Sam Burgess steps down from coaching position with South Sydney Rabbitohs amid allegations of domestic violence and drug use - CNN International
Sam Burgess has stepped down from his coaching role with the South Sydney Rabbitohs following what the club calls "very concerning" allegations against the team's former star player.
(CNN)Sam Burgess has stepped down from his coaching role with the South Sydney Rabbitohs following what the club calls "very concerning" allegations against the team's former star player. The newspaper The Australian published an investigation into Burgess on Friday, alleging the 31-year-old had engaged in drug use, domestic violence and incidents of sexual harassment. The report also says South Sydney covered up the alleged incidents to protect Burgess. Burgess' lawyer Mark O'Brien did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment, but in a statement to The Australian said: "The allegations are false and constitute an indefensible defamation against my client. "It is apparent sources of the false allegations are those currently in dispute with my client over various issues." South Sydney issued a statement noting that "the allegations in today's The Australian newspaper are very concerning and the club is treating them with the utmost seriousness. "There is no place in our society for violence, harassment or abuse against women. If anyone is found guilty of allegations of this nature, the club will take the strongest possible action. "The club takes issues of drug use very seriously and has well-established policies and procedures in place around the use of performance enhancing or illicit/recreational/prescription drugs. "The Rabbitohs welcome the NRL Integrity Unit's investigation in relation to these allegations and will fully cooperate with the investigation." CNN reached out to South Sydney for additional comment but did not immediately receive a response. A former international for Great Britain and England in both rugby league and union, Burgess retired due to a shoulder injury in 2019 and has since been working as an assistant coach for the Rabbitohs. New South Wales police did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. Burgess has also stepped down from his guest commentary position with Fox League. The NRL Integrity Unit will conduct an investigation following the allegations against Burgess, according to chief executive Andrew Abdo. The league also said it would seek advice from the police and other relevant authorities. "The allegations that were made and what was written in The Australian today was new information to the NRL," Abdo said. "We will conduct a thorough investigation and if information has been withheld by bodies, we will take the appropriate action. "We have to look at the facts, we have to look at what happened and we have to look at the implications of those involved before we decide on what course of action we take. "These allegations are serious against both the club and the player involved." Burgess started his rugby league career with English side Bradford Bulls before joining the Rabbitohs, a club co-owned by Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, in 2010. Burgess helped South Sydney win its first NRL title in 43 years in 2014. He briefly switched codes to union, representing England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but returned to Sydney for the final three years of his playing career. CNN's Aleks Klosok contributed to this report
October 2: Trump's Covid diagnosis - CNN International
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for Covid-19. Follow here for the latest.
Former President Barack Obama gave his best wishes to President Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they were diagnosed with Covid-19, during a virtual fundraiser with Kamala Harris for the Biden-Harris campaign. Let me start by the way, by just stating that we're in the midst of a big political fight. And we take that very seriously. We also want to extend our best wishes, to Trump and Melania," he said. Michelle and I are hopeful that they and others who have been affected by COVID-19 around the country are getting the care that they need, that they are going to be on the path to a speedy recovery, Obama said. "And it's important I think for all of us to remember that even when we're in the midst of big political battles with issues that have a lot at stake, that we're all Americans, and we're all human beings, he added, "hoping that we can all be healthy."
Australia secures deal for potential Covid-19 vaccine, will provide it free to all citizens - CNN International
Australia has secured a deal with the drugmaker AstraZeneca to supply a potential Covid-19 vaccine to its entire population free of charge, the government announced Tuesday, becoming the latest country to lock in supplies of the drug should trials succeed.
