Novak Djokovic launches court bid to fight deportation
‘The Age’ reports tennis star Novak Djokovic has launched a last minute bid in the Federal Circuit Court to stop the federal government from deporting him ahead of the Australian Open. Lawyers for the Serbian star appeared in the Melbourne court on Thursday afternoon, after he had his visa cancelled upon arrival in Australia. Djokovic may be ordered to leave Melbourne as early as this evening because Australian Border Force said he failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the requirements to enter the country. There was outrage across the world after Djokovic announced the Australian Open granted him a medical exemption from a COVID vaccine. Players competing in the tennis tournament, which begins on January 17, are all required to be vaccinated.
Ghislaine Maxwell to seek new trial
Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers have demanded a new sex crimes trial after a juror said he had helped convict the British socialite by telling fellow jury members about his experience of sexual abuse. Maxwell’s attorneys told New York judge Alison Nathan that the comments by Scotty David, identified by his first and middle names, “presents incontrovertible grounds for a new trial”. The juror, one of 12 who last week found Maxwell guilty of trafficking minors for late financier Jeffrey Epstein to abuse, has given several interviews about deliberations since the December 29 verdict. In them, the 35-year-old said he had helped sway panellists who were doubting the accounts of the two main accusers.
Italy to vaccinate those 50 years old and over
The Italian government has approved a measure Wednesday requiring people older than 50 to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, as the country struggles with nearly daily new records of fresh infections fuelled by the Omicron variant. Earlier in the day, 189,000 new infections were confirmed. Prime Minister Mario Draghi told a Cabinet meeting, “We want to put the brakes on the growth of the curve of contagion and push Italians who are still not vaccinated to do so.” Draghi said the decision to require vaccination for older persons was taken out of concern that they are at more risk for hospitalisation and “to reduce the pressure on hospitals and save lives”. Anyone 50 or older will be checked to see if they have a “super green pass” before they enter their workplaces.
Macron’s blunt language on unvaccinated causes furore
The French government has defended President Emmanuel Macron’s use of coarse language in a stepped-up campaign against France’s unvaccinated, after his words drew condemnation from the opposition and mixed reactions from the electorate. Macron told ‘Le Parisien’ he wanted to “piss off” unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting jabbed. He also called unvaccinated people “irresponsible” and “unworthy of being considered citizens”. Christian Jacob, chair of the conservative Les Republicans party, told parliament a president could not say such things. But spokesman Gabriel Attal said that, amid a “supersonic” rise in COVID-19 cases, the government stood by Macron’s comments. France announced a staggering 332,252 daily virus cases on Wednesday.
Pope says choosing pets over kids is selfish
Pope Francis has said people who choose to have pets over children are acting selfishly. Discussing parenthood during a general audience at the Vatican, he said that having dogs and cats in place of children was “a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and takes away our humanity”. Francis said people who are unable to have children for biological reasons should consider adoption and urgedinstitutions to be ready to help by simplifying the process. He also spoke of a “demographic winter” – referring to countries with declining birth rates – in which, he said, “we see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more”.
Kazakhstan calls for Russian help
Russian-led military troops will be deployed to help quell anti-government demonstrations in Kazakhstan over rising fuel prices, but broadened to include other political grievances. President Tokayev called for support from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) amid escalating nationwide unrest. Meanwhile, protesters in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, stormed the presidential residence and the mayor’s office and set both buildings on fire.
First woman to command US nuclear carrier
The USS Abraham Lincoln deployed this week from San Diego under the command of Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, the first woman to lead a nuclear carrier in US Navy history. Bauernschmidtpreviously served as the Abraham Lincoln’s executive officer from 2016 to 2019 and earlier as the commanding officer of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70 and the amphibious transport dock San Diego.
Meghan to receive £1 in damages after privacy case
The Duchess of Sussex will receive £1 in damages from Associated Newspapers after the ‘Mail on Sunday’ was found to have invaded her privacy. The nominal sum was set out in court documents which formally confirm the newspaper has accepted defeat. The Mail on Sunday had published a handwritten letter that Meghan sent to her father Thomas Markle in 2018. Associated Newspapers will also pay a confidential sum for copyright infringement, while the Mail on Sunday also faces having to cover a substantial part of Meghan’s legal costs, which could be more than one million sterling.