John Doyle to Direct Workshop of B’way-Bound August Rush Musical

first_imgJohn Doyle Tony winner John Doyle will direct an industry workshop of August Rush, a Broadway-bound musical adaptation of the 2007 film. As previously reported, the tuner features a book and lyrics by Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark’s Glen Berger and a score by Grammy winner Mark Mancina, who also composed the movie’s music. The cast of the closed-door workshop will include Tony nominees Terrence Mann and Isabel Keating, as well as Alexander Gemignani. It is set to take place on December 9 and 10.August Rush follows a musically gifted orphan who runs away from his New York foster home in search of his birth parents. On his journey, he’s taken under the wing of a street maestro named Wizard (a role created on film by Robin Williams), who discovers his musical genius, names him “August Rush,” and devises a plan to profit from his talent. All the while, unbeknownst to August, his parents are searching for him too. The film includes the Oscar-nominated song “Raise It Up” by Mancina.In addition to Mann, Keating and Gemignani, the cast of the December workshop will include Ethan Kusidman, Joe Carroll, Sydney Shepherd, Mark Jacoby, Deandre Sevon, Will Connolly, Grace Capeless, Lisa Helmi Johanson, Brandon Ellie, Lulu Fall, Nkrumah Gatling, Nathan Koci, Shaina Taub and Elisa Winter. View Commentslast_img read more

King Kong Musical Taps Jason Robert Brown & Marsha Norman

first_img View Comments has confirmed that the duo that brought you The Bridges of Madison County has been enlisted for mega-musical monster thriller King Kong! Tony winners Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman have boarded the long-in-the-works production, which made its world premiere in Melbourne, Australia in June 2013. The show is being revamped before it lands on the Great White Way.Brown will work on the score along with the original composer of the project, Marius de Vries. Pulitzer winner Norman will pen both the book and lyrics, replacing Craig Lucas. Meanwhile, after a flirtation with Tony winner John Rando, Eric Schaeffer (Follies, Gigi) has been brought in to direct. Daniel Kramer was at the helm for the Australian incarnation.No word yet on when King Kong will stomp on Broadway, but a developmental reading will take place next month in the Big Apple.Set against the backdrop of bustling New York City in the 1930s, the show tells the story of the infamous ape and his encounter with aspiring actress Ann Darrow, megalomaniac filmmaker Carl Denham, stubborn first mate Jack Driscoll and the people of NYC.The show’s score previously consisted of revamped 1930s Broadway songs as well as new and existing numbers from artists like Sarah McLachlan, Robert Del Naja, Justice, Guy Garvey and The Avalanches. last_img read more

