Sabtu, 31 Juli 2021

Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie says she’s pregnant again - Sydney Morning Herald

London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s wife, Carrie, says she is expecting the couple’s second child.

Carrie Johnson announced her pregnancy in a post on Instagram in which she also revealed that she suffered a miscarriage earlier this year.

“At the beginning of the year, I had a miscarriage which left me heartbroken,” she wrote. “I feel incredibly blessed to be pregnant again, but I’ve also felt like a bag of nerves.”

Johnson said she hoped to welcome her “rainbow baby” around Christmas. Rainbow baby is a term used to describe a child born after a miscarriage, still birth or the death of an infant.

Friends of the Prime Minister said he is “delighted”, the London Telegraph reported.

Carrie, a 33-year-old environmental campaigner and former Conservative Party communications director, said she wanted to share the news about her miscarriage to help others.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie walk on the boardwalk during G7 on June 12 in St Ives, England.  In a post on Instagram, Carrie Johnson has said she feels “incredibly blessed to be pregnant again”, expecting the couple’s second child.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie walk on the boardwalk during G7 on June 12 in St Ives, England. In a post on Instagram, Carrie Johnson has said she feels “incredibly blessed to be pregnant again”, expecting the couple’s second child. Credit:AP

“Fertility issues can be really hard for many people, particularly when on platforms like Instagram it can look like everything is only ever going well,” she said. “I found it a real comfort to hear from people who had also experienced loss so I hope that in some very small way sharing this might help others too.”

The Johnsons married in May of this year in a private Catholic ceremony at Westminster Cathedral in London. Their first child, Wilfred, was born in April 2020.

Carrie Johnson’s post on Instagram announcing her pregnancy.

Carrie Johnson’s post on Instagram announcing her pregnancy.Credit:Instagram

The Prime Minister has six children, including four children with his second wife, Marina Wheeler, and at least one child outside of his marriages.

The baby will be the fourth born to a sitting British prime minister this century. Tony Blair and David Cameron’s wives also had babies while their husbands were in office.


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2021-08-01 01:19:16Z

Australia claims Olympic gold in freestyle BMX - ABC News

Australia's Logan Martin has won gold in the men's freestyle BMX, the first time the event has been held at the Olympics.

Martin was top seeded and therefore the favourite to win going into the contest.

Competitors are given 60 seconds to perform as many tricks as possible and are scored on difficulty and execution.

He scored 93.30 in his first of two runs, and held that lead to the end. 

Martin entered his second run determined to improve his score, but his zeal got the better of him and he was forced to end the run early after making a mistake.

It is the first gold medal Australia has won in a land-based sport at this Olympic Games.

More to come.

Posted , updated 

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2021-08-01 03:22:30Z

Florida breaks record for new COVID-19 cases as Delta variant surges across the United States - SBS News

Florida has reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state's highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data.

The state has become the new national epicentre for the virus, accounting for around a fifth of all new cases in the US.

It comes as millions of Americans could find themselves homeless as a nationwide ban on evictions expires, against a backdrop of surging coronavirus cases and political finger-pointing.

Cases jump 50 per cent in one week  

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has resisted mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements, and along with the state Legislature, has limited local officials' ability to impose restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Mr DeSantis on Friday barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month.

The latest numbers were recorded on Friday and released on Saturday on the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

The figures show how quickly the number of cases is rising in the Sunshine State: only a day earlier, Florida reported 17,093 new daily cases.

The previous peak in Florida had been 19,334 cases reported on 7 January, before the availability of vaccinations became widespread.

The Florida Hospital Association said on Friday that statewide COVID-19 hospitalisations are nearing last year's peak, and one of the state's largest health care systems, AdventHealth's Central Florida Division, this week advised it would no longer be conducting non-emergency surgeries in order to free up resources for COVID-19 patients.

Health officials on Friday announced that coronavirus cases in Florida had jumped 50 per cent over the past week with COVID-19 hospitalisations in the state nearing last year's peak.

SeaWorld on Saturday posted on its website that it was recommending that visitors follow recently updated federal recommendations and wear face coverings while indoors.

The change in policy this week at the theme park resorts came after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that everyone wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Millions of Americans face homelessness

Progressive Democrats have staged a protest as a pandemic-based nationwide ban on evictions looks set to expire.

With billions in government funds meant to help renters still untapped, President Joe Biden this week urged Congress to extend the 11-month-old moratorium, after a recent Supreme Court ruling meant the White House could not do so.

But Republicans balked at Democratic efforts to extend the eviction ban through mid-October, and the House of Representatives adjourned for its summer vacation Friday without renewing it.

Several left-wing Democrats spent the night outside the Capitol in protest - calling out their colleagues over the failure to act.

