administration to avert furloughs when a federal prohibition on layoffs – a condition of an earlier round of federal aid – expires Thursday.

The passenger airlines and their labor unions are lobbying for taxpayer money to pay workers for six more months, through next March. Their request is tied up in stalled negotiations over a larger pandemic relief measure.

Industry officials acknowledged that prospects were bleak for action before Thursday’s deadline. They said, however, they were cheered that the House this week included airline payroll help in a $2.2 trillion relief plan that moved closer to Republicans’ preference for a lower price tag.

‘It provides a glimmer of hope that something will get done,’ said Nicholas Calio, president of the trade group Airlines for America.

Industry analysts said the four largest U.S. airlines - American, United, Delta and Southwest - lost a combined $10 billion in the second quarter of this year.

Industry analysts said the four largest U.S. airlines - American, United, Delta and Southwest - lost a combined $10 billion in the second quarter of this year.

Industry analysts said the four largest U.S. airlines – American, United, Delta and Southwest – lost a combined $10 billion in the second quarter of this year.

American said that if Washington comes up with a deal with $25 billion for airlines 'over the next few days,' then the company will reverse furloughs and recall the workers

American said that if Washington comes up with a deal with $25 billion for airlines 'over the next few days,' then the company will reverse furloughs and recall the workers

American said that if Washington comes up with a deal with $25 billion for airlines ‘over the next few days,’ then the company will reverse furloughs and recall the workers

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday night that the administration wants to help hotels, airlines and schools. He said he was talking with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi but hinted that the White House doesn’t want to go above about $1.5 trillion – $700 million below the House Democrats’ figure.

‘I don’t think we’re going to make significant progress; until Thursday, he said on Fox Business.

Calio foreshadowed the comments of American and United by suggesting that Thursday might not be a hard deadline – airlines could undo some furloughs if a deal between the White House and congressional Democrats appeared imminent.

‘Ideally, if it’s going to go beyond Thursday they will be close to a deal and say, “Hang on for a couple days,” and we can wait,’ he said. ‘Beyond that, the notices have gone and furloughs will go into effect.’

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said she still expects action by Congress because majorities in the House and Senate have signaled support for more airline relief. She said a bailout that keeps airline workers employed would be cheaper for the government than putting them on the unemployment line during a pandemic.

‘These are people who are not going to be able to pay their rent, they are not going to be able to take care of themselves,’ Nelson said on CNBC.

Beyond American and United, smaller airlines have sent layoff warnings to several thousand employees. Delta and Southwest, which entered the pandemic in stronger financial shape than American and United, have shed thousands of jobs through voluntary departures but don´t plan to lay off workers immediately.

Airlines have persuaded tens of thousands of employees to take early retirement or severance deals. But even after those offers, the airlines have more pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and other workers than they need.

U.S. air travel remains down nearly 70 percent from a year ago. Signs of a modest recovery faded this summer when COVID-19 cases spiked in many states. Traditionally lucrative business and international travel are even weaker than domestic leisure flying (An empty LAX terminal is seen above on September 2)

U.S. air travel remains down nearly 70 percent from a year ago. Signs of a modest recovery faded this summer when COVID-19 cases spiked in many states. Traditionally lucrative business and international travel are even weaker than domestic leisure flying (An empty LAX terminal is seen above on September 2)

U.S. air travel remains down nearly 70 percent from a year ago. Signs of a modest recovery faded this summer when COVID-19 cases spiked in many states. Traditionally lucrative business and international travel are even weaker than domestic leisure flying (An empty LAX terminal is seen above on September 2)

Critics say airlines shouldn’t get special treatment, and that subsidizing their workforces will only delay the companies’ need to adjust to the downturn in travel – which even airline trade groups think will last three or four years.

‘The airlines are always the first ones begging for support. They get bailed out over and over again,’ Veronique de Rugy, a research fellow at George Mason University and columnist for a libertarian magazine, said in a recent interview. ‘Airlines have a history of not preparing properly for the next emergency because they know they are going to be bailed out.’

In March, Congress approved $25 billion mostly in grants to cover passenger airline payrolls through September and up to another $25 billion in loans that the airlines could use for other purposes. The terms of the payout prohibit airlines from cutting jobs until October 1.

Late Tuesday, the Treasury Department said it completed loans to seven major airlines: American, United, Alaska, JetBlue, Frontier, Hawaiian and SkyWest.

American now expects to borrow $5.5 billion from the Treasury, and United can get $5.17 billion. Airlines have also borrowed billions from private lenders. They could use that money to keep employees – as critics like de Rugy suggest they should – but they are trying to cut spending in case ticket revenue remains severely depressed for a long time.