Better beaches

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaJekyll and Tybee Island beach-goers are willing to pay more topark at the beach if it means the beaches will be wider andsandier at high tide.”Erosion is a major concern involved in managing coastal lands,”said Warren Kriesel, an agricultural economist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences. To find out whether Georgia beach-goers would be willing to helppay to control shoreline erosion, Kriesel and his colleaguessurveyed tourists on Georgia’s Jekyll and Tybee Islands. Theyused funds from a Georgia Sea Grant.No beach at high tide”In developed areas, 55 percent of Georgia’s shoreline has beenarmored with concrete seawalls or large boulders in an effort tocontrol erosion,” Kriesel said. “Armoring degrades a beach’srecreation and natural habitat, because it disrupts the flow ofsand.”Preventing property losses with seawalls on developed coastlinesoften results in the beach disappearing at high tide.Kriesel said officials charged with managing the state’s publicbeaches typically use two strategies: artificially renourish thebeach by bringing in sand, or let nature take its course.”Poor-quality beaches can drive tourists away,” he said. “Wide,sandy beaches are vital to tourism in coastal communities. Andthe tourism industry is an important part of these localeconomies.”Georgia islands focus of studyJekyll Island, 8 miles from Brunswick, Ga., is about 5,000 acresof state-owned land. It’s managed by the Jekyll Island Authority.State law prohibits more than 35 percent of the island beingdeveloped.Tybee Island is 18 miles south of Savannah, Ga. and is visitedmore than Jekyll. Most of Tybee’s property is privately owned anddeveloped in single-family residences and condominiums.”Jekyll’s erosion has historically been controlled by seawalls,which were built following an extensive hurricane in 1964,”Kriesel said.”Tybee’s erosion was first managed with a seawall,” he said.”Then beach nourishments programs were done in conjunction withthe dredging of the Savannah River waterway. Every 10 years orso, there’s a nourishment program.”Beach-goers on each island were surveyed during spring, summerand fall. On each island, the people surveyed were shown a map ofthe island’s current conditions and a map of the island withimprovements resulting from erosion-control tactics.Pick one: As is, or betterThey were asked if they preferred the status quo with theexisting parking fee or the improved beach conditions with ahigher parking fee. “We also asked whether the increased parkingfee would affect the number of times they visit the beach,”Kriesel said.More than 1,000 usable surveys were collected on each island. The UGA study revealed that 71 percent of the beach-goerssurveyed on both islands would be willing to pay higher parkingfees to generate funds for shoreline erosion control.The UGA researchers estimated the cost of erosion control basedon the 1990 nourishment project on Sea Island, Ga., 8 miles northof Jekyll Island.”The nourishment on Sea Island initially cost $7.5 million for 2miles, with annual maintenance costs of $125,000,” he said. “Weassume these projects last about 10 years before the eroded sandis replenished by another project. We also adjusted our costestimation for inflation.”Kriesel estimated the cost of a beach nourishment program for the2.9 miles of Jekyll Island to be about $27.4 million. The cost ofbeach nourishment on Tybee Island’s 2 miles of eroded shore wouldbe about $18.9 million, he said.The respondents placed high value, too, on better qualitybeaches.”This value is significantly larger than the estimated cost ofachieving improved beach quality,” Kriesel said. “Thebenefit/cost ratio is at least 4:3. We hope local governmentswill use these results to plan preservation of Georgia’s coastalenvironment. Investing in better beaches is an economicallyattractive use of resources on the Georgia coast.”last_img read more

Stay Wild Chattooga: Celebrate the South’s Wildest River on May 11

first_img On Friday May 11th please join the Chattooga Conservancy at The Block off Biltmore in Asheville for STAY WILD Chattooga, a celebration and fundraiser.  There will be a guest speaker, live music, food and a silent auction.  Non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks will be available at the bar.  The event is from 6:30PM to 9PM.  Tickets are $25 and should be purchased in advance at www.chattoogariver.orgSTAY WILD Chattooga is to celebrate the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act’s 50th anniversary, and Wild & Scenic Chattooga River, whose headwaters start in Jackson and Macon County in western North Carolina.The speaker will be Janisse Ray, author and poet from south Georgia.  Her most notable work, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, has won many awards.  Ray has been inducted into the Georgia Writer’s Hall of Fame and was voted one of the top 25 female environmental writers by Outside Magazine.Music will be by Marshall Ballew, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from the mountains of western North Carolina.  Marshall performs a variety of American musical genres including gospel, jazz, bluegrass, folk and the blues.Silent auction items will feature pastel painting, mosaic, metal art, jewelry, Patagonia clothing and more!The event venue is The Block off Biltmore, Asheville’s first and only vegan, social justice bar and community event space, that is housed in the YMI building, one of the oldest African-American cultural centers in the country.Wadadli Dessert Oasis is the food caterer for the event, featuring vegan interpretations of savory Caribbean dishes and specially crafted modern recipes.For a great time for a great cause, please come and join the Chattooga Conservancy on Friday, May 11th at The Block off Biltmore.  Tickets are $25 and should be purchased in advance at  Proceeds will benefit the Chattooga Conservancy’s work to protect the magnificent Chattooga River watershed.last_img read more