"We slept at the Capitol last night to ask them to come back and do their jobs. Today’s their last chance," tweeted Congresswoman Cori Bush, who has herself experienced homelessness and was joined by fellow progressives Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley.

With the clock ticking, the country was braced for a heartbreaking spectacle - families with their belongings at the curbside wondering where to go.

Unlike other pandemic-related aid that was distributed from Washington, such as stimulus checks, it was states, counties and cities that were responsible for building programs from the ground up to dole out assistance earmarked for renters.

The Treasury Department said that as of June, only $US3 billion in aid had reached households out of the $US25 billion sent to states and localities in early February, less than three weeks after Mr Biden took office.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ordered the eviction moratorium in September 2020, as the world's largest economy lost over 20 million jobs amid the pandemic shutdowns. The CDC feared homelessness would boost coronavirus infections.

Although more than half of those jobs were since recovered, many families still have not caught up on missed rent payments.

The Census Bureau's latest Household Pulse survey showed that of 51 million renters surveyed, 7.4 million were behind on rent and nearly half of those said they risked being evicted in the next two months.

- With AFP.

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2021-07-31 22:03:07Z

Australia’s high iron ore price is masking reality of China export drop -

As one assesses the current relationship between Canberra and Beijing, to say that relations have deteriorated since the pandemic began would be a gross understatement.

The once tense but relatively amicable relations between Canberra and Beijing have been replaced by punitive trade actions and increasingly aggressive rhetoric coming out of China.

Despite trade between Australia and China looking quite healthy on paper, in reality the high price of iron ore is masking an almost 40 per cent drop in non-iron ore exports to China.

Added to this, and perhaps the most concerning and blatant change in Australia’s relationship with Beijing, has been the increasingly aggressive rhetoric coming from Chinese state media.

In May, the Global Times published an editorial in which Australia was threatened with retaliatory ballistic missile strikes if Canberra became involved in a potential armed conflict over Taiwan.

As the winds of geopolitical change continue to blow throughout the Indo-Pacific, the landscape of the region is rapidly evolving – and not only for Australia.

Divine wind blowing into Tokyo

In the most recent Japanese government defence whitepaper released in July, Tokyo outlined how ensuring the continuation of the current status quo on the issue of Taiwan was key to its interests and those of the regional stability.

In an English language translation of the document, the Japanese Defence Ministry stated:

“The stability of the situation around Taiwan is important, not only for the security of our country, but for the stability of the international community,

“Our country must pay close attention to this, with an even greater sense of vigilance.”

This marked the first time in the defence whitepaper’s history that Taiwan was directly linked to the security of Japan.

The document itself illustrated how swiftly and significantly the positioning of the Japanese government had evolved, even in the past 12 months.

On the front cover of last year’s whitepaper was a serene piece of artwork depicting Mount Fuji on a sedate pink background. This year the serenity was replaced by a black and white depiction of a fully armoured samurai warrior galloping into battle on horseback.

RELATED: Huge world pushback against China

In late June, the Japanese State Defence Minister Yasuhide Nakayama was even more forward in making the case for Taiwan’s protection.

In an address to the Hudson Institute think tank, Mr Nakayama said: “Democratic countries have to protect each other,” adding that he had in the past referred to Taiwan as a “red line”.

“So we have to protect Taiwan as a democratic country,” Mr Nakayama said.

Given the proximity of the Japanese island prefecture of Okinawa, Mr Nakayama highlighted that if anything happened to Taiwan, it would impact Japan.

“We are not friends of Taiwan, we are brothers,” Mr Nakayama said.

In early July, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso hardened Tokyo’s stance on Taiwan even further.

In a statement Mr Aso said: “If a major problem occurred in Taiwan, it would not be going too far to say that it could be an existential threat [for Japan].

“In such a case, Japan and the United States will have to work together to defend Taiwan.” He added: “We need to consider seriously that Okinawa could be next.”

As the third largest economy in the world and arguably in possession of the third most powerful naval force on the high seas, the impact of Japan’s shift towards publicly supporting Taiwan cannot be overstated.

Taiwan – the key to the western Pacific

For both China and the alliance of the US and Japan, Taiwan is the reddest of red lines. In Beijing, the island is considered an integral part of the motherland and its reclamation is apparently President Xi Jinping’s “most cherished objective”.

In Washington and Tokyo, the current status quo on Taiwan is vital to their respective strategic and diplomatic interests.

In the words of Stanford University historian and author Niall Ferguson: “Yet losing – or not even fighting for – Taiwan would be seen all over Asia as the end of American predominance in the region we now call the Indo-Pacific.”

If the US was run out of the western Pacific, whether by force or by choice, it would be a seismic shift in the balance of power.

