Morning mail: historic Olympic medal haul, YouTube bans Sky News, fires in Europe

Aug 2, 2021

Monday: Super Sunday’s four gold medals was the most successful day ever for the Australian Olympic team. Plus: tourists evacuated from beaches
by BermetTalant

Last modified on Sun 1 Aug 2021 17.11 EDT

Good morning. Australia has had the most successful day in its Olympic history, winning four gold medals on Sunday. The NSW premier says high vaccination is the key to reopening, urging people to get the jab. And YouTube has banned Sky News Australia’s channel from uploading content for seven days over Covid misinformation.

In Tokyo, Australia took four gold medals on Sunday a record for the country in a single day. It overtook the Russians and moved into the fourth place on the medal table. Logan Martin won the first-ever gold medal in BMX freestyle, a sport that made its Olympic debut this year. Sailor Matt Wearn won the laser class. In the pool, Emma McKeon has become the most successful Australian Olympian at a single games. On Sunday, she added individual and relay gold medals to the nation’s tally, winning the women’s 50m freestyle and the women’s 4x100m medley relay, alongside Kaylee McKeown, Chelsea Hodges and Cate Campbell.


The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state plans to break vaccination records this month in an effort to control Covid, as 239 new cases were recorded on Sunday. “I am an optimist, it is a month for all of us to come forward and get the vaccine,” she said. NSW is aiming to have 80% of the state vaccinated, but Berejiklian said even having 60% of eligible adults vaccinated “gives you a whole lot more options”. “That is not a way to live, which is why we have been saying in NSW we would like this to be our last lockdown, so long as people get vaccinated.”

Sky News Australia has been banned from YouTube for seven days for spreading Covid misinformation. YouTube has not disclosed which Sky News program prompted the ban, but said the channel posted numerous videos which denied the existence of Covid-19 or encouraged people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin. Sky News Australia said it “expressly rejects” claims that any hosts ever denied the existence of Covid-19 and that “no such videos were ever published or removed”.


Federal environmental department officials asked the federal infrastructure department to justify the use of heritage-listed land as the main offset for the western Sydney airport. Documents obtained by Guardian Australia show officials noted the Defence Establishment Orchard Hills site already had protections and other environmental management that meant the risk it could be lost in future was “close to zero”.

The Coalition government will spend nearly $20,000 to send former prime minister Tony Abbott on a five-day trade mission to India this month. The Australian trade minister, Dan Tehan, had earlier announced the government would “partly support” Abbott’s travel to India in early August “to progress our significant economic and trade relationship”.

Former NSW MP Michael Johnsen will not be charged after he was accused under parliamentary privilege of raping a sex worker. “Following recommendations by the DPP, there was insufficient admissible evidence to proceed with charges,” NSW police said in a statement.

Three members of Australia’s Bali Nine, who have served 16 years behind bars, should be forgiven and allowed to walk free one day, prison and justice ministry officials say. The three, who are jailed in Bali, are serving life sentences for their role in an ill-fated heroin-smuggling plot and unless they can win a reprieve from Indonesia’s president, will never be freed.

The world

Wildfires have burned across Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey

Wildfires have burned across Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey amid one of the most severe heatwaves in decades, with temperatures rising above 40C. In Turkey, holidaymakers have been evacuated from beaches by rescue boats after wildfires threatened hotels in several resort towns. At least six people have died and more than 500 needed hospital treatment in Turkey’s Mediterranean towns from fires that have raged across the country since Wednesday.

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has called on the International Olympic Committee to intervene, claiming she was dropped from the national team and taken, against her wishes, to Tokyo airport after she openly criticised the national team’s coaches. Tsimanouskaya said she has sought the protection of Tokyo police and did not plan to return to her country.

Six months after seizing power, Myanmar’s military leader has declared himself prime minister, and said he will lead the country under the nation’s state of emergency until elections that are promised to be held in 2023.

The Taliban escalated its nationwide offensive in Afghanistan on Sunday, renewing assaults on three major cities and rocketing a major airport in Kandahar amid warnings that the conflict was rapidly worsening. Afghan forces have been deployed to the western city of Herat and Lashkar Gah in south.

Recommended reads

Australia needs a Covid plan B that gives more freedom to the vaccinated, Liz Hicks and Greg Dore write. “Delta has altered the viability of Australia’s current strategy. Continuing a one-size-fits-all approach to risk that does not differentiate its restrictions on rights according to vaccination status will inflict more pain on the Australian community than necessary to control the current outbreak. Australia needs a plan B … Individuals should have freedoms restored to them once they are fully vaccinated – including the ability for vaccinated citizens and residents to leave Australia without an exemption, and on return home quarantine without being counted toward the caps.”

Growing up Arab in south-east Queensland, it was hard for Sara El Sayed to find her community. Muddy People, the debut memoir by the Egyptian-born Muslim writer, isn’t the quintessential story of migrant Otherness, Sara Ayoub writes. Instead, it’s a reflection of moving between the lines that are drawn for us – as children, as girls, as migrants – as we come of age. And for El Sayed, those lines were drawn by family members whose logic was driven by love and tradition, a logic that was more often than not, “muddy”.

Courtesy of the Reuters Markets