Day: November 30, 2020

Hotel inquiry told Graham Ashton set the deadly wheels in motion to hire private security


By Wayne Flower, Melbourne Correspondent

06:28 30 Nov 2020, updated 06:28 30 Nov 2020

  • Former top cop had text messages telling federal police of the decision
  • Graham Ashton told inquiry he cannot remember who it was that told him 
  • Counsel assisting inquiry suggests Mr Ashton first mentioned private security
  • Inquiry had heard not a single minister, staffer or cop knows who made the call 
  • An official finding will be revealed  by the inquiry just days before Christmas
  • Professor Brett Sutton came under fire for withholding scores of relevant emails 

Victoria’s top cop was most likely behind the implementation of private security at quarantine hotels instead of police, an inquiry has heard.

As the hotel inquiry draws to its end date just days before Christmas, counsel assisting the inquiry has launched a stinging attack on former Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton. 

In a day that has seen Victoria Police belted by the royal commission into police informers, the hotel inquiry has been told the idea to use private security at hotels likely began with Mr Ashton on the day the program was conceived. 

Former Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton takes on oath on the bible to tell the truth at the inquiry into Victoria’s disastrous hotel quarantine program
Former Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton text messages his federal colleague advising that the order to use private security came from the premier’s office
Private security has been accused of bungling the hotel quarantine operation and causing Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID-19

The inquiry had previously heard there had been a ‘creeping assumption’ that private security had got the gig following a meeting between Mr Ashton and government officials on March 27. 

Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID infections, which in turn has led to more than 800 deaths of the elderly. 

The inquiry ran for months and when it ended in October heard not a single person could identify who made the decision to hire the private security guards. 

It was a starting assumption which, enforced by Victoria Police’s preference and in the absence of opposition, ultimately became the position. 

In its closing submissions, the five barristers making up counsel assisting the inquiry suggested a series of text messages between the former police chief and Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police Reece Kershaw on the afternoon of March 27 were telling. 

The texts showed Mr Ashton had been working under the impression private security would guard hotels and not police or troops. 

‘An inference can and should be drawn that private security was mentioned in the conversation between Mr Ashton and (Department of Premier and Cabinet boss) Chris Eccles at 1:17pm,’ counsel submitted. 

‘As neither participant could recall the conversation, it is not possible to say what was said, or which of the two men raised the topic.

‘However, it was that conversation which was the source of the understanding that Mr Ashton referred to in his subsequent texts to Commissioner Kershaw,’

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Millions travel during holiday despite health warnings

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Despite health warnings, millions of people took to the skies for Thanksgiving travel, making airports the more crowded than any time since the pandemic began.

Travelers said they went to visit family over the holiday weekend, but took extra safety precautions at their destinations.

“Obviously we had our masks and wherever we went there was cleaning sanitizing zones and social distancing, you know all the restaurants, everyone was on board with making sure that we were following all the protocols,” SFO traveler Dan Gilmartin said.

Gilmartin went to Palm Springs for Thanksgiving.

REPORTER: “What made you travel despite the CDC’s recommendations not to?”

DAN GILMARTIN: “You know, we already planned the vacation before the recommendation and felt very safe. Like right now, there’s not very many people in here.”

SFO saw no large crowds on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which is usually one of the busiest travel days.

But health experts are more concerned about where people are going to, potentially super spreading events to see family.

Which was on Donny Molina’s mind — he spent the holiday in Las Vegas.

“We didn’t have a lot of family over for Thanksgiving. We tried to keep it small,” Molina said. “We’ve seen family members that we need to see, other than that you know we just FaceTimed.”

“It was tense,” SFO traveler Annette Parent said. “The planes were full.”>

For Parent, travel was necessary.

“I went to see my mother in Oregon who is not doing very well,” she said. “She doesn’t have COVID but she’s elderly and she needed some help.”

Despite the CDC’s dire warning to stay home, millions of Americans traveled for Thanksgiving.

SFO saw the busiest days – since the pandemic began.

REPORTER: “Are you feeling COVID regulation fatigue?”

DAN GILMARTIN: “Absolutely. Well for one, my ears are killing me right now from this mask. But just socially, it was just nice to get out of town. There were a lot of people in palm springs there but again everyone was separated but it was nice to be out in public to be around the community be around people.”

“Probably a little bit,” Molina said. “I try not to think about it too much but I feel we have to be feeling it a little bit but just trying to make the best of it and try to stay safe and hopefully it will be over soon.”

“No, I think it’s essential and I really wish people wear their masks most of the time,” Parent said.

