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Australian judge says Djokovic can stay but saga not over

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Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly reinstated Djokovic’s visa, which was revoked after his arrival last week because officials decided he didn’t meet the criteria for an exemption to an entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated.

The judge ruled the No. 1 player had not been given enough time to speak to his lawyers before that decision was made and ordered the government to release him within 30 minutes from a Melbourne quarantine hotel where he has spent the last four nights.

But government lawyer Christopher Tran told the judge that the immigration minister “will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation.”

That would mean that the nine-time Australian Open winner and defending champion could again face deportation and could miss the tournament, which starts on Jan. 17. It could also bar him from the country for three years.

The back and forth has gripped the world and caused a furor in Australia, where many initially decried the news that Djokovic, who has been a vocal skeptic of vaccines, had received an exemption to strict rules to compete in Melbourne. Many felt the star was being given special treatment since Australians who aren’t vaccinated face tough travel and quarantine restrictions. Court documents say he is unvaccinated.

But when border police then blocked him on arrival, others cried foul, saying he was being scapegoated by an Australian government facing criticism for its recent handling of the pandemic.

Speaking with television network Prva in Belgrade, Serbia, the tennis star’s brother, Djordje Djokovic, described the judge’s ruling as a “great defeat for Australian authorities.”

But he said the family was still hearing that his brother might be detained, though he gave no details.

“This is definitely politics, all this was politics,” he added.

The office of Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews confirmed that Novak Djokovic has not been arrested. It was not clear where he was, though hundreds of fans gathered late Monday outside his lawyers’ office in Melbourne, many carrying Serbian flags and wearing the banner’s red, white and blue colors. They chanted “Free Nole,” using the star’s nickname. Police later dispersed them when they surrounded a car trying to leave the area.

The 34-year-old Djokovic boarded a plane for Australia last week, after receiving an exemption from vaccination rules from Victoria state authorities and Australian Open organizers. But upon arrival, federal border officials refused to let him, saying the exemption was not valid.

The reversal, in the wake of the outcry, led some to suspect politics were at play, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative government seeking re-election for a fourth term in polls due by May.

While his government was widely praised for containing the nation’s COVID-19 death toll at the start of the pandemic, he has recently loosened some rules, just as omicron cases have been rapidly surging. He has been criticized for that strategy as well as for shortages of rapid antigen tests and for refusing to make the tests available to all for free.

Lawmaker John Alexander, a former tennis professional, said a move by the immigration minister to personally intervene would be unfair.

“The Minister’s ‘personal powers to cancel visas’ are designed to prevent criminals otherwise walking our streets, or to prevent a contagious person otherwise walking our streets; they’re not designed to assist in dealing with a potential political problem of the day,” Alexander, who is in Morrison’s conservative Liberal Party but is retiring, posted on social media.

At Monday’s court hearing, Djokovic’s lawyers argued their client did not need proof of vaccination because he had evidence that he had been infected with the coronavirus last month.

Australian medical authorities have ruled that people who have been infected with COVID-19 within six months can receive a temporary exemption to the vaccination rule.

Judge Kelly noted that Djokovic had provided officials at Melbourne’s airport with a medical exemption given him by Tennis Australia and two medical panels.

“The point I’m somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?” Kelly asked Djokovic’s lawyer, Nick Wood.

Wood agreed that his client could not have done more.

Transcripts of Djokovic’s interview with Border Force officials and his own affidavit revealed a “repeated appeal to the officers with which he was dealing that to his understanding, uncontradicted, he had done absolutely everything that he understood was required in order for him to enter Australia,” Wood said.

Djokovic’s lawyers described the cancellation as “seriously illogical.”

But lawyers for Home Affairs Minister Andrews said in their submission that the vaccination exemption could only be granted for travelers who had recovered from a serious bout of COVID-19.

“There is no suggestion that the applicant (Djokovic) had ‘acute major medical illness’ in December” when he tested positive, the written submission said.