Key US bases currently protected by sheer distance such as Guam and Tinian would find themselves no longer safe under the new order.

Today, bases in Tinian and Guam are playing host to more than two dozen F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft of the US Air Force. The largest ever deployment of the Raptors to the Pacific Air Forces area of operation and is considered by analysts to be a strong message to Beijing.

For Japan, the loss of American protection could drive a movement to acquire nuclear weapons as a deterrent against China.

According to nuclear expert Steve Fetter, who served in Barack Obama’s White House for five years, given Japan’s “technological and scientific expertise” the government could probably build a bomb “within a matter of months”.

Lines in the sand

As tensions continue to flare and the powers on both sides draw their respective lines in the sand, it’s clear their goals are mutually exclusive.

The US, Japan and Australia have thrown their support behind a continuation of the status quo. But for Beijing and President Xi Jinping in particular, the reunification of Taiwan under the flag of the mainland is not negotiable.

If tensions do erupt into open conflict, it’s likely the Australian Defence Force will find itself side-by-side with those of the US, as they have for decades since World War II.

As the world attempts to come to grips with a very different landscape in the wake of the pandemic, it’s uncertain how things will unfold from here.

But if events continue on their current course, it seems that tensions between the superpowers may continue to rise in the coming months and years.

Tarric Brooker is a freelance journalist and social commentator | @AvidCommentator

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2021-07-31 21:29:00Z

Myanmar students at Australian universities are stuck between a coup and COVID-19 - ABC News

Thomson Lin's* teachers don't quite know the lengths he went to just to hand one of his recent assignments in on time.

The civil engineering student is enrolled at an Australian university, but since the pandemic in March 2020 forced most of his classes online, he's been studying remotely from his home in Myanmar.

That was before the military takeover on February 1, when the country's civilian leaders were arrested, the internet was shut off for hours each day, and electricity supply was sporadic.

It was under these testing conditions that Thomson was trying to submit a paper on steel analysis.

With no power at his house and a military curfew rapidly approaching, his parents decided to make a daring dash across the city to a relative's home, where the electricity was still on.

"My dad started driving as if we were in a Fast and Furious movie," he said.

"On the way, I could see many army trucks and soldiers with guns in their hands, staring at us … never did I expect that I would be having a sense of rushing through in the middle of a war zone."

Thomson is just one of dozens of Myanmar students currently enrolled at universities in Australia but studying from the South-East Asian nation, which finds itself caught between the military coup and a crushing COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the Department of Education, 138 Myanmar students are enrolled at Australian universities but are studying remotely from overseas.

Three women in face masks sitting on a road side looking at their phones
The military blocked access to the internet for hours at a time.(



While Thomson's peers who remain in Australia have been offered visa extensions in response to the chaos in their home country, there remain few options for students in his predicament – although universities say they are trying to bring them back to Australia.

Several universities contacted by the ABC say they have offered financial assistance and mental health support to their Myanmar students in Australia and at home.

Thomson said while his internet and electricity have mostly been restored in recent weeks, the aftermath of the coup has taken a toll.

More than 900 people have been killed and more than 5,000 arrested, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Thomson said he blocked his social media to avoid news of the violence swirling around him, and would find himself staring at the ceiling, crying for students who had been shot.

Feeling trapped after DFAT deal

Some young people who recently completed their studies in Australia now feel trapped in Myanmar, after signing a contract with the government, through a program run by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

"According to my contract with DFAT, we have to contribute to our country for at least two years after our study. That is why I am here in Yangon," one former student, who asked to be called Michelle*, told the ABC.

A woman in traditional Kachin clothing walks during a protest.
Protesters in Melbourne wear traditional Kachin dress in a demonstration against the military coup. (

Supplied: Julian Meehan


She was granted an Australia Awards scholarship in 2018, completed her studies and returned to Myanmar at the start of 2020, before the pandemic.

According to the Australia Awards handbook, "all awardees must return home on completion of their studies".

"Awardees are required to leave Australia for a minimum of two years after completing their scholarship. Failure to do so will result in the awardee incurring a debt to the Commonwealth of Australia for the total accrued cost of their scholarship."

Michelle had planned to use urban planning skills she learned in Australia and hoped to return later for work or further study.

"When COVID and the coup happened at the same time, I lost my job, then I lost my hope," Michelle said.

She initially took part in peaceful rallies, but when soldiers threatened protesters with live ammunition, her family asked her to stop.

"There is gunfire that we can hear from our houses," she said, adding she had had sleepless nights.

In a statement, DFAT said the government "is deeply concerned by the situation in Myanmar and is actively looking at further ways to support the people of Myanmar, including through our development assistance program".