And doctor’s next concern — the upcoming winter holidays. What effect will those gatherings have on COVID-19.

It is recommended you get tested three to five days after you’ve potentially been exposed to the virus to avoid a false negative test result.

Doctors say it may be some time until we know the full effects of these Thanksgiving gatherings, it usually takes two to three weeks to gather all the data.

Santa Clara County updated its

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Moiseichik Appointed to Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies


Merry Moiseichik
Photo Submitted

Merry Moiseichik

Merry Moiseichik, a professor of Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Arkansas, has been appointed to the National Recreation and Park Association’s Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies.

CAPRA is the accrediting body for park and recreation agencies, ensuring high standards of practice in quality of operation, management and service to the community. The commission has 15 members, and Moiseichik will represent the Academy of Park and Recreation Administrators.

“I was thrilled and honored to select Merry to the CAPRA Commission for a three-year term, based on her dedication and commitment to educate the parks and recreation profession,” said Michael McLarty, executive director of the American Academy for Park Recreation Administration.

Moiseichik has been a member of the accreditation community for 15 years and has contributed as editor and chapter author for four editions of the “Management of Parks and Recreation” textbook. The fifth edition will be out by next summer and the project will again be led by her.

“The management book is based on CAPRA standards and is one of the best books in the industry,” McLarty said. 

Moiseichik said she has wanted to be a member of the commission for many years as “it’s the leader in the parks and recreation industry for increasing the quality of administration and provision of parks and recreation services.”

“It is these services that create the quality of life in a community,” she said. “Excellence in these services improves air quality, economic growth and positive health benefits, which has been especially true in the pandemic. 

“It creates beauty in our community and gives us wonderful places to play. The CAPRA Commission helps administrators identify where they can improve and the Management book tells and shows them how to do it.  The two work hand in hand.”

Moiseichik joined the faculty of the College of Education and Health Professions at the U of A in 1989.

Moiseichik was appointed by the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration, which has five appointments to the commission.

The commission is committed to the development of quality park and recreation agencies. The agency accreditation program focuses on the education and evaluation of the agencies using standards considered to be the essential elements for effective and efficient operations.

Accreditation is earned through comprehensive and systematic self-assessment process and on-site visitation and peer review. Also, visitors are trained as peer evaluators and review the agency as part of the process.

Established in 1980, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration was formed to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators to enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and conduct research, publish scholarly papers and/or sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to building

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Global Wireless Travel Router Market 2020 Definition, Size, Share, Segmentation and Forecast data by 2026

The MarketWatch News Department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Nov 29, 2020 (CDN Newswire via Comtex) —
Global Wireless Travel Router Market 2020 by Manufacturers, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2026 introduced by MarketsandResearch.biz offers exclusive research & analysis on the market that gives analysis on market conditions, trends, inclinations, key players, opportunities, and geographical analysis. The report entails key developments in the global Wireless Travel Router market that demonstrates extensive information pertaining to detailed coverage, with appropriate references of definition, application, and regional scope. The report attempts to track the evolution of the growth path of the market from 2015 to 2020. It also provides long-term market growth projections for a predefined period of assessment, 2020 to 2026. The market is evaluated mainly on segments namely types and applications which cover all the analytical data for current and future markets.

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Based on a comprehensive analysis of the industry’s key dynamics and segmental performance, the report offers a broad assessment of demand, supply, and manufacturing scenarios. The report delivers well reliable information about every segment of global Wireless Travel Router market growth, development, production, demand, types, and application of the specific product. It also examines the role of the leading market players involved in the industry including their corporate overview, financial summary, and SWOT analysis. This market report offers some presentations and illustrations about the market that comprises pie charts, graphs, and charts.

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NOTE: Our analysts monitoring the situation across the globe explains that the market will generate remunerative prospects for producers post COVID-19 crisis. The report aims to provide an additional illustration of the latest scenario, economic slowdown, and COVID-19 impact on the overall industry.

The report also tracks the latest market dynamics, such as driving factors, restraining factors, market size (value and volume), market share, growth rate by types, applications, as well as industry news like mergers, acquisitions, and investments. Analysts have studied the data of revenue, production, and manufacturers of each region. Moreover, aspects covered by the report include growth statistics, development history, industry share, market presence, consumption forecast, data sources, and beneficial conclusion. Next, it discusses production and capacity analysis where marketing pricing trends, capacity, production, and production value of the global Wireless Travel Router market.