But in the end, the government lawyers eventually conceded that the decision to proceed with interviewing Djokovic in the early hours of Thursday and cancel his visa before he could contact Tennis Australia or his lawyers was unreasonable.

Djokovic was told at 5.20 a.m. on Thursday that he had until 8.30 a.m. to respond to a notice of intention to cancel his visa. His comments were sought instead at 6.14 a.m.

The decision to cancel his visa was made just over an hour later.

Minister Andrews did not immediately responded to a request for comment. But a spokesperson for Alex Hawke, minister for immigration, citizenship, migrant services and multicultural affairs, acknowledged the court’s decision, adding the minister’s personal discretion remains in play.

“The minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing,” the spokesman said.

The virtual hearing crashed several times because of an overwhelming number of people from around the world trying to watch the proceedings.

At one point, an expired court link was apparently hacked and broadcast pornography, The New Daily News website reported.

Djokovic has 20 Grand Slam singles titles, a men’s record he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

 

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“Most indispensable day-to-day NBA star this year”

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Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant has recently been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and is out for an indefinite period. His unavailability for the foreseeable future has drawn many reactions from pundits and fans alike.

The entire dynamic of the Nets season has changed with this announcement, as things will undoubtedly get harder for them moving forward. While many would like to blame the injury on the large number of minutes he logged this season, it was purely accidental. As Bruce Brown bumped into him while trying to defend the New Orleans Pelicans’ Herbert Jones in transition midway through the second quarter.

With many expressing their disappointment with the development, the founder of The Ringer, Bill Simmons, took to Twitter to give his take on how Kevin Durant’s absence will affect the Nets and his chances at winning the MVP award.

“Such a bummer. That was a vintage KD season with a huge minutes load, now he’s out 4-8 weeks (who knows?). Most indispensable day-to-day NBA star this year other than maybe Jokic. Hard to imagine Nets staying in top-3 in East. MVP race wide-wide-wide-wide-open.”

Such a bummer. That was a vintage KD season with a huge minutes load, now he’s out 4-8 weeks (who knows?). Most indispensable day-to-day NBA star this year other than maybe Jokic. Hard to imagine Nets staying in top-3 in East. MVP race wide-wide-wide-wide-open. twitter.com/ianbegley/stat…

Although Kevin Durant has dropped from the top spot in the MVP leaderboard in the past few weeks, he still has a decent shot of winning the award despite being ranked No. 3. Unfortunately, missing an extended period of game time will not help his case.

Durant’s influence on the team in helping them win every other night is unmatched, making him one of the most indispensable stars in the league, as rightly pointed out by Simmons. Nonetheless, the Nets have a fighting chance with Kyrie Irving back in the lineup.


Can the Brooklyn Nets remain in the top three without Kevin Durant?

Brooklyn Nets v Indiana Pacers
Brooklyn Nets v Indiana Pacers

The Nets have the quality of players that can help them remain competitive in Durant’s absence. But they have not been as entirely dependable as many had hoped.

James Harden has struggled for the better part of the season but will have to step up if the team is to remain in the top three of the Eastern Conference standings. Kyrie’s return could not have been timed better, as the Nets have another superstar to help their cause.

Kyrie, although a part-time player, is allowed to play road games. This will be a significant boost for the Nets during this tough period. Luckily, 11 of their next 17 fixtures will be on the road, which means they stand a good chance of winning those games with Kyrie combining with Harden.

There has been chatter in the NBA community suggesting Kyrie could play home games if the Nets are willing to pay a small fine. Perhaps that would be an opportunity the organization would have jumped at given their current predicament. But ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has cleared the air on the subject, saying that teams have to comply with local laws.

To be clear on the hypothetical ability for a team to pay a fine for an unvaccinated player to play in a marketplace that local ordinances forbid: NBA memo to organizations on September 1 says that teams must follow local laws and players who don’t comply won’t be able to play.

Kevin Durant was having an astounding season so far, leading the league in scoring with 29.3 points per game. Sadly, a projected four-week absence will give the opportunity for players like LeBron James (28.9) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.5) to surpass him.






