As it happened: Queen Elizabeth II lying in state at Westminster; Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin reaffirm alliance against ‘ugly’ west in Uzbekistan meeting – Sydney Morning Herald

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Good evening, and thanks for following our live news coverage, here’s today’s major headlines:
That’s all from us, we will be back with you on Monday from 7am to take you through the news of the day, until then I hope you have a great weekend.
Victoria’s powerful police union claims the force is on the brink of a crisis, with officers routinely taking an hour to attend high-priority callouts such as armed robberies and home invasions.
The state opposition has agreed to publish police response times if elected at the November state election amid a renewed push from the Police Association of Victoria for increased transparency in the force.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has pledged a further $125 million for the triple zero call-taking and dispatch service.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui
Association secretary Wayne Gatt said the dispatch delays experienced by police were almost comparable to those that had plagued the ambulance and the triple-zero call services.
A damning report into the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) released this month found a collapse of call-taking performance and “agency command and control issues” had contributed to the deaths of 33 Victorians.
“Some would say that to some extent we’re there already, it’s just that it’s not publicly aired,” Gatt told radio station 3AW on Friday morning before meeting delegates at the union’s annual conference. “Our members are telling us they’re holding jobs. Our members are telling us there are some things they can’t get to.”
Gatt said it was common for police to hold priority-three jobs, which do not require an urgent response, but officers were increasingly delaying their response to priority-one and two calls.
Read more here.
More than 110 years after a straight line was drawn through a paddock near Ginninderra Falls, marking the northern edge of the Australian Capital Territory, Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants a century-old border “anomaly” fixed.
The expansionist chief minister on Friday confirmed the ACT would move to acquire a 300-hectare section of land from the NSW side of the border after the state’s Premier Dominic Perrottet tentatively agreed to the idea.
Plans for a future 11,000 home development on the northern fringe of the ACT would spill across the border, prompting the chief minister to reach out to the NSW government to redraw the territory’s boundary for the first time since 1911.
A section of NSW land could soon be handed over to the ACT.
The soon-to-be annexed section of NSW is more or less only accessible from the ACT, Barr pointed out. He said if the geographical landmarks had been taken into consideration when carving the territory into existence last century, the land would most likely already be part of the ACT.
“It’s really a historical quirk that a straight line was drawn through a paddock rather than following the river corridor,” Barr said. “I view it as just correcting a historical anomaly. It’s an incredibly small piece of land.”
The chief minister said the region had been the subject of “engagement” with NSW for about five years, and would result in a massive boost to ACT housing stock.
Read more here.
Welcome to your five-minute recap of the trading day, and how the experts saw it.
The numbers: The Australian sharemarket declined on Friday, bringing its total losses over the course of a volatile week to 2.1 per cent.
The benchmark ASX 200 index closed 1.4 per cent, or 95.9 points, lower to 6747 points, as all 11 sectors landed in the red. The losses add to the estimated $63 billion wiped from the local bourse on Wednesday.
The ASX has opened lower on Friday.Credit:Louie Douvis
The lifters: Meridian energy gained 1.12 per cent; IDP education added 1 per cent; and Ramsay Health Care added around 1 per cent.
The laggers: The energy, material and industrial sectors provided the biggest drag of the day, down 2.96 per cent, 2.31 per cent and 2.45 per cent, respectively.
Market heavyweight BHP weighed down mining stocks, dropping 1.8 per cent. Fortescue Metals dipped 1.73 per cent and Rio Tinto lost 2.31 per cent.
Over in the energy sector, Yancoal dropped 5.63 per cent; Woodside Energy shed around 3 per cent; and Santos lost 2.39 per cent.
In other news, toll road operator Atlas Arteria plummeted 15.62 per cent after resuming trading his morning following its announcement on Tuesday it had bought a 66.6 per cent stake in a toll way in Chicago.
The lowdown: The ASX200 rounded out an especially volatile week with further losses, as interest rate fears and surprise inflation rises continued to dampen markets across the globe.
Read more here.
London: London’s police force says two officers have been hospitalised after being stabbed in central London early Friday.
The Metropolitan Police force says officers “encountered a man with a knife” in the Leicester Square area, a busy tourist hub, about 6am local time. (0500GMT).
The force says both officers are in the hospital and it is awaiting updates on their conditions.
A man was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and assaulting an emergency worker. He is also in the hospital. Police say a Taser was used during the arrest.
Police say they are investigating the circumstances around the incident. It comes as London is flooded with mourners for Queen Elizabeth II’s lying-in-state, but the stabbing did not occur near any commemorative sites.
More to come.
Victoria has reported 13,252 new COVID-19 cases over the last seven days in the state’s first weekly update.
The Victorian Department of Health has not yet tweeted the new figures, instead updating its website to show case numbers have dropped by 17 per cent, with 210 people in hospital with the disease.
There are 9,806 active case and 10 people are in ICU.
On average, 11 lives were lost to COVID-19 each day during the period from Friday, September 9 until Thursday, September 15.