Colombia to Invite HRW to Debate on Military Jurisdiction

first_imgBy Dialogo January 27, 2012 Colombia will invite the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) to participate in the debate over an administration initiative to expand the scope of military justice in the country, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón announced on January 25. “In no way will the actions that we’ve taken allow or encourage impunity of any kind, and that’s something that should be made supremely clear,” Pinzón stated. The minister added that HRW will be invited to participate in the discussions of an independent commission, together with other non-governmental organizations, foreign governments, and experts with varied points of view. The initiative arose after José Miguel Vivanco, HRW’s director for the Americas, said in Washington that he was concerned that the Colombian administration’s initiative could favor impunity. “We don’t understand the current administration’s enthusiasm for taking a perfectly avoidable step backward on a subject that is central for the effectiveness of human rights in Colombia,” said Vivanco, who urged the Colombian administration to withdraw the proposal, part of a package of judicial reforms being studied by Congress. Nevertheless, Pinzón avowed that “human rights are a priority of this administration, of the Defense Ministry,” after reaffirming the commitment of Government forces to confronting illegal armed groups. The minister also insisted that the commission to be set up is independent and explained that it should make recommendations to the country “in order to really make progress on those concerns” about the legal security of members of the Armed Forces. Despite the criticism from HRW, Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra also stated on January 24 that the administration is not going to withdraw the initiative. Colombia has been suffering a bloody armed conflict for nearly half a century due to the fight against the state by leftist guerrilla groups, the activities of extreme right-wing armed groups, and the violence of drug-trafficking mafias, for which reason Military personnel are asking for greater legal security in order to act.last_img read more

Riverhead Man Convicted of Murdering Woman

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Riverhead man has been convicted of raping and killing a 29-year-old woman he met in a bar on Cinco de Mayo two years ago.A Suffolk County jury found Guillermo Alfonso Alvarado-Ajcuc guilty Friday of two counts of second-degree murder—one for intentionally killing the victim, the other for killing her while committing a felony.Prosecutors said the 23-year-old landscaper from Guatemala fatally strangled Mirian Yohana Garcia and left her nude body in a wooded area near the bar on Old Country Road in Flanders in May 2012.Alvarado-Ajcuc faces up to 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced July 9.last_img