Australia Award scholars must depart Australia for two years, but the government does not have the power to stipulate in which country this time is spent.

Michelle said she is torn – on one hand she wants to be living safely in Australia, but her family is still in Myanmar.

"I might feel survivor's guilt if I am alone in the safer place, and I could do nothing for the activists in the revolution period," she said.

'They only care for their power'

Between February 1 and the end of June, 211 Myanmar nationals have applied for onshore protection visas in Australia.

Protesters with fire.
Myanmar people continue to protest, as hundreds have been killed since the military seized power.(



With arrival limits in place due to the pandemic, seeking a path to safety in Australia is not as clear for those offshore.

"We are not safe here at all," another former Australian Awards scholar, who asked to be called Clover*, told the ABC.

Clover landed her dream architecture job in Myanmar and was due to start on February 1 – the day the military seized power.

A person with brown hair and wearing a colourful face mask stairs off camera.
Aung San Suu Kyi was detained by the military and charged under the official secrets act.(

AP: Aung Shine Oo


She has taken part in the protest movement, including organising donations, which she said puts her in a "risky" situation.

"If we go out, we have to delete all the photos and all our conversations," she said, in case the military junta stop them to check their phones.

"I just start to feel like if I get COVID, no-one can help me – I'm going to die. I feel like this.

"They don't really care for the people. They only care for their power."

Another Myanmar national, who asked to be known as Vaphual, received an Australia Awards scholarship at the end of 2019, but it was ultimately deferred due to the pandemic.

He has since started working as a freelance journalist in his home of Chin state.

"As a journalist and an activist, we are being targeted by the military junta. We cannot stay in our home safely," he said.

Australia's humanitarian intake was slashed from 18,750 places to 13,750 in 2020, and that cap is set to remain in place in the years ahead.

"Citizens of Myanmar, like all other nationalities, are able to lodge applications under the migration and temporary entry programs," the Department of Home Affairs said in a statement.

Younger generation fighting for their future

The country is seeing record high infections and deaths, as the military is reportedly hoarding oxygen and arresting doctors.

A row of oxygen tanks lined up with a child standing in front of one.
Residents in Yangon are defying a military curfew in a desperate search for oxygen to keep their loved ones breathing.(

AFP: Ye Aung Thu


"COVID has been really bad and every day we see news of our acquaintances dying or facing fatal situations," one current student, who asked to be named Jewel, said.

"We all are just trying to survive day by day and staying positive."

After studying online in Australia during Melbourne's hard lockdown last year, Jewel decided to relocate to Myanmar at the beginning of 2021.

"By the time I finished my quarantine, the coup happened – it was just the next day," she said.

Three child monks in red robes walk past a wall showing hand-washing, wearing masks.
Novice monks wear masks to protect against COVID-19, which has seen a surge in Myanmar.(

AP: Thein Zaw


She was in the middle of a Zoom class as the takeover unfolded – her internet connection was abruptly cut off, and the military were announcing their power grab on TV.

"I knew that it happened already in my parents' age, but I didn't think it could happen again these days. It was just very unbelievable at the time," she said.

Although she grew up in a country under the military's control, steadily power was handed over to the civilian government, with elections held in 2015.

"Me and my friends, we are used to what freedom looks like. We had 10 years of a bit of freedom," she said.

*Names have been changed to protect identities. 

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2021-07-31 19:11:25Z

Boris Johnson and wife Carrie expecting second child after miscarriage earlier this year -

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expecting his second child with wife Carrie Johnson.

The expectant mum, 33, announced the news on her private Instagram page today, and will welcome a baby boy or girl into the world in December.

Carrie uploaded a picture of a blue baby’s pram along with a heartfelt caption, revealing the couple suffered a miscarriage earlier this year.

She said her pregnancy with her second child has now made her feel “incredibly blessed.”

She wrote: “Hoping for our rainbow baby this Christmas.

“At the beginning of the year, I had a miscarriage which left me heartbroken. I feel incredibly blessed to be pregnant again but I‘ve also felt like a bag of nerves.”

RELATED: Covid restrictions lifted in the UK

The pair welcomed their firstborn, little Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson, into the world on April 29 2020. He was named after doctors who saved the PM’s life.

The proud parents showed off their son on May 2 – with his middle name Nicholas in tribute to the medics who treated Boris as he fought coronavirus.

Carrie gave birth to Wilfred just 16 days after Boris fought for his life in intensive care with coronavirus in the midst of the first lockdown last year.

Wilfred was pictured again in July while getting a loving cuddle from his mum while taking part in a Zoom call with staff at University College London Hospitals.

She told midwives how “incredibly grateful” she was for the “most amazing care” she got.