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LeBron James apologizes to Lakers fans: ‘I promise we’ll be better’

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Things aren’t exactly going to plan in Laker land, with the team currently sitting at 21-22 in seventh place in the Western Conference standings. 

NBA League Pass: Sign up to unlock live out-of-market games (7-day free trial)

Fresh off a 37-point loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night, — their third in a row, LeBron James, who did not address the media after the game, took to Twitter on Sunday apologizing to Laker fans, promising to “be better.”

The 37-year-old has been on a tear for the Lakers of late and for the season is averaging 28.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks on 51.9 percent shooting and 36.2 percent from the 3-point line. LeBron also leads the NBA with 19 30-point games, however, the Lakers are just 10-9 in those games.

Lakers legend Magic Johnson hit out at the team’s lack of effort following their loss to the Nuggets, imploring them to play with a “sense of urgency.”

After the game, point guard Russell Westbrook was asked about Johnson’s comments, but didn’t have much to say, telling reporters that Johnson isn’t around the team often enough to know what’s happening behind the scenes. 

MORE: Magic Johnson hits out at Lakers’ lack of effort

“I do not have a reaction,” Westbrook said. “Everybody is entitled, in this world, to their opinion. Regardless of what that it is. You can either take it and run with it or you can take it and put it in one ear and out the other or you can not respond to it.

“We just got to play hard. Sometimes the schemes and how you play doesn’t really matter. You got to just play hard sometimes. Teams are playing harder than us, simple as that.”

The Lakers season has been interrupted by injury and COVID-19 related absences, however, they are set to receive a big boost at the end of January, with big man Anthony Davis expected to return after being sidelined with an MCL sprain.

With the All-Star break on the horizon, the Lakers have plenty of work to do to make their way up the standings, after some disappointing performances against the league’s contending teams. They hold a 5-11 record against teams .500 or above, with their last win against a .500 team coming against the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 15.





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How to get incense in Pokemon GO in 2022

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A helpful item to attract Pokemon in Pokemon GO, incense functions similarly to lure modules in that it brings Pokemon to a location. But instead of a set location, incense brings these Pokemon to wherever the user is located.

Since incense is such a great tool to obtain Pokemon, especially during events or situations where Pokemon GO trainers cannot move about the way they would normally, acquiring the items is a prudent move.

The good news is there are a few different ways to earn incense. Some are simpler and more straightforward; others will take some more work. Regardless, having multiple avenues to approach allows players to pick how they’d like to receive incense.


Pokemon GO: Different ways to obtain incense

Incense as it appears on the game's store page (Image via Niantic)
Incense as it appears on the game’s store page (Image via Niantic)

The most direct method to obtaining incense in Pokemon GO will require purchasing it in the in-game shop. Doing so takes Pokecoins, which are obtained either from defending your team’s gyms, or buying them via microtransactions using real money.

Since gym defense Pokecoin gain is capped, microtransactions are more reliable. However, not all trainers are willing to spend real-world money on the game, making it a non-starter for some.

Another method to earn incense requires leveling up a player’s trainer level. At levels 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50, trainers are given free incense rewards. This can take a considerable amount of time at higher levels, but they’re worth at least being aware of as trainers climb the trainer level ladder to the top.

The final way to earn incense is by completing Special Research Tasks. These tasklines are given to players directly by Professor Willow and yield several rewards upon completion of tasks and steps such as items and Pokemon encounters. Among the items given by these tasks, players can find incense in many of the reward tables.

There are several different Special Research Tasks to keep track of, each pertaining to a certain category. These include ones following Legendary/Mythical Pokemon, those that refer to Team GO Rocket and its leaders, Community Day-specific tasklines, Pokemon GO Fest research, Safari Zone research, level-specific research, and other miscellaneous tasklines.

If players haven’t been able to get incense from other methods, completing the necessary steps of their Special Research Tasks can provide them with an incense or two to utilize in the future.

Note: The article reflects the writer’s own views.






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