Political Veteran Rick Montano Roils Islip Democrats With Primary Fight

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Former Suffolk County Legis. Rick Montano is returning to politics with a vengeance, vowing to make a comeback by running for Islip Town supervisor in a Democratic primary with a slate of town and county candidates that he helped organize—in opposition to the Islip Town Democratic Committee’s picks.“This is war!” Montano tells the Press. “We have a lot of issues.”The outcome of this hotly contested race could send ripples through the Democratic Party on Long Island and beyond because it threatens the control of its traditional leadership.Last Thursday, Montano, a Brentwood attorney and a former Suffolk County Human Rights Commission executive director, reportedly filed more than 2,900 signatures—he only needed 2,000 to qualify—at the Suffolk Board of Elections in Yaphank to get his name on the ballot for the Sept. 10 Democratic primary election. Joining him are Islip town board candidates Miriam Ventura of Central Islip and Donovan Currey of Brentwood; Jorge C. Guadron of Central Islip for town clerk; Nitza Franco of Brentwood for receiver of taxes; and Giovanni Mata of Central Islip, who will challenge Legis. Monica R. Martinez (D-Brentwood).Martinez beat Montano decisively two years ago in the primary, getting 1,329 votes to his 759 votes, and then went on to unseat him in the general election.The Islip Democratic Committee submitted 3,000 signatures for its candidates, which includes Thomas Licari of Kismet for supervisor; and Joseph McDermott, mayor of Brightwaters, and Christopher Pulitano of Holbrook for town board.“We have a fully integrated ticket,” Montano insisted, referring to the candidates from the Islip Democratic Committee as “three white males south of Montauk” Highway.“We know they made a deal with Angie Carpenter to give her no real opposition,” he said, referring to the current Islip Town supervisor, a Republican. “We want to dispose of these non-candidates and run a real race.”“Our slate is better,” countered Suffolk Democratic Chairman Rich Schaffer. “It’s representative of all the communities of the town.”To Schaffer, Montano’s motivation is clearly personal.“He’s still burned up about his loss in the primary two years ago when he only got 700 votes, which was an embarrassment for a 10-year incumbent.”Asked if he expected a hard-fought and ugly primary battle, the county chairman responded this way: “Based on Montano’s track record on how hard he works? No… Will it be ugly? Yes, it will be ugly because that’s his standard operating procedure.“I’ve had a lot of experience with him, and he always tends to focus on the negative,” Schaffer continued. “That’s all he knows. So I expect it to be an ugly campaign, but at the end of the day our ticket will prevail.”Schaffer speculated that Montano has “spent a lot of time working with the local Islip Republicans, and he’s had a close relationship with the party leaders over there…This just helps them, which is what Montano wants. This isn’t about doing anything in a positive fashion; it’s about doing something in a negative fashion.”Suffolk Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle thought Schaffer’s assertion about Montano was “completely outlandish! He’s not doing the Republicans’ work at all. He’s upset with the Democrat Party. We’ve had no contact with Rick Montano.”Nor did he believe the claim that Islip Town Republican Chairman Frank Tantone and his party have had close contact with Montano.“That’s bizarre!” exclaimed LaValle. “In fact, they worked very hard against Rick Montano in his effort to try to run for state Senate.”As for the Democratic county chairman’s claim that Montano is simply running to bolster Supervisor Carpenter’s election chances in November, LaValle scoffed, criticizing the Democratic candidacy of Thomas Licari, a Fire Island resident who has never run for office before.“The candidate they put up is certainly a lot weaker candidate than Rick Montano,” LaValle said. “So, I don’t know if it’s going to help or hurt Angie Carpenter, but she’s going to be elected on her own merits, regardless of who the Islip Democrat party puts up against her. I think the chairman’s trying to cover up cracks in the foundation of the Democrat Party.”Reached on vacation after a round on the driving range, Islip Town Republican Chairman Frank Tantone was amused by the opposing Democrats’ sniping.“It sounds humorous that each side accused the other side of being in cahoots with me!” Tantone told the Press. “It’s also nonsense because we don’t make those kinds of deals… I can assure you that we have no arrangement with either side. It’s not our style.”On behalf of Carpenter, Tantone added: “We’re confident that we can win against either candidate.”But the Islip GOP leader did say that there would not be a Republican candidate running against Martinez for her legislative seat. He said the GOP had several candidates in mind but none could pull it off in time for the petition filings deadline last Thursday.“That’s a tough district for a Republican,” Tantone admitted. “It’s hard to find a candidate; it’s hard to win.”Taking another swipe at Montano, Schaffer criticized how he had represented his Brentwood district while he served in the county legislature.