RELATED: Boris slammed in parliament hearing

In August the four-month-old was brought on his first holiday to the Scottish Highlands.

Snaps from the trip show the PM strolling with Wilfred strapped to his chest.

In June, Wilfred stole the show at a beach BBQ for G7 world leaders.

The youngster showed off his head of bright blonde curls as Carrie introduced him to the group and their partners at the event in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.

America’s First Lady Jill Biden was pictured cooing over Wilfred, who was dressed for the occasion in blue shorts and a white shirt.

Boris and Carrie wed in May this year, looking besotted in the garden of No10, with a larger celebration with friends and family to take place next summer.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission

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2021-07-31 15:50:48Z

Angry builder wrecks apartment block over $8m developer dispute -

A rogue builder caused almost a million dollars worth of damage to a property by ploughing his digger into a set of swanky new build apartments.

Shocking footage shows the moment the contractor rams the machine into the set of apartments following a furious row with the developer, who allegedly owed him $8 million.

A clip shows the digger repeatedly smashing into the balconies of the apartments at 7.30pm on Wednesday in Blumberg, South Germany.

Police cordoned off the area amid fears the digger may have done damage to the building’s gas containers.

RELATED: Tradie loses $241,000 home deposit due to ‘fine print’

Horrified onlookers watched as the builder fled the scene in his car after leaving a trail of destruction. He later turned himself in to police.

There was no one inside the building or any reports of casualties.

Cops estimate the damage to the property will cost some $795,000 to repair.

The dispute is said to have arisen as the property developer owed almost $8 million to the builder, who had done work on the property.

Eyewitnesses told German newspaper Schwarzwuelder Bote that the destruction had only stopped because the digger’s hydraulic hose broke.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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2021-07-31 13:54:43Z

Jumat, 30 Juli 2021

Two killed in attack on Israeli-managed oil tanker off coast of Oman - ABC News

A Briton and a Romanian have been killed in an attack on an Israeli-managed petroleum product tanker off the coast of Oman, an incident Israel's Foreign Minister is blaming on Iran.

There were varying explanations for what happened to the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship on Thursday.

Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime described the incident as "suspected piracy" and a source at the Oman Maritime Security Center as an accident that occurred outside Omani territorial waters.

Iran and Israel have traded accusations of attacking each other's vessels in recent months.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he had told Britain's Foreign Secretary of the need for a tough response to the incident in which the two crew members were killed.

"Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that harms us all," Mr Lapid said in a statement.

US and European sources familiar with intelligence reporting said Iran was their leading suspect for the incident, which a US defence official said appeared to have been carried out by a drone, but stressed their governments were seeking conclusive evidence.

Al Alam TV, the Iranian government's Arabic-language television network, cited unnamed sources as saying the attack on the ship came in response to a suspected, unspecified Israeli attack on Dabaa airport in Syria.

There was no immediate official reaction from Iran to the accusation that it may have been responsible.

Tensions rise in the Gulf

Israeli news website Ynet said the assessment in Israel was that there were two attacks on the ship, spaced several hours apart. The first caused no damage but the second hit the bridge, causing the casualties.

It quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying: "Israel will find it hard to turn a blind eye" to the attack.

The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mercer Street off Cape Town, South Africa
Israel and Iran have traded accusations of attacking each other's vessels in recent months.(

AP: Johan Victor


Tensions have risen in the Gulf region since the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after then-president Donald Trump withdrew Washington from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

The United States regards the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear arms, an ambition Tehran denies, as a direct threat to its ally Israel.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which provides maritime security information, said the attack was not piracy.

The vessel was about 152 nautical miles (280 km) north-east of the Omani port of Duqm when it was attacked, it said.

London-based Zodiac Maritime, which is controlled by Israeli magnate Eyal Ofer, whose father Sammy was Israel's most famous shipowner, said the ship was sailing under the control of its crew and own power to a safe location with a US naval escort.

According to Refinitiv ship tracking, the medium-size tanker was headed for Fujairah, a bunkering port and oil terminal in the United Arab Emirates, from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.


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2021-07-31 03:50:03Z

Awkward moment mum intercepts son’s proposal to girlfriend -

A man has shared a video of the awkward moment his mother intercepted his wedding proposal to his girlfriend, yelling “No!”.

In the viral TikTok video, which has racked up more than 9.5 million views, the US man who goes by the name ‘Cat Dad’, can be seen with his girlfriend overlooking a picturesque open field.

He reaches for the ring box in his pocket while his girlfriend stands on a ledge above him.

But as he gets ready to pop the question, his mother could be heard saying; “No, no, no”.

He then puts the ring box in his pocket and walks towards his family.

“To the girl I was going to propose to, but my mum put a stop to it …” he wrote on the video.