(CNN)Australia has secured a deal with the drugmaker AstraZeneca to supply a potential Covid-19 vaccine to its entire population free of charge, the government announced Tuesday, becoming the latest country to lock in supplies of the drug should trials succeed. British-based AstraZeneca is developing the vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, with advanced trials now underway with thousands of volunteers across multiple countries. Under the deal, the Australian government would manufacture the vaccine and offer free doses to all citizens. "The Oxford vaccine is one of the most advanced and promising in the world, and under this deal we have secured early access for every Australian," said Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a statement released late Tuesday local time. "If this vaccine proves successful we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians." "However there is no guarantee that this, or any other, vaccine will be successful, which is why we are continuing our discussions with many parties around the world while backing our own researchers at the same time to find a vaccine," he added. Speaking on Wednesday, Morrison acknowledged that there were "big hurdles" in producing a successful vaccine but said the AstraZeneca-Oxford University project is "one of the best prospects in the world today." The deal is still in early stages, with both parties having signed a Letter of Intent. A final formal agreement at a later stage will lay out more concrete details like pricing and distribution. However, the Australian government has previously indicated that it will spend billions of dollars on its vaccine strategy. AstraZeneca released early results of its closely watched Phase 1/2 trial in late July, which suggested that its vaccine candidate was safe and induces an immune response. The Phase 2/3 trials will now aim to prove whether the vaccine protects people against the novel coronavirus. Results are expected later this year, and will depend on the rate of infection within the trial communities, AstraZeneca said. The company has already reached agreements with several governments and organizations to produce at least 3 billion doses of the vaccine, with the first deliveries starting as early as September, it said on its website. The United States has made a deal with AstraZeneca for 300 million doses, delivering as early as October. Other countries that have also made deals for a potential supply include Russia, South Korea, Japan, China and Brazil, the company said. AstraZeneca has also struck a deal with the European Commission to provide up to 400 million doses for all member states of the European Union. "With production in our European supply chain soon to be started, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly, with the first doses to be delivered by the end of 2020," said company CEO Pascal Soriot in a statement last week on the EU deal. The AstraZeneca deal comes as Australia continues to grapple with its coronavirus outbreak, centered in the state of Victoria -- though other states, including neighboring New South Wales, are also reporting new surges. Victorian authorities declared a "state of disaster" on August 2, and placed the state capital, Melbourne, back under soft lockdown. These reimposed restrictions include a six-week curfew, a return to online schooling, and rules on how far residents can travel outside their homes (5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles). The state reported 222 new infections and 17 deaths on Tuesday, bringing its number of active cases to 7,274. An official inquiry found that almost all active cases in Victoria can be traced back to hotels used to quarantine international arrivals for a mandatory 14 days. The inquiry was launched after claims that some contracted workers were breaking protocol at these hotels -- including reportedly having sex with people under lockdown. Almost 99% of Victoria's second-wave cases can be traced back to just two quarantine hotels in Melbourne, said Department of Health and Human Services epidemiologist Charles Alpren at the inquiry on Tuesday. The vast majority, upwards of 90%, likely came from just one of those hotels, he said. It began with one family that arrived from overseas on May 9; each family member tested positive in the days after arrival. Weeks later, three members of hotel staff tested positive; a month later, 17 more people connected to the hotel tested positive. By July 29, health officials had identified 817 active cases linked to the hotel. All Australian states and territories are now closed off from each other, with hard border closures that leaders warn will stay in place for months to come.
The latest on the coronavirus pandemic - CNN International
The coronavirus pandemic has brought countries to a standstill. In many places, as countries reopen, Covid-19 cases are on the rise. Follow here for the latest.
Venezuela is returning to planned lockdown measures, as the country reported 20% of its total number of coronavirus infections in just the past week, according to data collected by the government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela reported more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus in the past three days and more than 2,000 cases in the past week. In total, the country has reported 11,891 coronavirus cases. More than 20% of those 2,426 cases were reported in just the last seven days. At least 112 people are reported to have died from the coronavirus in Venezuela. The majority of cases and deaths reported are concentrated in the two main urban areas of Caracas and Maracaibo, according to data collected by the Maduro government. The Venezuelan opposition and international organizations have questioned the government's capacity to trace and report coronavirus cases. Speaking on Sunday in Caracas, Maduro urged Venezuelans to respect social distancing measures as the country returned to total lockdown from Monday. Venezuela has established a planned "7+7 lockdown approach" under which lockdown measures are relaxed for seven days and reintroduced for the following seven days. Maduro also defended his government policy to limit the number of migrants allowed to return to Venezuela. The Maduro government has previously labeled illegal migrants as "biological weapons" and "bioterrorists." Some background: Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Maduro government has allowed only a few hundred Venezuelan migrants to return home each day, as an estimated tens of thousands have been attempting to return with lockdown measures imposed across South America. More than 70,000 migrants have returned since March, Maduro said Sunday. He said migrants who crossed the border illegally will "infect" Venezuela with coronavirus. At least 1,136 Venezuelan citizens have been detained after returning to the country illegally, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff Admiral Remigio Ceballos said Sunday.
How the Hope Mars mission will make history in the UAE - CNN
The Emirates Mars Mission is set to be the Arab world's first interplanetary venture.