“When he was the legislator, it was unrepresented!” Schaffer said with a laugh. “That’s why he got 700 votes… She’s done more work in a year and a half than he did in all of his time…as a county legislator.”Schaffer expects Martinez to handily win her re-election. “Absolutely!” he said.Last year, Brentwood was rocked by a toxic dumping scandal that involved Roberto Clemente Park and three other sites in Islip Town after authorities discovered carcinogenic chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, arsenic and asbestos in the estimated 50,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris. In December, six men and four companies were indicted by the Suffolk County district attorney, but all have pleaded not guilty. This week, the county Department of Health released a report based on samples from its monitoring wells near the park that showed “unusual and unexpected” levels of pesticides in the groundwater. The drilling had been in response to legislation sponsored by Martinez.When the scandal initially broke, then-Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, a Republican, was serving on active duty in Afghanistan as a member of the Navy Reserve. He returned to town hall with more than a year left as supervisor but instead ran for the state Senate seat vacated by Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who was challenging longtime Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) for the second time. In one of the most expensive Congressional races in the country, Zeldin defeated the incumbent.Meanwhile, Democrats had pinned their hopes in the state Senate race on Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment. Before Croci entered the race, Esposito was facing Islip Councilman Anthony Senft, a member of the Conservative Party, whom she dubbed “Toxic Tony” for his alleged ties to the dumping scandal since he served as the town board’s liaison to the parks department and it occurred on his watch. Confronting the more moderate Croci, Esposito had no ammo and lost soundly.With Croci going to Albany, the Islip Republicans decided to make a spot for Angie Carpenter, the Suffolk County treasurer who was slated to be out of a job in 2018 since a ballot proposition supported by County Executive Steve Bellone to merge the offices of the county treasure and comptroller had passed in November. At the beginning of 2015, she retired as treasurer and took up the post as town supervisor.Besides the aftermath of the illegal dumping debacle, which had led to Roberto Clemente Park being padlocked all this summer and last, Islip has to deal with the $11.3 million deficit dragging down Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, a town-owned property that has had its own history of scandal and corruption.With a touch of hubris and self-deprecating humor, Montano, a former federal prosecutor and an assistant New York State attorney general, exclaimed, “Let’s be honest. I’m the most qualified candidate there is!”Admitting that he has a thorny reputation in some circles (a Newsday editorial reportedly once dubbed him “Bellone’s nemesis in the legislature”), Montano observes that one of the guys on the town party committee’s slate is “a likeable guy. He does closings. I’m a trial attorney. If I was a real estate attorney, I’d be a nice guy, too!”Montano, 65, had heard that the opposition had been calling him, “El Viejo Lobo,” Spanish for the Old Wolf, but he takes that as a point of pride. “I say I’m still the leader of the pack!”And comparing himself to his compadres on the ticket, he boasted, “I’ve collected more signatures than the younger guys. I’ve lost 13 pounds; I look great!”In November 2012, Montano had vied for the seat left open when then-state Sen. Owen Johnson announced that he was finally retiring after four decades in office. With little Democratic Party support, Montano lost by 5 percentage points, or 5,361 votes, to Assemb. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) in this gerrymandered district that favored the Republicans. (Tellingly, in 2014, the Democratic candidate John Alberts was crushed by Boyle 63 percent to 30 percent.)Montano, who remained in the legislature, had complained that the other side had run a “dirty campaign,” with mailings targeting voters in Wyandanch that he alleged were “racist,” because they cited Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville)—without the African-American legislator’s knowledge or permission—saying that Montano was not a real Democrat because he’d supported one of Gregory’s previous opponents. Gregory’s mother in Wyandanch had gotten this mailing and showed it to her son, now the Suffolk County presiding officer, who later told the Press that he was “appalled” and angry about it. But the damage had been done.At the time, Schaffer, the Suffolk Democratic chairman, said that Boyle’s supporters had outspent Montano by half a million dollars. Couple that advantage with the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, and Montano had a deep gap he couldn’t overcome.A year later on Nov. 5, the Suffolk Democrats who were gathered at the IBEW Local 25 Hall in Hauppauge reportedly cheered when Schaffer announced that then-political newcomer Monica Martinez had defeated Montano, who had run against her on the Working Families Party line. In a bitter Democratic primary in September, Martinez, the sister of Tony Martinez, the co-chair of Bellone’s transition team in 2011, had knocked Montano off the Democratic ballot. It was the first time since he’d been elected in 2003 that Montano had faced opposition.According to news reports, the Democratic county convention that May had picked Montano unanimously but later—as a sign of things to come—the Islip Democratic executive committee backed the relative newcomer over the veteran politician, even chipping in more than $69,000 into her coffers, thanks to money from Bellone’s campaign as well as the Suffolk and Babylon Democratic committees, according to Montano.Montano complained that she was being set up against him because he’d dared to oppose Bellone—and County Executive Steve Levy before him—on issues that mattered to him in the legislature. Martinez reportedly accused him of “absentee leadership” and siding with Republicans in some cases: charges that Montano denied.Before she took office in the legislature, Martinez had to make a significant career move herself. A vice principal in Brentwood’s East Middle School when she beat Montano, she said she intended to keep both her old job and her new one, potentially earning $215,000 annually. But in December, after complaints about her “double-dipping” were percolating through the community in the aftermath of the election, the school board put her on unpaid administrative leave for two years.These days, Montano said that what he went through back then was “a political hit against Rick Montano,” and he likened it to a combination of “The Godfather” and “The Terminator.” But now he’s back.Contends Montano: “They shot. They thought I was dead. But I was only wounded.”Let the race begin. The primary is eight weeks away.last_img read more