RELATED: Bizarre moment ex crashes wedding

He also explained that his dad “didn’t know what to do, so he just kept recording”.

However, while at first it appears she may disapprove of his proposal, she later yells “get down” to his girlfriend who was standing on the wall, perhaps concerned with her safety.

However, despite this, thousands of people since weighed in on the ‘proposal fail’ with some leaving brutal comments, saying his girlfriend “dodged a controlling MIL”.

RELATED: Bride’s begging ex-boyfriend rejected

“She got lucky then. Who wants to marry someone that lets mom pick out their wife?” one person wrote.

“Wow, a man who can’t make his own decisions and listens to his mommy … she fr dodged a bullet. Hope he finds someone who treat her good.”

Another clip shows his mother reacting to the comments, where she can be heard laughing and saying how mean the comments are — insinuating the entire video was a bit of a joke.

He shared a follow-up video, assuring TikTok users that he did in fact, propose to his girlfriend … and she said yes. They’re also now married.

“So I didn’t propose at that moment for obvious reasons,” he said

“But she didn’t get too lucky, and to commemorate the moment, we ended up taking our engagement photos on the wall.”

He never explained why his mother had an issue with the proposal spot, but the family had a good laugh about it, even if TikTok users didn’t see the funny side of it.

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2021-07-31 01:54:10Z

Vaccinated people can carry as much Delta variant COVID-19 as others, US study finds - 9News

Scientists who studied a big COVID-19 outbreak in the US state of Massachusetts concluded that vaccinated people who got so-called breakthrough infections carried about the same amount of the coronavirus as those who did not get the shots.
Health officials released details of that research, which was key in this week's decision by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the US where the Delta variant is fuelling infection surges.

The authors said the findings suggest that the CDC's mask guidance should be expanded to include the entire country, even outside of hot spots.

US health experts say vaccinated people should continue to wear face masks. (AP)

The findings have the potential to upend past thinking about how the disease is spread. Previously, vaccinated people who got infected were thought to have low levels of virus and to be unlikely to pass it to others. But the new data shows that is not the case with the Delta variant.

The outbreak in Provincetown — a seaside tourist spot on Cape Cod in the county with Massachusetts' highest vaccination rate — has so far included more than 900 cases. About three-quarters of them were people who were fully vaccinated.

Travis Dagenais, who was among the many vaccinated people infected, said "throwing caution to the wind" and partying in crowds for long nights over the July Fourth holiday was a mistake in hindsight.

Travis Dagenais was among the nearly 900 people infected in the Provincetown coronavirus outbreak. (Supplied)

"The dominant public messaging has been that the vaccine means a return to normal," the 35-year-old Boston resident said. "Unfortunately, I've now learned it's a few steps toward normal, not the zero-to-sixty that we seem to have undertaken."

Dagenais credits being vaccinated with easing the worst of the flu-like symptoms in a couple of days. He has recovered.

Like many states, Massachusetts lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in late May, ahead of the traditional Memorial Day start of the summer season. Provincetown this week reinstated an indoor mask requirement for everyone.

Leaked internal documents on breakthrough infections and the Delta variant suggest the CDC may be considering other changes in advice on how the nation fights the coronavirus, such as recommending masks for everyone and requiring vaccines for doctors and other health workers.

A bartender pours drinks at Tin Pan Alley restaurant in Provincetown, Massachusetts. (AP)

The Delta variant, first detected in India, causes infections that are more contagious than the common cold, flu, smallpox and the Ebola virus, and it is as infectious as chickenpox, according to the documents, which mentioned the Provincetown cases.

COVID-19 vaccines are still highly effective against the Delta variant at preventing serious illness and death.

The White House on Friday defended its approach to rising virus cases and shifting public health guidelines, repeatedly deferred to the CDC while stressing the need for vaccinations.

Although experts generally agreed with the CDC's revised indoor masking stance, some said the report on the Provincetown outbreak does not prove that vaccinated people are a significant source of new infections.

"There's scientific plausibility for the (CDC) recommendation. But it's not derived from this study," said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher.

The CDC report is based on about 470 COVID-19 cases linked to the Provincetown festivities, which included densely packed indoor and outdoor holiday events at bars, restaurants, guest houses and rental homes.

Researchers ran tests on a portion of them and found roughly the same level of virus in those who were fully vaccinated and those who were not.

Three-quarters of the infections were in fully vaccinated individuals. Among those fully vaccinated, about 80 per cent experienced symptoms with the most common being cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches and fever.

In the report, the measure researchers used to assess how much virus an infected person is carrying does not indicate whether they are actually transmitting the virus to other people, said Dr Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan.

