The Loop: COVID reinfections, ‘explosive’ California wildfires, and a massive price for Muhammad Ali’s belt

Hi there, it’s Monday, July 25. Here’s what you need to get going today.

One thing to know right now

It’s been revealed prosecutors dropped a major child abuse case against the former headmaster of a Brisbane private boys’ school — who abused a child years later. Here’s more from the ABC’s Rory Callinan:

  • The ABC uncovered the 2004 decision as part of an investigation into the activities of former St Joseph’s Nudgee College principal, Stephen David McLaughlin
Former Nudgee principal Stephen Mclaughlin.
Christian Brother Stephen McLaughlin was also the principal of Nudgee College.
  • The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions says it dropped the child abuse case deeming there was little chance of a conviction
  • The former Christian Brother was also alleged to have been associating with Dennis Norman Douglas, a Nudgee “old boy” who was a self-confessed child abuser in the 1990s 
  • McLaughlin was convicted earlier this year of abusing a child he’d been babysitting in 2015. His lawyers say he denies the offences and they have flagged an appeal
  • The Christian Brothers have announced an investigation into the allegation

Read the full story here.

One thing you’ll be hearing more about: COVID reinfections 

If it’s not you, then you probably know someone who’s faced their third (or more) fight with the virus. So what do we know about it?

  • While Omicron appears to be causing more reinfections than other variants, there isn’t enough substantial data to make conclusions about the severity of reinfection
  • States hardest hit by COVID-19, such as New South Wales and Victoria, have rough figures detailing reinfections in the tens of thousands
  • But states including Queensland aren’t tracking reinfections at all
  • Lyndall Heather, a nurse from Darwin, has long COVID symptoms and has had the virus three times in two years. She says there’s “a very real chance that I could get it again”
A woman in a green top sitting in her living room
Lyndall Heather contracted COVID for a third time in May.(ABC News: Hamish Harty)
  • And a COVID inquest is starting today — it’s looking into the deaths of 19 aged care residents during an outbreak at Sydney’s Newmarch House

News while you snoozed

Let’s get you up to speed.

  • More than 6,000 people have been ordered to evacuate as a fast-moving fire near Yosemite National Park in California continues to spread. The state’s Governor has called a state of emergency for the county — and CalFire says the “explosive fire behaviour” is challenging firefighters. The Oak Fire is now one of California’s largest wildfires of the year
A firefighter extinguishes flames in a paddock
More than 2,000 structures are under threat from the fire.(AP: Noah Berger)
  • The New South Wales parliament could be recalled for an urgent sitting this week, over the government’s failure to produce documents regarding John Barilaro’s appointment to a plum New York trade job (which he’s since withdrawn from). Premier Dominic Perrottet has acknowledged delays in getting documents to a parliamentary committee, but he insists more will be handed over

The news Australia is searching for

  • Jonas Vingegaard: He’s now the first Dane to win the Tour de France in more than 20 years. It wasn’t such a good day for Australian Caleb Ewan, who missed out on the final sprint to the Champs-Elysees, coming in eighth spot


  • North Queensland Cowboys: That’s the NRL side’s controversial win against Wests Tigers. Behind by a point, the Cowboys asked for a review with one second remaining, claiming winger Kyle Feldt was impeded. They got it — and kicked for a 27-26 win
A group of Rugby players in orange and black kits look on with anguish from sideline of packed stadium
Wests Tigers players are deflated as a late penalty goal sees North Queensland snatch victory at fulltime.  (AAP: Scott Radford-Chisholm )

One more thing: A *massive* price for Ali’s historic belt

It’s undoubtedly one of boxing’s most memorable moments — when Muhammad Ali took out the fearsome George Foreman to win the heavyweight title.

Now the “Rumble in the Jungle” championship belt has been sold for a huge ($US6.18 million) $8.9 million.

The proud owner? Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts owner:


The auction company’s director Chris Ivy said: 

Maybe, but we’re betting no blows were landed.

That’s it for now

We’ll be back later on with more.


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