Key manufacturers are included based on the company profile, sales data and product specifications, etc: AT&T, Verizon Wireless, HooToo, RAVPower, TP-Link, GL.iNet, D-Link Corporation, URANT, TRENDnet, Huawei, EE, Samsung Electronics, Sierra Wireless, Netgear, T-Mobile, Franklin Wireless, ZTE,

The market can be segmented into product types: Speed of 150 Mbps, Speed of 300 Mbps, Speed of 750 Mbps, Others

The market can be segmented into applications as: Residential, Commercial, Others

The report offers an entire view of this global Wireless Travel Router market by substituting it when it comes to application as well as region. Trends examines regional segmentation integrates prospective and present requirement for them from the North America (United States, Canada and Mexico),

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Southwest airlines COVID-19 coronavirus family upset BWI Airport

They had $1,600 in airline credits set to expire despite government warnings against holiday travel.

WASHINGTON — It was supposed to be a February getaway for Howard Van and his family to relax after the birth of his second son, Vincent. He bought airplane tickets for himself, his wife Yok, Vincent and his older son Jason, and his sisters-in-laws Amy and Yann Ly.

The family was supposed to fly on Southwest Airlines from BWI Airport to Tampa, Florida. But days before they were supposed to leave, and just as coronavirus was hitting the United States, Howard and his wife got sick with a fever and chills.

Van worried the couple might have contracted coronavirus, but said there was no way to know at the time.

“We had all the classic symptoms,” Van said. “But we will never know we had it or not because we there was no testing available to the general public at that time.”

Van says he was just trying to do the safe and responsible thing by canceling the trip.

“For us as a family and for other passengers on that flight,” he said.

Southwest issued the Van family travel credits for the cost of the plane tickets worth roughly $1,640. The travel credits were set to expire on December 20, 2020. 

But with COVID cases surging around the country, Howard said there was no way to use the travel credits, especially since his wife and sister in law Yann are both front line health care workers and have been asked by their employers not to travel.

So, Van called Southwest and asked for an extension to use the travel credits.

Because of their current policy, they were unable to grant me that request, which was very disappointing for us,” Van said. “And it became almost like a financial ticking time bomb as the deadline was approaching.”

That Southwest policy says only travel credits issued on or after March 1 of this year can be extended. Van asked customer service to make an exception, posting his appeal to Southwest Airline’s CEO, Gary Kelly, on the company website.

Van wrote, “The current Southwest policy is hurting front line medical professionals during a time when they are sacrificing the most to keep everyone safe.”

But according to a screenshot of that conversation provided by Van, Southwest wouldn’t budge. A customer service rep wrote back: “We’re sorry for any disappointment surrounding the fare rules…ya’ll choose to purchase.”

Van said the best Southwest told him they could do was charge him $100 per ticket to extend the travel credit deadline, meaning he could sink another $500 into a trip he didn’t know when his family could safely take. Or lose the $1640 in airfare altogether.

“And for our family, that’s a lot of money,” Van said. “That’s money we could use to buy groceries, invest in our college funds or buy Christmas presents for our kids.”

Howard wrote to WUSA9 and asked for help. So, Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Flack

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Taiwan and New Zealand show business travel’s future

They handed out the New Zealand CIO Awards in Auckland’s Civic Theatre last week. For those of us locked down in the northern hemisphere, the photos come from a glittering world. There are 650 people crowded into the pre-event drinks, leaning in to make themselves heard. A few are posing arm in arm. Astonishingly, someone is reaching for a canapé from a proffered tray. There are no masks.

This may be a view of our past, but perhaps also our future, when we, like New Zealand, have controlled the virus. The country has suffered 25 Covid-19 deaths. Life has a normality denied to much of the world. What can it teach us about business travel post-Coronavirus? Was Bill Gates right when he said business travel would be down 50 per cent on its pre-pandemic level?

I became interested in travel patterns in largely coronavirus-free countries when I spoke to Steven Pan, chairman of the Regent Hotels Group. He is based in Taiwan, which has suffered just seven deaths. Pan told me that local business travel was returning — in interesting ways.

Conference attendance in Taiwan was well down. People had discovered they could attend remotely. Intra-company office visits were also less common than pre-virus, but Pan told me he thought corporate leaders with subsidiaries in countries across Asia, with their differences in language and culture, would need to resume travelling to their offices to make sure company messages were heard. In the US and Europe, where multinationals largely operated in English, intra-company visits would not make a big comeback. The real business travel boom was in sales; you can’t close deals on Zoom.