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2021-07-30 22:40:47Z

Donald Trump's tax records to be released, damaging memo disclosed on DOJ's orders - ABC News

Former United States president Donald Trump has suffered a pair of setbacks, with the Department of Justice clearing the way for the release of his tax records and also disclosing a memo showing he urged top officials to falsely claim his election defeat was "corrupt". 

Handwritten notes taken by then-acting deputy attorney-general Richard Donoghue in December were released on Friday by the chair of the House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee, Carolyn Maloney.

They paint a damning picture of Mr Trump as he sought to get the department to take the unprecedented step of intervening to try to upend his 2020 election loss.

Hours later, the department cleared the way for the Internal Revenue Service to hand over Mr Trump's tax records to congressional investigators — a move he has long fought.

The fact that the Justice Department allowed the handwritten notes concerning the election to be turned over the congressional investigators marks a dramatic shift from actions taken during the Trump administration, which repeatedly invoked executive privilege to skirt congressional scrutiny.

The newly released notes detail a December 27 phonecall in which Jeffrey Rosen, who was appointed as acting attorney-general a few days later, is quoted as telling Mr Trump: "Understand that the DOJ can't + won't snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election."

"Don't expect you to do that," Mr Trump replied.

"Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen," in a reference to Republican politicians.

Mr Trump's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Justice Department ordered the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to hand over Mr Trump's tax returns to a US House of Representatives congressional committee, saying the panel had invoked "sufficient reasons" for requesting it.

The department's Office of Legal Counsel reversed course and declared the department had erred in 2019 when it found that the request for Mr Trump's taxes by the House Ways and Means Committee was based on a "disingenuous" objective aimed at exposing them to the public.

The Justice Department's actions will make it easier for congressional investigators to interview key witnesses and collect evidence against Mr Trump.

Committee investigating allegations of 'former president's corruption'

Earlier this week, the Justice Department decided that due to "compelling legislative interests", it was authorising six former Trump administration officials to sit for interviews with the House Oversight committee.

These include Mr Rosen and Mr Donoghue, as well as former White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows, who resigned amid pressure from Mr Trump, former associate deputy attorney-general Patrick Hovakimian and former assistant attorney-general Jeffrey Clark.

"The committee has begun scheduling interviews with key witnesses to investigate the full extent of the former president's corruption, and I will exercise every tool at my disposal to ensure all witness testimony is secured without delay," Ms Maloney said in a statement.

Jeff Rosen and Richard Donoghue walk through a library.
Jeff Rosen and Richard Donoghue are among the former Trump administration officials who will be interviewed by the House Oversight committee.(

Reuters: Yuri Gripas


Mr Clark is currently at the heart of an ongoing inquiry by the Justice Department's inspector-general after news came to light he had plotted with Mr Trump in a failed bid to oust Mr Rosen so he could launch an investigation into alleged voter fraud in Georgia.

In the December 27 call with Mr Rosen, Mr Trump threatened to put Mr Clark in charge, according to the handwritten notes, telling Mr Rosen: "People tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in. People want me to replace DOJ leadership."

Throughout the call, Mr Trump repeatedly pushed false claims that the election had been stolen.

Mr Rosen and Mr Donoghue tried to tell Mr Trump his information was incorrect multiple times.

"We are doing our job," the notes say.

"Much of the info you're getting is false."

A little more than a week later, based on Mr Trump's false claims that the election was stolen, thousands of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in a failed bid to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's election victory.


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2021-07-30 21:58:22Z

Covid patient Michael Freedy, 39, dies after declining to get vaccinated -

That is one of the last things 39-year-old Michael Freedy told his fiancee, Jessica DuPreez, before he died from Covid-19 in an American hospital on Thursday.

The couple had five children, the youngest of them just 17 months old. They’d been together for seven years.

Mr Freedy spent the final days of his life in intensive care, unable to breathe without the help of machines. In a country where covid vaccines are free and readily available, he’d decided to wait before getting vaccinated.

“We wanted to wait just one year from the release to see what effects people had, but there was never any intention to not get it,” Ms DuPreez told her local TV station, Fox5 Las Vegas. She said she would always regret that decision.

“He was only 39. Our babies now don’t have a dad. You can’t say, ‘I am young and it won’t affect me,’ because it will,” Ms DuPreez said.

“I expected to get 30 more years with him.”

Ms DuPreez and her eldest child have now been vaccinated.

RELATED: How the US blew its chance to end Covid-19

Mr Freedy initially believed he had sun poisoning, having recently taken a holiday to San Diego, California.

On a GoFundMe page set up before he died to help the family finances – at the time of writing it had raised $US22,000 – Ms DuPreez described her fiance’s deteriorating health in brutal detail.