The government did not publish a specific figure for the total number of deaths over the past seven days.
Academics and bank workers are pushing for the right to ignore calls and emails outside of hours to restore their work-life balance and mental health in a new battlefront opening up in the fight for better conditions.
The National Tertiary Education Union, calling for a 15 per cent pay rise for university staff over three years, and the Finance Sector Union, negotiating with Westpac and National Australia Bank for 6 per cent more pay, both want the right to log off out of hours locked into agreements.
Culture Amp project manager Charlotte Hatherly enjoys the right to disconnect at her workplace.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui
NTEU national assistant secretary Gabe Gooding said all staff were routinely expected to respond to student and management inquiries outside of work hours, including on weekends.
“For the academic staff … if they don’t respond to student inquiries on weekends, they can get a lower student satisfaction score that can impact their employment, particularly if they’re employed as casuals,” Gooding said.
“It impacts on your health, mental and physical, and relationships. It’s clearly a work health and safety hazard.”
FSU Victorian and Tasmanian secretary Nicole McPherson said the right to disconnect wasn’t about preventing managers from calling staff during emergencies, but to ensure staffers were not “on the clock all the time”.
“I think as the use of technology in our workers grew, there’s been an increasing expectation for us to be available all the time,” she said.
The move to ban bosses contacting workers after hours is opposed by the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andrew McKellar, who argues it “would not align with the needs of a modern 24-hour economy”.
Read more here.
The UN food chief has warned that the world is facing “a global emergency of unprecedented magnitude”, with up to 345 million people marching towards starvation – and 70 million pushed closer to starvation by the war in Ukraine.
David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Program, told the UN Security Council on Thursday that the 345 million people facing acute food insecurity in the 82 countries where the agency operates is 2½ times the number of acutely food insecure people before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
World Food Program chief David Beasley meets villagers in Wagalla, northern Kenya, in August.Credit:AP
He said it is incredibly troubling that 50 million of those people in 45 countries are suffering from very acute malnutrition and are “knocking on famine’s door”.
“What was a wave of hunger is now a tsunami of hunger,” he said, pointing to rising conflict, the pandemic’s economic ripple effects, climate change, rising fuel prices and the war in Ukraine.
Since Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24, Beasley said, soaring food, fuel and fertiliser costs have driven 70 million people closer to starvation.
Despite the agreement in July allowing Ukrainian grain to be shipped from three Black Sea ports that had been blockaded by Russia and continuing efforts to get Russian fertiliser back to global markets, “there is a real and dangerous risk of multiple famines this year”, he said. “And in 2023, the current food price crisis could develop into a food availability crisis if we don’t act.”
Read more here.
London: Two COVID-19 treatments are no longer recommended by the World Health Organisation, on the basis that Omicron and the variant’s latest offshoots have likely rendered them obsolete.
The two antibody therapies – which are designed to work by binding to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 to neutralise the virus’ ability to infect cells – were some of the first medicines developed early in the pandemic.
A vial of the drug remdesivir is inspected at a Gilead manufacturing site in the US.Credit:Gilead Sciences
The virus has since evolved, and mounting evidence from lab tests suggests the two therapies – sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab – have limited clinical activity against the latest iterations of the virus. As a result, they have also fallen out of favour with the US health regulator.
On Thursday, WHO experts said they strongly advised against the use of the two therapies in patients with COVID-19, reversing previous conditional recommendations endorsing them, as part of a suite of recommendations published in the British Medical Journal.
GSK and partner Vir Biotechnology’s sotrovimab – which has generated billions of dollars in sales and became one of the British drugmaker’s top sellers last year – was pulled off the US market by the US Food and Drug Administration in April.
Given the United States had begun to question sotrovimab’s clinical effectiveness against Omicron in February, the WHO’s realisation is coming a little late, said Penny Ward, visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London.
Read more here.
For months, Philip Lowe and the Reserve Bank have been kicked around by politicians like a football in the middle of the MCG.
On Friday, the RBA governor returned fire with some very pointed kicks to the shins of the political class.
RBA governor Philip Lowe, under attack from MPs for months, used his time in a parliamentary committee to suggest economic reforms that governments need to consider.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
The bank’s day job is monetary policy, using it to keep inflation between 2 and 3 per cent while aiming for full employment and securing the “economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia”.
Plenty of politicians reckon the bank, and Lowe, have got it wrong. Some have called for his head on a spike while both Labor and the Coalition went to the election promising the first independent review of the RBA since the early 1980s.
Facing the latest House of Representatives economics committee, where there were plenty of criticisms dressed up as questions, Lowe took the opportunity to wade into the very non-RBA world of fiscal policy.
He noted that it was more than passing strange that despite the highest terms of trade on record, unemployment at a 48-year low and a record number of people in work (and paying tax), the federal budget was forecast to remain in deficit.
Declaring the state of the budget a “significant issue”, he said the community – rightly – wanted high-quality services and infrastructure. The problem was that governments had been unwilling to confront the ways to pay for them.
Read more here.
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