New Zealanders are seeing similar patterns. Domestic travel has risen. International passenger numbers at Auckland airport were down 97 per cent in September and October compared with the same months last year. But domestic numbers, down by 53 per cent in September, were down only 35 per cent in October.

What business travel are New Zealanders doing? Darrin Grafton, chief executive of Serko, a travel technology company, says he has seen a pick-up in off-site meetings, as companies reintroduce team members to each other. This is necessary because not everyone has gone back to the office. Nick Queale, general manager for corporate travel at Flight Centre Travel Group, says many have settled into a pattern of three days a week at home and two in the office.

In spite of events such as the CIO awards, Queale said conference-going seemed an unnecessary expense to many companies. Travel for intra-company visits is still subdued. But face-to-face training was returning, as was travelling to conclude deals. Companies were taking a hard look at what travel was necessary and examining the return on investment. How vital they thought travel was varied by sector. Demand for travel in mining and manufacturing was particularly strong.

What would happen when New Zealand

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Conservation vs. recreation in Pinelands

Robert Dailyda

The New Jersey Pinelands are on the fringes of the heavily populated Northeast Corridor. While this area is remote, it is within a short drive for millions of people. Within the heart of the Pinelands is the Wharton State Forest, a true ecological treasure and home to many threatened or endangered plant and animal species. It is also a recreational resource for many.

The proximity to large populations of people combined with the allure of the beauty and remoteness of this area has resulted in pressure for recreational use as well as sustained efforts to preserve and protect the unique natural ecosystem. Striking a balance between recreational use and ecological preservation has been an ongoing challenge that can be described as a polarity between those desiring preservation of the forest and those desiring access to the forest.

John McPhee’s 1968 book “The Pine Barrens” was a popular work that increased public awareness of the rich environment of the Pinelands and its rich historical and cultural heritage. The state and federal governments had the foresight to recognize this in 1978, when it was designated the Pinelands National Reserve. The state enacted the Comprehensive Management Plan in 1980 in an attempt to preserve this area while recognizing that there are scenic, aesthetic, cultural, open-space and recreational-resource considerations; it specifically requires public participation in the planning process to be an integral part of the management approach. This public participation is the result of the New Jersey statute that requires the plan to include “A program to provide for the maximum feasible local government and public participation in the management of the pinelands area.”

The popularization of motorized off-highway vehicles (OHVs) has expanded opportunities to freely explore the forest while also causing detrimental effects to the ecosystem. Unfortunately, the popularity of these vehicles is contributing to the need for regulation.

Expectations for free OHV access to the Wharton State Forest began long ago when recreational pressures on the forest were much less than they are today. A study found that on federal lands, allowance of recreational use of OHVs was a not a result of planned policy, but evolutionary, the default being ubiquitous and uncontrolled use of OHVs. The result was that the vehicles were being operated in environmentally sensitive areas, resulting in ecological damage.

Another study found that the initial reaction by authorities is generally to limit OHV access, resulting in closure of access in sensitive areas. The evolution of the OHV situation in Wharton State Forest is comparable in that the initial approach by forest managers was to prohibit access.

For example, the Wharton State Forest approach in 2015 was to implement a Motorized Access Plan (MAP) with a map that identified the 225 miles of roads open to legally licensed OHVs. It was also accompanied by an informational brochure to highlight the forest ecology and to warn of improper use of OHVs. The net effect was to prohibit access to many miles of existing sand roads.

The Motorized Access

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Support for Japan’s Suga Falls Following Travel Campaign Reversal | World News

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s approval ratings fell five percentage points to 58%, with many unhappy with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll taken over the weekend by the daily Nikkei newspaper.

The dip in ratings follows criticism over his hesitation to suspend a domestic travel campaign as new coronavirus infections rise, and potentially threatens the chances of his premiership extending beyond next autumn, when his current term ends.

Suga’s approval ratings were at 63% in the previous poll conducted in October.

Respondents who disapproved of the government’s coronavirus countermeasures rose 13 percentage points to 48%, topping the 44% who thought the government was doing well, according to the same poll.

In the survey of 993 people, 61% agreed with the government’s decision to partially halt the domestic ‘Go To’ travel campaign, while 25% said the government needed to do more.

Although Japan has been spared the high incidence of the disease seen in Europe and the United State, infections rates are rising as the cold season approaches, with the nation reaching record numbers of daily cases in recent weeks.

New daily infections surged to an all-time high of 2,684 people on Saturday, according to public broadcaster NHK. The number of deaths stands at over 2,100.

The government has been attempting to keep the coronavirus under control while boosting Japan’s hard-hit economy with a national travel campaign that subsidises tourism.

