Ex-TV host O'Keefe charged with choking.
Former Seven Network television host Andrew O'Keefe has spent the night behind bars after he was charged with choking and assaulting a woman.
The 50-year-old presenter was arrested early on Thursday after getting into an argument with the 38-year-old woman on Tuesday in a Sydney CBD unit, police say.
He was refused bail to appear in Central Local Court on Friday to face two charges of intentionally choking a person, three of common assault, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The former Deal or No Deal host is accused of "grabbing her by the throat, pushing her to the ground and punching her", police said in a statement.
The 50-year-old was arrested early on Thursday after allegedly getting into an argument with a 38-year-old woman in a Sydney CBD unit. https://t.co/1PCLADm23C— Mamamia (@Mamamia) January 27, 2022
He allegedly then assaulted the woman for a second time by punching and kicking her again before she left the unit and reported the incident.
O'Keefe, a former lawyer and son of former NSW Supreme Court judge Barry O'Keefe, was a founding member of domestic violence charity, the White Ribbon Foundation, where he served as chairman in 2017.
The organisation - which went into liquidation in 2019 - said in a statement they were disappointed to hear of the allegations against O'Keefe, as with "many other distressing incidents of violence against women already this new year".
If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.
- With AAP
COVID cases set to spike as schools return.
Federal, state and territory leaders expect COVID-19 infections to spike as schools return for the year.
No decision has been made about whether to change the definition of full vaccination to require a third dose as Australia's immunisation advisory group continues to consider the issue.
But it would be up to individual states and territories to update their respective public health orders. NSW's health minister has criticised people for failing to take up booster shots in droves, with about 100,000 doses not being taken up in recent weeks.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews earlier suggested Thursday's national cabinet could agree to change the definition of full vaccination to cover three doses.
Leaders told Thursday's meeting they anticipated daily infection tallies to rise as schools went back and student surveillance testing began.
“As a mum, I feel somewhat ‘relaxed’, as hopefully most of the children have now been vaccinated. As a preschool teacher, I am terrified.” https://t.co/Ma6ONOuF04— Mamamia (@Mamamia) January 25, 2022
They also reported decreased pressure on hospital admissions and intensive care units.
The Australian head of pharma giant Moderna thinks Australia is hitting the peak of its Omicron wave.
"The question is, well what's going to happen when schools do go back? What will happen when we come into the colder months of the year?" managing director Michael Azrak told AAP.
NSW on Thursday reported 29 virus-related deaths and 17,316 cases, while Victoria recorded 13,755 new COVID-19 cases and 15 more deaths.
There were another 15 deaths and 11,600 cases in Queensland, while South Australia recorded 13 more deaths and 1953 cases
The ACT racked up 884 new infections, Tasmania 726 and the Northern Territory 626.
- With AAP
WA extends face mask rule as cases grow.
More West Australians will be required to wear face masks as Omicron infections rise and the state prepares to soften its hard border rules.
WA has recorded 85 new local COVID-19 cases over the past five days as clusters emerge throughout Perth and the state's south.
Ten new local cases were reported on Thursday but just 5635 tests had been carried out on the Australia Day public holiday.
From 6pm on Thursday, people in the Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions will be required to wear masks at all indoor public settings.
The face coverings are already mandatory in Perth, Peel and the South West.
Slowing the spread of Omicron, by updating our transition plan and rapidly driving up our third dose vaccination rate, will save scores of lives and give us the best chance to minimise the number of people hospitalised and on a ventilator.— Mark McGowan (@MarkMcGowanMP) January 27, 2022
The spike in cases threatens to render WA's indefinite border closures redundant, with the premier conceding the state has no chance of eliminating its Omicron wave as it did previous outbreaks.
A broadening of exemptions for entering WA will come into effect from February 5, the date which had previously been flagged for removing border controls.
The list includes people with direct family connections in WA and locals returning from visiting relatives in the eastern states.
Other people who have lived in WA within the past two years will be allowed back if they permanently relocate, as will some students and skilled workers.
- With AAP
Ash Barty makes Australian Open history.
Ash Barty says she's living out a childhood dream after sweeping past Madison Keys in straight sets to become the first home hope to reach the Australian Open women's singles final in 42 years.
The world No.1 and dual grand slam champion crushed Keys 6-1 6-3 on Thursday night to bury the demons of her shattering 2020 semi-final defeat to fellow American Sofia Kenin.
The first Australian to make the women's Open title match since Wendy Turnbull in 1980, Barty delivered another serving masterclass on Rod Laver Arena to see off Keys in just 62 minutes.
The 25-year-old's last hurdle in her quest to become the first local Open singles champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978 will be resurgent American world No.30 Danielle Collins on Saturday night.
Dylan Alcott, our newly crowned Australian of the Year, lost his last tennis match before retirement, going down in the Australian Open quad final 7-5, 6-0 to Sam Schroder.
Not my day today - but can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for every single one of you for changing my life.— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) January 27, 2022
I’m so proud of what we have achieved together. Thank you for making me feel worthy. I’m the luckiest guy in the world #ausopen pic.twitter.com/27FJOX00KW
He teared up in his after-match press conference over a message from Andy Murray that read, "I don't know if I've articulated that well but you're an absolute rockstar and an inspiration. Thanks for everything that you've done."
"That kills me, that makes me cry, it's special, you're part of it, you're just part of it ... It's so nice," an emotional Dylan told the room.
Reef protection gets another $1 billion.
The Morrison government is spending another $1 billion to protect the Great Barrier Reef after successfully lobbying UNESCO to delay a decision about listing the World Heritage site as "in danger".
Of the funding over nine years, $579.9 million will go towards working with land managers to remediate erosion, improve land condition and reduce nutrient and pesticide runoff.
A further $252.9 million will support the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's efforts to reduce threats from the crown of thorns starfish and prevent illegal fishing.
As well, $92.7 million is slated for research to make the reef more resilient and to boost adaptation strategies.
$1 billion to be pumped into saving Great Barrier Reef environment and jobs https://t.co/fqtpo62BWr— ABC News (@abcnews) January 27, 2022
"We are backing the health of the reef and the economic future of tourism operators, hospitality providers and Queensland communities that are at the heart of the reef economy," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Traditional owners and community groups will get $74.4 million for a range of projects dealing with species protection, habitat restoration, citizen science and marine debris.
Mr Morrison's government last year lobbied UNESCO to delay a decision about listing the reef as "in danger" until 2023.
- With AAP
Feature image: Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Don Arnold/WireImage.