Durbin stirs US market for mishandling rollout of EMV cards

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Sen. Dick Durbin has blasted the card network-dominated group that sets the standards for EMV cards, accusing it of mishandling the rollout of more secure credit and debit cards, lacking transparency and refusing, at the expense of retailers, to promote PIN authentication.Durbin, a longtime crusader against the major credit card companies, wrote a March letter demanding that EMVCo, the group that sets standards for the chip technology, explain its governance and decision making in light of the snags that EMV cards have run into since their introduction in 2015.He said the transition to EMV chips in cards in the US has been “plagued by problems,” such as merchants not being able to use EMV card readers because of a backlog in the software certification process and consumers facing longer wait times at retail counters.EMVCo, founded in 1999 by Visa and MasterCard, is now run by six companies: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, Japanese payment network JCB and Chinese payment network UnionPay. continue reading »last_img read more

More wolf protection is wrong for U.S.

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion In the March 18 letter to the editor, Jacqueline de Witt pleaded for [continued] federal protection of wolves to help them spread into New York. She indicated that this is needed to “perfect the ecological order.” In the western United States the reintroduction of wolves has decimated elk herds, taking hunting opportunities away from a wide variety of humans, from professional guides to lower income individuals for whom a freezer full of elk meat (or lack thereof) has a substantial economic impact. Federal protections continued long after wolf numbers far exceeded the reintroduction targets. Further spread of wolves will further decimate game animal populations.Human hunting is regulated by seasons and limits designed by wildlife biologists to maintain healthy herds. Wolves are not regulated, and unlike humans, wolves feast when new calves or fawns are born. Omitting a description of canine hunting, does anyone claim that a wolf kill is ever as humane as a well placed gun shot?Wolves avoid human contact in proportion to the threat that humans pose. Predatory attacks on people were once common in Europe and have happened sporadically in North America. “Child lifting” by wolves is still a problem in India. Protected wolves will be emboldened and risks to our rural margins will increase.I must ask Ms. de Witt: in a world with many hungry humans, is your aesthetic sense of ecological order so important that we should ignore those risks and squander a fully sustainable supply of organic, free-range protein to canine predators?NORMAN PERAZZOGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Australians told restrictions must stay even as new virus infections slow

first_imgRestrictions to remain Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week said there would no easing of Australia’s restrictions for at least four weeks, and several state premiers on Monday urged the public to keep to the social distancing rules.”We’ve all made massive sacrifices, given a lot. We can’t give back all the gains made because of sense of frustration gets the better of us,” Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.Any significant easing of the current limitations would not occur until Australia had increased testing capacity, strengthened contact tracing and readied local responses for further outbreaks, Andrews said.Central to the government’s strategy is a controversial new mobile phone app that will track users’ movements to allow contact tracing in the event of an outbreak of coronavirus.The government said it will need at least 40% of the country’s population to be signed up to make it effective.Eradication possible?Australia’s three most populated states on Monday recorded just seven new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, stoking hopes that Canberra could even eradicate the virus.While praising Australia’s efforts, experts say eradication is unlikely.”You have to look at New Zealand and Taiwan. Both have been very successful in containing the virus but there are still cases popping up,” Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital, told Reuters.”Australia hasn’t taken the same hard-line approach to New Zealand so eradication is very unlikely.”The government may ease some minor restrictions when the national Cabinet meets on Tuesday.Morrison said last week the Cabinet would consider ending a ban on elective surgeries, and the Australia’s main medical association on Monday said recent deliveries of protection equipment would mean some procedures could restart.”We’ve been so successful so far that that’s given us the opportunity now to plan a sensible, safe, graduated return into the low-risk procedures which provide clinical benefit to patients,” Tony Bartone, the head of Australian Medical Association told Channel 7. Topics : More than 150 Australian economists on Monday warned the government against easing social distancing rules aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus even as the rate of infections slowed to a multi-week low.Australia has so far avoided the high numbers of coronavirus casualties reported around the world after closing its borders and imposing restrictions on public movement.While the measures have slowed the growth in new infections to fewer than 40 new cases a day, the restrictions are expected to push unemployment to a 16-year high of about 10%.center_img Australia has now recorded 6,617 cases of coronavirus and 71 deaths since the first case in late January.With growing calls to ease the restrictions, leading Australian economists issued an open letter to call on the government to prioritize containing the spread of coronavirus.”We cannot have a functioning economy unless we first comprehensively address the public health crisis,” the group of 157 economists from Australian universities wrote.Australia’s government and central bank have said they will inject A$320 billion ($203 billion) into the country’s economy to try and cushion the economic blow.last_img read more