(Image: ABACA Press/Robin Utrecht)

HAVEN’T I VACCINE YOU BEFORE?

According to The Australian ($), co-chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation Professor Allan Cheng has left open the possibility of a second vaccine rollout to achieve herd immunity, while emphasising that even if it is not achieved through the first phase some restrictions will ease.

With those changes unlikely to include Australia’s international border reopening for most of 2021, Cheng explains that the duration of immunity is still an open question, as is whether it’s even possible to achieve herd immunity with the range of vaccines on offer, and that while the AstraZeneca vaccine likely cannot be injected more than twice, the mRNA-based options should allow for multiple doses.

He has also told The Sydney Morning Herald that Australia is likely to push ahead with vaccinating elderly people with the Pfizer drug despite the deaths of about 30 elderly recipients in Norway — which, as Bloomberg reports, health authorities note could well be coincidental — but that Australia will need to prepare for rare cases of anaphylaxis in people with allergies.

PS: Ahead of the rollout of the World Health Organization’s COVAX immunisation program for poorer nations next month, Al Jazeera reports that WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warns a flurry of bilateral deals and a “me-first approach” among richer countries puts the world at the brink of a “catastrophic moral failure”; for example, while more than 39 million doses of vaccine have been administered in 49 higher-income nations, just 25 doses had been given in one poor country.

PARDON ME?

According to CNN, Donald Trump is set to issue around 100 pardons and commutations on his final day in office Tuesday, the bulk of which sources say concern white-collar crimes but, for now, do not include the president himself, his family, anyone involved in the Capitol Hill siege, or other names such as journalist Julian Assange.

The news comes after Trump’s original pardon schedule was disrupted by the Capital Hill siege, and as advisers reportedly urge him to not to pardon rioters or, in that it would convey guilt, himself.

Elsewhere, the ABC reports the FBI is vetting all 25,000 National Guard troops coming to Washington for Joe Biden’s inauguration amid fears of an insider attack, while The New York Times ($) notes that, after state capitols become “fortresses”, Trump supporters barely showed up.

And in what has to be one of the lightest condemnations from a world leader, The Guardian reports Scott Morrison has called Trump’s inciting comments “incredibly disappointing” but that it is not for him to “provide lectures to anybody”.

PS: Less than two days before Trump leaves office, Johns Hopkins University has the US at just below 24 million COVID-19 cases cumulatively — more than double the next highest official count, India, at 10.5 million — and about 398,000 deaths.

WINDING DOWN

Category one tropical cyclone Kimi continues to work its way off the coast of north Queensland, with the ABC reporting an emergency alert was yesterday issued for Palm Island residents.

However the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts that the cyclone, which briefly became a category two event yesterday, is weakening and a coastal crossing is becoming unlikely.

NAVALNY REMANDED IN CUSTODY

Finally, according to the ABC, a Russian judge has ordered Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to be remanded in custody for 30 days, after the politician was arrested at a Moscow airport upon flying home for the first time since he was poisoned.

The news comes after the foreign ministers of Germany, Britain, France, and Italy called for the release of Navalny — who claims his initial conviction for embezzlement and new charges for fraud are politically motivated — while the Russian government has effectively told foreign governments to mind their own business.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

  • Fitness and training material in all rooms
  • Decent food, according to the level of the tournament and from an elite athlete
  • Reduce the days of isolation for the 47 isolated players, carrying out more tests that confirm that all are negative
  • Permission to visit your coach or physical trainer, as long as both have passed the PCR
  • If the previous proposal has the green light, that both the player and their coach be on the same floor of the hotel
  • Move, as much as possible, as many tennis players to private houses with a court to train

Novak Djokovic

While only about 30% ridiculous, Djokovic’s rejected list of requests for quarantining tennis players is mostly notable in that it comes from the guy who chose to replace the ATP tour with a Balkans event that became a coronavirus cluster.

CRIKEY RECAP

Free world less free as governments fail basic tests of governing

“The two cities most symbolic of the “free world” are not very free right now. At the start of an historic week for the West, its two key capitals are under a state of emergency.

“Both London and Washington DC have imposed this drastic step not because of a coordinated terror attack from foreign extremists or a sudden natural disaster. These capitals are in this state because the heads of the government in both nations have failed in their basic duty to protect their citizens.”


Trump-inspired chaos is a boon for another authoritarian president

“The storming of the US Capitol will have reinforced the belief amongst the leadership of China’s ruling Communist Party (CCP) that the fracturing of the US represents a huge global opportunity for Beijing.

“This opportunity began in earnest with the September 11 attacks. It was locked in by the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and it has been accelerated under Donald Trump’s chaotic administration.”


James Murdoch unloads again, but Fox News is too profitable to change

“For the third time in 12 months, James Murdoch has chosen to make a dramatic public intervention criticising the editorial policies of both his father Rupert and older brother Lachlan, who jointly chair News Corp and Fox Corp.

“Back in January 2020 he raised his voice via a piece in The Daily Beast, launching with his wife Kathryn Hufschmid into News Corp’s climate denialism following the tragic Australian bushfires.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Middle-income jobs lagging behind in COVID recovery

Victoria Police says unpaid COVID-19 fines will be prosecuted, blames a ‘guidance note’ for confusion

Google ‘using CCP’s bullying playbook’, says Rex Patrick ($)

Strict quarantine for Matt Damon and family after claims of other celebrity breaches

Mark McGowan, Zak Kirkup rule out One Nation preference deal at WA election

Super Retail returns $1.7m JobKeeper handout. Should other companies do the same?

Gas companies rank among largest funders of Australian political parties

‘Djokovic is a tool’: Kyrgios slams Serbian star after list of demands

FBI investigates tip that a woman possibly stole a laptop from Pelosi’s office to potentially sell it to Russia

New videos show Wuhan during earliest days of COVID outbreak

Israel to rein in rights groups over use of ‘apartheid state’

THE COMMENTARIAT

Freedom of speech: Voltaire would applaud Trump Twitter banJosh Bornstein (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Contrary to suggestions otherwise, Voltaire would have applauded the decision by Twitter and Facebook to suspend the access of Donald Trump to their platforms. Much like John Stuart Mill, the British philosopher and guru of classical liberalism, Voltaire supported criminal laws against libel, slander, incitement to violence and treason. Mill is credited with developing ‘the harm principle’ under which laws restricting personal freedom should be promulgated ‘to prevent harm to others’.”

Dan Andrews cops a serve lowering the net for tennis ($) — Editorial (The Australian): “Premier Dan Andrews had the right instinct when he resolved to try to keep the Open open, even if he exposed himself to the glib suggestion, which his callous partisans had directed at stricken small business during lockdown, that he was putting a higher value on the dollar than on human life. As we’ve repeatedly argued, maximising economic activity is an imperative for human wellbeing, not just for revenue, although it’s easily forgotten that without sustained productivity, all social goods — health, welfare and education, the lot — begin to disintegrate.”

Did The X-Files prime us for the QAnon era?Aimee Knight (Kill Your Darlings): “I wonder if Edgar Maddison Welch ever saw this — that is, The X-Files’ season three episode ‘Wetwired’ — and if he had, whether he may have thought twice before taking an assault rifle to a Washington, DC pizza shop in December 2016, and firing three rounds while ‘self-investigating’ a non-existent child trafficking ring. Compelled by the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory, Welch reportedly explained his motive by texting a friend, ‘I’m sorry bro, but I’m tired of turning the channel and hoping someone does something’.”

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Peter Fray

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