State of Origin NRL Suncorp

Thousands of State of Origin tickets back on sale due to Sydney lockout

Some good news for those who missed out on tickets to this Sunday’s State of Origin showdown in Brisbane.

Due to Queensland’s new border restrictions, thousands of Sydneysiders who were planning on travelling to the sunshine state for Game Two can no longer do so.

As a result, thousands of tickets are now up for grabs for the previously sold out clash and are expected to be snapped up by footy fans today.

Refunds are being issued to those in NSW who purchased tickets and can now no longer make it.

More than 2500 tickets will be available for purchase on the Ticketek website this afternoon.

The NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons will do battle in Game Two at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

Antivirus founder John McAfee found dead

US technology entrepreneur John McAfee has hanged himself in his prison cell after the Spanish high court authorised his extradition to the United States on tax evasion charges, his lawyer says.

Known for his eccentric behaviour, McAfee, 75, was a pioneer of anti-virus software, introducing his eponymous program in the 1980s. He had been indicted in Tennessee on tax evasion charges. He also was charged in a cryptocurrency fraud case in New York.

McAfee was arrested in Barcelona airport then jailed there in October. Prison authorities were investigating the cause of death.

Spain’s high court agreed to extradite McAfee to the US, a court document released on Wednesday said. The provincial justice department confirmed that a US man aged 75 was found dead in his cell on Wednesday.

McAfee still had opportunities to appeal his conviction but could not stand more time in jail, the lawyer Javier Villalba said.

“This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long,” Villalba said.

During a court hearing last month, McAfee said that given his age, he would spend the rest of his life in jail if he were to be convicted in the US.

“I am hoping that the Spanish court will see the injustice of this,” he said, adding “the United States wants to use me as an example”.

McAfee, who sold his software company to Intel in 2011 and no longer had any involvement in the business, lived a colourful life.

He said in 2019 that he had not paid US income taxes for eight years for ideological reasons. That year, he left the US to avoid trial, largely living on a mega-yacht with his wife, four large dogs, two security guards and seven staff.

He offered to help Cuba avoid a US trade embargo using cryptocurrency and sought to run for US president for the Libertarian Party.

McAfee, who said in 2018 that he had fathered at least 47 children, lived in Belize for several years. He fled after police sought him for questioning in the 2012 murder of a neighbour. He had one million followers on Twitter.

He met his wife, Janice McAfee, when she solicited him as a prostitute while he was on the run, he said.

Janice McAfee said in a post on Twitter on Sunday, “Now the US authorities are determined to have John die in prison to make an example of him for speaking out against the corruption within their government agencies.There is no hope of him ever having a fair trial in America.”

In December 2019, John McAfee tweeted: “Getting subtle messages from US officials saying, in effect: ‘We’re coming for you McAfee! We’re going to kill yourself’. I got a tattoo today just in case. If I suicide myself, I didn’t. I was whackd. [sic] Check my right arm.”

© RAW 2021

Sydney restrictions likely to be extended

COVID-19 restrictions in Sydney will likely be extended as an outbreak in the city reaches a “critical phase”.

Two new locally transmitted cases have been recorded in NSW, taking Sydney’s eastern suburbs COVID cluster to 11.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says it’s an “optimistic sign” the pair are both close contacts of previously reported cases and tested positive while in isolation.

The woman in her 50s from Sydney’s north and the man in his 30s from the eastern suburbs were both diagnosed after the 8pm cut off and will be included in Tuesday’s numbers.

Another two cases, announced on Sunday morning, were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday and have been included in Monday’s figures.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says authorities are very concerned by the extremely contagious nature of this Delta strain.

“In some instances, the exchanges have been scaringly fleeting,” she told reporters on Monday.

“People not even physically touching each other but literally fleetingly coming into the same airspace has seen the virus transferred from one person to another.”

Dr Chant says the new infections are a positive sign contact tracing and isolation is working, but says NSW isn’t out of the woods.

“From one person alone we’ve had four or five cases … even if they infect one or two each, you can see how it grows exponentially.”

“That’s why this is such a critical phase.

“We need to find all the cases, and make sure we identify the close contacts and casual contacts.”

NSW Health said in a statement that people in the eastern suburbs who don’t have symptoms and have not been at exposure venues at the listed times don’t need to isolate.

However they are encouraged to avoid gatherings, minimise their movements, and work from home if possible.

The growing cluster has also prompted the government to mandate mask-wearing in seven local council areas.

Anyone shopping, working in hospitality or indoors must wear a mask unless eating or drinking if they live in the local government areas of Randwick, Bayside, Botany Bay, Inner West, City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra.

Masks are also compulsory on public transport in Greater Sydney, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas until Thursday.

Greater Sydney and Blue Mountains residents have been told to avoid non-essential visits to aged care and disability facilities and if visiting must wear a mask with a limit of two visitors a day.

Ms Berejiklian said restrictions would likely be extended and called for more people to get tested.

She also appealed for more Pfizer vaccine doses at a national cabinet meeting on Monday.

“The current outbreak we’re experiencing demonstrates the risk is always there, the threats are always there, no matter how good your systems are,” Ms Berejiklian told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday morning.

“Other states have received a top-up, and I just want to make sure we get our fair share, especially given the vast majority of Aussies coming back home are coming through Sydney Airport.”

She later told reporters she had been assured the doses would be distributed to states according to their population.

The latest outbreak was sparked last week when an unvaccinated limousine driver, who transported overseas aircrew to and from the airport, tested positive after visiting multiple venues, including the popular Bondi Junction shopping centre.

Hundreds of people are isolating after scores of close contact exposure sites were identified across more than a dozen suburbs.

© AAP 2021

Eastern Brown Snake

Woman hospitalised after being bitten by snake on Gold Coast

A woman has been taken to hospital after being bitten by a snake at a home on the Gold Coast.

The woman, whose age is not known, was bitten by the slithering serpent at a house in Gaven just before 10.00pm on Sunday.

She was treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

A Queensland Ambulance spokesperson said the woman was transported in a stable condition.

It was not immediately known what type of snake was involved in the incident.

Man, woman arrested after crashing stolen car into fence

A man and woman are in custody after a stolen car crashed and rolled in Robina.

A person of interest to Police was spotted in a white Mercedes on Monaco St in Broadbeach Waters just before 2pm.

The vehicle was tracked by Police with officers alleging the car was being driven dangerously.

A short time later the car lost control on Thorngate Drive at Robina, taking out a street sign and tree before crashing into a fence at the front of a home with the Mercedes ending up on its roof.

A man and woman were arrested at the scene and are assisting Police with inquiries.