U.S. air travel remains down nearly 70 percent from a year ago. Signs of a modest recovery faded this summer when COVID-19 cases spiked in many states. Traditionally lucrative business and international travel are even weaker than domestic leisure flying.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Queensland border will be closed to huge swathes of NSW for at least another MONTH

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queensland border will be closed to huge swathes of nsw for at least another month

Queensland’s border will remain closed to most of New South Wales for at least another month, Deputy Premier Steven Miles confirmed on Thursday. 

The 28 days of zero community virus transmission in NSW was reset last Friday despite NSW health officials believing they had linked the case to a known outbreak.

More to come. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Daniel Andrews suffers epic Facebook fail with apprentice photo

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daniel andrews suffers epic facebook fail with apprentice photo

Two apprentices pictured alongside Daniel Andrews in a promotional photo have both lost their jobs due to his lockdown, Daily Mail Australia can reveal.

Mr Andrews used an old snap of a 2018 visit to Chisolm TAFE in a post spruiking his education agenda on Wednesday.

The picture, which was posted to his Facebook page followed by one million people, shows the premier smiling alongside Emily Roberts and Jack Sharlassian.

But the pair have been left furious at being associated with Mr Andrews because they have both lost their jobs during his 15-week lockdown of Melbourne

Two apprentices pictured alongside Daniel Andrews in a 'propaganda' photo (pictured) have both lost their jobs due to his lockdown, Daily Mail Australia can reveal

Two apprentices pictured alongside Daniel Andrews in a 'propaganda' photo (pictured) have both lost their jobs due to his lockdown, Daily Mail Australia can reveal

Two apprentices pictured alongside Daniel Andrews in a ‘propaganda’ photo (pictured) have both lost their jobs due to his lockdown, Daily Mail Australia can reveal

In a comment on the post, Ms Roberts wrote: ‘I’m the female apprentice standing next to Dan and all I can say is… this photo was taken two years ago and why you dragging me into this now brah?!

‘I’m not your friend! I’m not even working (due to coronavirus lockdown in Melbourne)’.

Mr Sharlassian, a plumbing apprentice in his final year, has also lost his job due to the coronavirus-caused recession.

Emily Roberts (circled) replied to the post with a furious  response

Emily Roberts (circled) replied to the post with a furious  response

Emily Roberts (circled) replied to the post with a furious  response

He told Daily Mail Australia: ‘I’ve been laid off as well due to lockdown. I’m not too impressed with the pic. It seems like a joke.’ 

Mr Sharlassian said the premier has gone too far with his coronavirus restrictions which keep Melburnians locked up at home for 22 hours of the day.

They will remain in place until 19 October even though fewer than 20 cases have been recorded each day for the past week. 

Victoria’s second wave began in May when coronavirus escaped from two quarantine hotels and spread rapidly around the city.

Melbourne was placed into lockdown on 8 July and a curfew was imposed preventing residents from leaving home after 8pm, although that was removed earlier this week.

The federal treasury estimated the second lockdown would cost 400,000 jobs by Christmas. 

Melbourne’s 15-week lockdown is longer than the 11-week shut down of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus was identified late last year.  

On Wednesday private security guards were pulled from a Melbourne quarantine hotel and replaced by police after a health worker raised fears about infection control breaches.

Guards employed by a services company were sent home from the Novotel in Southbank half way through their shift.

The state government took action after an anonymous health worker at the hotel tipped off a local newspaper with claims that infection control protocols were not being followed.   

Melbourne is not accepting international travellers but hotel quarantine is still being used to isolate coronavirus patients who cannot isolate at home. 

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien slammed the government for continuing to use private security guards. 

‘This hopeless Labor government has learnt nothing from its hotel quarantine scandal that’s already killed 781 Victorians,’ he wrote. 

‘They’re still using private guards not up to the task. Andrews must go – his toxic mix of arrogance and incompetence is destroying Victoria.’

Victoria reported two more deaths and 15 infections overnight. 

Private security guards have been pulled from a Melbourne quarantine hotel and replaced by police. Pictured: Cleaning staff at the hotel on Thursday

Private security guards have been pulled from a Melbourne quarantine hotel and replaced by police. Pictured: Cleaning staff at the hotel on Thursday

Private security guards have been pulled from a Melbourne quarantine hotel and replaced by police. Pictured: Cleaning staff at the hotel on Thursday

Guards were sent home from the Novotel (pictured) in Southbank half way through their shift on Wednesday

Guards were sent home from the Novotel (pictured) in Southbank half way through their shift on Wednesday

Guards were sent home from the Novotel (pictured) in Southbank half way through their shift on Wednesday

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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