CNN's series often carry sponsorship originating from the countries and regions we profile. However, CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. Our sponsorship policy. (CNN)Although humans have yet to step foot on Mars, the road to the Red Planet has never been busier. Three countries -- the UAE, US and China -- are embarking on missions this summer, taking advantage of the biennial window when Earth and Mars are closest together. The Emirates Mars Mission, which aims to capture the most comprehensive picture yet of the Red Planet's atmosphere, will be the first of the trio to lift off. With its planned July 15 launch delayed by weather conditions, it is now set to launch from Japan later this week; in doing so, it will make history as the Arab world's first interplanetary mission. "This is the golden age of space in the UAE," explained Fatma Hussain Lootah, manager of the team's instrument science section. "This is the time we decided to stand out in maybe a sector nobody expected us to develop in, because it's knowledge-based, it's very science-based." The UAE's space ambitions are part of a push for economic diversification in a country where oil dominates the economy. The sector accounted for 30 percent of the nation's GDP last year, but the government believes that initiatives like the Emirates Mars Mission will help by encouraging students to explore new subjects. "The UAE government wanted to inspire Emirati youth to go into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and wanted to use this mission as a catalyst for change in multiple sectors, which includes academic sector, industrial sector and economic sector," said Omran Sharaf, the mission's project manager. To emphasize these intentions, the autonomous spacecraft was named "Al Amal," which translates to "Hope" in English. The team believes this gesture will resonate beyond the UAE. "We all know that we're in a region that has turmoil ... so when it was called the Hope probe, it was kind of a symbol of hope, not just for Emirati youth, for the youth of the entire area," said Lootah. "And just to give them hope that ... this is a new era, this is an era where there's going to be science. There's going to be technology. There is going to be spacecrafts ... everything is possible." The Arab world will watch those ambitions take flight when the probe launches from Tanegashima, Japan. Simply making it this far was an impressive feat for the Gulf country. Most Mars missions take between 10 to 12 years to develop, according to Sharaf. But scientists at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, in Dubai, had just six years to carry out the project. If all goes according to plan, Hope will spend an entire Martian year in orbit, or 687 days, analyzing hydrogen and oxygen levels. This data will provide unprecedented information about Mars' atmosphere, which could help scientists better understand why the planet became uninhabitable. But even though the probe is still seven months away from reaching Mars, Sharaf says that the project has already achieved success in the UAE. "Since the mission was announced we've seen the impact of the mission at different sectors. We've seen universities starting science programs that they didn't have in the past ... we've seen undergraduate students switching majors from finance and international relations to sciences." "So when it comes to the vision itself, we've already seen the impact."
Australia to reimpose six-week coronavirus lockdown in second largest city as country battles potential second wave - CNN
Strict lockdown measures are to be reimposed in Australia's second largest city, as authorities scramble to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections spreading across the country.
Australia to seal off 6.6 million people in virus-hit state as outbreak worsens - CNN
Australia will isolate 6.6 million people in the state of Victoria from the rest of the nation at 11.59 p.m. on Tuesday, as authorities take drastic action to control a coronavirus outbreak in the city of Melbourne.
Mattis tears into Trump: 'We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership' - CNN International
Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday castigated President Donald Trump as "the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people" in a forceful rebuke of his former boss as nationwide protests have intensified over …
(CNN)Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday castigated President Donald Trump as "the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people" in a forceful rebuke of his former boss as nationwide protests have intensified over the death of George Floyd. "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American peopledoes not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us," Mattis said in a statement obtained by CNN. "We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children." His pointed remarks follow more than a week of nationwide protests across the country calling for justice for Floyd, a black man who was killed last week by a white police officer in Minneapolis. In response, Trump earlier this week declared himself "your president of law and order" and vowed to return order to American streets using the military if widespread violence isn't quelled. The comments from Mattis are a significant moment for a man who has kept mostly silent since leaving the administration. The retired Marine general had been pressed many times to comment on Trump, troop policies, the Pentagon, and other current events and had always refused because he didn't want to get involved and be a contradictory voice to the troops. Instead, Mattis always insisted he had said everything he wanted to say in his resignation letter. And until a few days ago he had privately held to that view, but Mattis has become so distressed by the events of the last week that his views on speaking out changed. The remarks will be a significant moment for many service members who idolize the former defense secretary, who -- despite a career based on loyalty and respect for the military chain-of-command -- is sending troops the message that the country can unite without the President's lead. A Trump campaign adviser said it's likely the President