“I came into our relationship with three kids and we have since had two more, bringing it up to five amazing babies,” Ms DuPreez said.

“Our life works. We have a true partnership, in everything we do. From making decisions to paying bills, from parenting to cleaning. We’ve always done it together and equally.

“We went to San Diego on July 12 and 13. It was to get the kids out of the heat advisory warning that Vegas had, but also because we actually had two days off in a row together. We went to the beach, and to Belmont Park, and let the kids ride the rides.”

They also went to the zoo before returning to Las Vegas.

The whole family got sunburnt, but Mr Freedy “got it the worst”, his skin turning so red that it “was almost purple”.

“Mike called in (sick) the next day, he was just too burnt and couldn’t really move. Then he called in again,” she recounted.

“We were putting lotions on him and aloe and we was drinking lots of Gatorade. He was getting chills, he couldn’t eat, couldn’t get comfortable, couldn’t sleep. All symptoms of sun poisoning.

“He goes to the ER and tries to get some help. The doctor pretty much dismissed him. So Mike went to work that night. The next day he wasn’t better, so he called in.”

Days later he was still showing “no signs of getting better”.

“Finally he goes to a different ER on Monday, and they test him for covid. He’s positive,” said Ms DuPreez.

“They send him home, more or less with a pat on the head, and tell him to hydrate, isolate and it’ll be fine.

“Mike is absolutely miserable. He is beside himself with how much everything hurts and how scared he is. He winds up waking me up at around 3am to tell me he can’t breathe and is dizzy, and when he tries to stand he starts to fall over.”

She also described this scene to Fox5.

“He wakes me up, panicking. He’s like, ‘I can’t breathe.’ He’s like, ‘Something’s wrong, I can’t breathe. I tried to stand up and I fell over. We’ve got to go.’”

So she rushed him to yet another emergency room. This one admitted him immediately, but told her she couldn’t stay with him.

“His blood oxygen is at 72. They tell him they are surprised he was even able to walk and talk. They do scans and find he has pneumonia in both of his lungs. He’s placed on the highest level of oxygen their hospital can do,” she said.

“By the end of the day, they said he needed more than they could give and needed to move to a different campus. He’s still not able to sleep or rest at all. He’s barely texting me back.

“Now they have him on two machines giving him oxygen and alternating with a full mask.”

The situation continued to deteriorate. He was placed on a BPAP machine.

“It’s now Sunday, and he’s been there since Monday night,” Ms DuPreez said.

“Him and I were texting Sunday, he said he was tired around 8:30 and was going to try to get some sleep while his body seemed to be telling him he could.

“I texted him when I woke. He didn’t answer. I texted him again when I got to work. No answer. I’m worried now.”

She called the hospital. A nurse told her Mr Freedy was stable, but was going to be evaluated by a doctor, who would likely recommend intubation and sedation.

Shortly afterwards he texted her back, saying they were taking him to the ICU.

“I love you with everything I am,” Mr Freedy wrote to her.

Then he phoned her.

“They are taking him then. Not tonight, right now,” she recalled.

“I cried and told him to please fight. He said he was. He told me he loves me, and I told him I love him so much, and to please please please fight and come home to me.

“That’s the last time I’ve been able to hear his voice or communicate with him.

“I went to the ICU that night to see him, after getting one of the worst phone call updates ever. The nurse told me to contact next of kin and to take all of his belongings home with me.”

She returned to the ICU the next morning. His numbers had improved somewhat, but the nurse on duty stressed that improvement was “artificial”.

“The machines are doing everything for him right now,” the nurse explained.

Ms DuPreez was there when he died.

“The machines are going crazy, his pulse was gone. Like, five people rushed in,” she told Fox5.

She watched them do chest compressions for more than half an hour. The doctor asked her to get Mr Freedy’s mother, his next of kin, on the phone.

“So I get her on the phone and they tell her there’s nothing they can do. It’s done.”

“Hug your loved ones,” Ms DuPreez told the readers of her GoFundMe page.

“Because it turned so fast. And I would give practically anything to hear Mike say my name and hug me and be able to tell him I love him more than ever.”

“The love of my life, my rock, my everything. The father to my babies is no longer with us. I don’t know what to do.”

Health officials in the United States are currently struggling to convince hesitant Americans to get vaccinated.

The country’s vaccine rollout, which started fast, has slowed steadily in recent months, dropping from an average of three million shots administered a day to about 500,000.

Roughly a third of Americans remain entirely unvaccinated, and the more infectious Delta variant is spreading fast.

“It is really a pandemic among the unvaccinated,” Dr Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s covid task force, said on Monday.

“Which is the reason why we’re out there practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated.”

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2021-07-30 21:12:10Z