With new cases rising, the government scaled back on the tourism campaign last week by excluding the two cities of Osaka and Sapporo, but has not suspended the programme in Tokyo, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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COVID-19 impact from Thanksgiving travel and gatherings could be ‘precursor’ for upcoming holidays

Fallout from Thanksgiving travel and festivities could intensify challenges Massachusetts will face as it continues to battle the pandemic through the December holidays, when officials will be navigating more uncertain terrain amid soaring numbers of cases.



a person standing in front of a store: A passenger made a purchase Sunday from the PPE vending machine inside Terminal B at Logan Airport.


© Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
A passenger made a purchase Sunday from the PPE vending machine inside Terminal B at Logan Airport.

While more indications emerge that people are chafing under pandemic restrictions, those measures are vital to curb the spread and ease pressure on the state’s health care system, officials said.

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“Until we have a vaccine, we’re the vaccine,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “Our behavior, and what we do, can help prevent the spread of this virus in our community.”

In the wake of Thanksgiving, public health officials will be closely monitoring state metrics to see what effect holiday travel and gatherings will have on the state’s COVID-19 levels. They will be looking at new cases, positivity test results, hospitalizations, and the presence of coronavirus in wastewater, which is seen as an early warning system.

Some experts, including Dr. Robert Horsburgh, a professor of epidemiology at Boston University, warn that in order to limit additional cases, Governor Charlie Baker will need to roll back the state’s economic reopening.

“We need to ratchet things down and get on top of things like transmission before hospitals fill up and we’re having the crises we had before,” Horsburgh said. “It’s definitely going in the wrong direction, and we can’t sit pat, because with more infections out there, the risk is increasing.”

Dr. Alessandro Vespignani, director of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University, said public health results from those Thanksgiving activities could help officials project how upcoming holidays will affect coronavirus numbers.

“We need to be very careful. What happened during Thanksgiving could be a precursor of all the other many holidays,” Vespignani said. “So if we see a surge after Thanksgiving, then we have to think [about] and factor other possible surges for Christmas, for New Year’s Eve, et cetera.”

On Sunday, the state Department of Public Health reported 2,501 new confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, which brought the total to 217,163. The state’s death toll from confirmed cases reached 10,487, with 46 new deaths reported Sunday.

The state reported 43,709 people were estimated to have active cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, up 1,160 from 42,549 reported Saturday.

A Baker spokesman said Sunday that the administration “is not considering changes to public health protocols at this time and will continue to monitor COVID-19 data.”

Dr. Mauricio Santillana, who is director of the Machine Intelligence Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, said adherence to some public health recommendations has fallen in Massachusetts.

Santillana was part of a group of researchers who reviewed survey data collected from respondents in the state that included questions on public health matters.

The findings from October showed that since April the number of people taking steps such as frequently washing hands, avoiding

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Support for Japan’s Suga falls following travel campaign reversal

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s approval ratings fell five percentage points to 58%, with many unhappy with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll taken over the weekend by the daily Nikkei newspaper.



Yoshihide Suga wearing a suit and tie sitting in front of a curtain: FILE PHOTO: Yoshihide Suga speaks during a news conference following his confirmation as Prime Minister of Japan in Tokyo


© Reuters/POOL
FILE PHOTO: Yoshihide Suga speaks during a news conference following his confirmation as Prime Minister of Japan in Tokyo

The dip in ratings follows criticism over his hesitation to suspend a domestic travel campaign as new coronavirus infections rise, and potentially threatens the chances of his premiership extending beyond next autumn, when his current term ends.

Suga’s approval ratings were at 63% in the previous poll conducted in October.

Respondents who disapproved of the government’s coronavirus countermeasures rose 13 percentage points to 48%, topping the 44% who thought the government was doing well, according to the same poll.

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In the survey of 993 people, 61% agreed with the government’s decision to partially halt the domestic ‘Go To’ travel campaign, while 25% said the government needed to do more.

Although Japan has been spared the high incidence of the disease seen in Europe and the United State, infections rates are rising as the cold season approaches, with the nation reaching record numbers of daily cases in recent weeks.

New daily infections surged to an all-time high of 2,684 people on Saturday, according to public broadcaster NHK. The number of deaths stands at over 2,100.

The government has been attempting to keep the coronavirus under control while boosting Japan’s hard-hit economy with a national travel campaign that subsidises tourism.

With new cases rising, the government scaled back on the tourism campaign last week by excluding the two cities of Osaka and Sapporo, but has not suspended the programme in Tokyo, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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