will respond with "great anger" to Mattis' scathing statement on the response to the unrest in Washington. The adviser took note of Trump's affection for having generals in high-ranking positions early on in his administration, such as Mattis, former Homeland Security secretary and chief of staff John Kelly and former national security adviser retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. "Trump loved calling them 'his generals,'" the adviser said. "He loved his generals and now they've all turned on him," the adviser added. The adviser went on to note the Nazi reference in the statement -- Mattis said, "The Nazi slogan for destroying us...was 'Divide and Conquer.' Our American answer is 'In Union there is Strength.' We must summon that unity to surmount this crisisconfident that we are better than our politics" -- was particularly pointed. "That will leave a mark," the adviser said. The message comes after days of increased military presence in Washington. National Guardsmen and federal law enforcement have been stationed around the nation's capital in a show of force not seen in recent memory. Federal law enforcement officers violently broke up peaceful protests in front of the White House on Monday, apparently so Trump could stage a photo-op at a church across the street from Lafayette Square, where protesters had gathered. The former secretary, who resigned from Trump's Cabinet, also indirectly criticized current Defense Secretary Mark Esper's use of the word "battlespace" in reference to American cities. "We must reject any thinking of our cities as a 'battlespace' that our uniformed military is called upon to 'dominate,'" Mattis said. "At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflicta false conflictbetween the military and civilian society." "It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them." His comments echo a growing discomfort from some in the Pentagon that began even before Trump announced that he is ready to deploy the military to enforce order inside the US. "There is an intense desire for local law enforcement to be in charge," a defense official told CNN, alluding to the laws that forbid the military from performing law enforcement roles inside the United States. Esper on Wednesday acknowledged his use of the word "battlespace" was not meant to indicate any conflict with Americans, but claimed he used a military term of art. Esper also specifically rejected the use of active duty forces in a law enforcement role at this time -- comments that put him on shaky ground with the White House. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany would not directly answer Wednesday whether Trump still has confidence in Esper, saying instead, "as of right now Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper." "With regard to whether the President has confidence, I would say if he loses confidence in Secretary Esper, I'm sure you all will be the first to know," McEnany said during Wednesday's press briefing. "Should the President lose faith, we will all learn about that in the future," she added. But Mattis directed most of ire at Trump saying "Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizensmuch less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside." Trump on Wednesday evening softened his tone around sending the military into American cities, saying, "I don't think we'll have to," before reiterating that he has "very strong powers to do it" in an interview with his former press secretary Sean Spicer. Still, Mattis made clear that his blistering assessment of the President extends beyond any one issue. "Only by adopting a new pathwhich means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding idealswill we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad." This story has been updated with additional information Wednesday. CNN's Jim Acosta, Ryan Browne and Nicole Gaouette contributed to this report.
Australia suffers first recession in 29 years - CNN International
Australia's economy is suffering its first recession in nearly three decades as the nation grapples with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
How did Australia flatten its coronavirus curve? Country begins easing restrictions as infection rate continues to fall - CNN
When it comes to the coronavirus, South Australia ought to now be considered among the safest places in the world. That was the message from one of the country's leading public health officials this week, as much of Australia began the slow process of easing …
(CNN)When it comes to the coronavirus,South Australiaought to now be considered among the safest places in the world. That was the message from one of the country's leading public health officials this week, as much of Australia began the slow process of easing restrictions. That many Australians now find themselves in such an enviable position would have been unthinkable only a month ago, during which nationwide daily infection rates reached into triple figures. But on Friday, the entire country reported just 16 new cases, a sharp decline from a peak of 460 new infections on March 28. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday the country will consider relaxing nationwide lockdown guidelines next Friday, earlier than planned. "Australians have earned an early mark," Morrison said. "We need to restart our economy, we need to restart our society." In some states, the curve has completely flattened: Queensland hasn't reported any new cases since Monday, and South Australia has seen no new infections for more than a week. "No more cases in South Australia. This is a landmark for us," South Australia Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said with a big smile during a press briefing on Wednesday. The southern state of 1.6 million people, home to the country's fifth most populous city Adelaide, has reported 438 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with only 14 remaining active cases and four deaths, according to the SA government. "I think many people are surprised in Australia at how well we have done. Really, when you look across all the states and territories, this is the safest place to be in the world, perhaps other than New Zealand," she said. Neighboring country New Zealand recently achieved its ambitious goal of "eliminating" the coronavirus, meaning that while the daily infection rate has yet to reach zero, the country is able to track the origins of each new case. In total, Australia has reported 6,762 confirmed cases, of which 92 have died and 5,720 have recovered, according to the federal health authority. "We're continuing to do very well around Australia to suppress the virus and we have well and truly flattened the curve of cases and new infections," said a spokesperson for the Australian Department of Health in a statement Thursday to CNN. "Safety has been our fundamental focus and the success of our suppression strategy has meant Australia is in a very similar (place) to New Zealand, which has stated its strategy is aimed at elimination." Some Australian states have already started to begin the process of easing restrictive measures and social-distancing rules. West Australia and South Australia relaxed the limit on public gatherings, up from two people to 10 people. In Western Australia, which saw several "zero-case" days in the past week, national parks reopened on Friday, and nearly 60% public school students have returned for the start of a new term. In the remote Northern Territory, where no new cases have been reported for three weeks, residents will be able to use public swimming pools, waterparks, go fishing with friends and play golf starting from Friday. The state has also laid out plans to restart its economy, allowing restaurants, pubs and gyms to reopen on May 15 and lifting the remaining restrictions on June 5. Australia's success in taming the outbreak started with early measures to bar entry from high-risk areas. On February 1, Australia joined the United States in closing its borders to all foreign visitors who had recently been in China, where the outbreak was first reported in December last year. As the virus spread and outbreaks flared beyond China, Australia barred entries from Iran, South Korea and Italy in early March, before closing its borders completely to all non-citizens and non-residents on March 19. But the country has also had its shares of missteps. On March 19, it allowed more than 2,600 passengers to disembark from the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney, despite multiple previous outbreaks elsewhere in the world involving cruise ships. Over 600 cases and 15 deaths have since been linked to the ship, according to public broadcaster ABC. As the number of cases soared in late March, Morrison announced on March 22 all bars, clubs, cinemas, gyms and places of worship would be closed indefinitely, while restaurants and cafes would be restricted to take-away only -- but supermarkets, clothing stores, chemists and beauty salons would be allowed to remain open. "What we're doing is closing down gatherings in pubs and clubs and things of that nature, we're not putting in place lockdowns that would confine people to their home," Morrison said at the time. The state of Victoria closed schools, and some states, such as West Australia and South Australia, closed their borders, requiring anyone to enter to go into two weeks of quarantine. By the end of March, authorities imposed stricter social-distancing rules, limiting public gathering to two people from the previous 10. People were urged to stay home and only go out if it is "absolutely essential," such as shopping for food, exercising, and for medical reasons. While closure of businesses, schools, travel restrictions and social distancing rules are common measures adopted by many governments around the world, Australia also paired these restrictions with widespread testing. To date, more than 570,000 tests have been conducted across Australia, according to the Department of Health. In comparison, the United Kingdom, with a population more than 2.5 times of Australia, has carried out 763,387 tests. On March 25, Australian expanded its testing criteria to include all health care workers, aged care workers, prisoners and people in other identified hotspots who have fever or acute respiratory symptoms. Previously, only people who recently returned from overseas or who had come into contact with a confirmed coronavirus case could be tested. Last week, the criteria was further expanded to anyone displaying even the mildest symptoms for Covid-19, Federal Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy announced. "Anybody with acute respiratory symptoms, cough, sore throat, runny nose, cold symptoms, flu-like symptoms, can get tested," Murphy said at a press conference Friday, according to ABC. On Monday, Murphy said Australia will start testing asymptomatic cases for the first time "to be absolutely sure that we are capturing every case that we can and that we're not missing cases." While Australia appears to be successfully containing the coronavirus, it has become embroiled in a diplomatic spat with China after it demanded an international inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak. The bipartisan push for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, including China's handling of the initial outbreak in the city of Wuhan, begun last week, with Foreign Minister Marise Payne urging China to allow transparency in the process, according to ABC. The push quickly drew the ire of Beijing, which slammed the move as "political maneuvering." In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Chinese Ambassador Jingye Cheng even warned of an economic backlash if Australia continued its push for an independent inquiry, suggesting that the Chinese public may boycott Australian products or decide not to visit Australia in the future. A day after Cheng's stern warning, Morrison vowed to continue to push for the inquiry at a press conference on Wednesday, calling it a "fairly obvious and common sense suggestion." "This is a virus that has taken more than 200,000 lives across the world. It has shut down the global economy. The implications and impacts of this are extraordinary," he said. "It would seem entirely reasonable and sensible that the world would want to have an independent assessment of how this all occurred, so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again...I believe there will be support for at the right time, to ensure we do that," added Morrison.