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Djokovic Back in Detention, Continues to Fight Deportation

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Novak Djokovic was reported to be back in immigration detention Saturday after his legal challenge to avoid being deported from Australia for being unvaccinated for COVID-19 was moved to three judges of a higher court.

A Federal Court hearing has been scheduled for Sunday, a day before the men’s No. 1-ranked tennis player and nine-time Australian Open champion was due to begin his title defense at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year.

Police closed down a lane behind the building where Djokovic’s lawyers are based and two vehicles exited the building mid-afternoon local time on Saturday. In television footage, Djokovic could be seen wearing a face mask in the back of a vehicle near an immigration detention hotel.

The Australian Associated Press reported that Djokovic was back in detention. He spent four nights confined to a hotel near downtown Melbourne before being released last Monday when he won a court challenge on procedural grounds against his first visa cancellation.

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Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday blocked the 34-year-old Serb’s visa, which was originally revoked when he landed at a Melbourne airport on Jan. 5.

Deportation from Australia can lead to a three-year ban on returning to the country, although that may be waived, depending on the circumstances.

Djokovic has acknowledged that his travel declaration was incorrect because it failed to indicate that he had been in multiple countries over the two weeks before his arrival in Australia.

But the incorrect travel information is not why Hawke decided that deporting Djokovic was in the public interest.

His lawyers filed documents in court on Saturday that revealed Hawke had stated that “Djokovic is perceived by some as a talisman of a community of anti-vaccination sentiment.”

Australia is one of the most highly vaccinated populations in the world, with 89% of people aged 16 and older fully inoculated for COVID-19.

But the minister said that Djokovic’s presence in Australia may be a risk to the health and “good order” of the Australian public. His presence “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia,” the minister said.

The Health Department advised that Djokovic was a “low” risk of transmitting COVID-19 and a “very low” risk of transmitting the disease at the Australian Open.

The minister cited comments Djokovic made in April 2020, before a COVID-19 vaccine was available, that he was “opposed to vaccination.”

Djokovic had “previously stated he wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine” to compete in tournaments.

The evidence “makes it clear that he has publicly expressed anti-vaccination sentiment,” the minister wrote in his reasons for canceling Djokovic’s visa.

Djokovic’s lawyers argue that the minister had cited no evidence that Djokovic’s presence in Australia may “foster anti-vaccination sentiment.”

Djokovic will be allowed out of hotel detention on Sunday to visit his lawyers’ offices for the video court hearing.

On Saturday, Federal Chief Justice James Allsop announced that he would hear the case with Justices David O’Callaghan and Anthony Besanko.

The decision for three judges to hear the appeal instead of a single judge elevates the importance of the case from the judiciary’s perspective and potentially gives Djokovic an advantage.

The trio are regarded as experienced judges who are more likely to find a government minister at fault than their more junior colleagues.

O’Callaghan had earlier suggested a full bench hear the case. A full bench is three or five judges.

A full bench means any verdict would be less likely to be appealed. The only avenue of appeal would be the High Court and there would be no guarantee that that court would even agree to hear such an appeal.

Djokovic’s lawyer Paul Holdenson opted for a full bench while Hawke’s lawyer Stephen Lloyd preferred a single judge.

“There’s nothing special about the grounds,” Lloyd argued, referring to Djokovic’s argument that Hawke had made an irrational decision based on no evidence.

“They’re not novel legally and we say there’s no justification for stepping out of the ordinary” by appointing three judges, Lloyd added.

Legal observers suspect Lloyd wanted to keep the option open of another Federal Court appeal because he thinks the minister can mount a stronger case without the rush to reach a verdict before Monday.

Djokovic has won the past three Australian Opens, part of his overall Grand Slam haul of 20 championships. He is tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the most by a man in history.

In a post on social media Wednesday that constituted his most extensive public comments yet on the episode, Djokovic blamed his agent for checking the wrong box on the form, calling it “a human error and certainly not deliberate.”

In that same post, Djokovic said he went ahead with an interview and a photo shoot with a French newspaper in Serbia despite knowing he had tested positive for COVID-19 two days earlier. Djokovic has been attempting to use what he says was a positive test taken on Dec. 16 to justify a medical exemption that would allow him to skirt the vaccine requirement on the grounds that he already had COVID-19.

In canceling Djokovic’ visa, Hawke said that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government “is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Morrison himself welcomed Djokovic’s pending deportation. The episode has touched a nerve in Australia, and particularly in Victoria state, where locals went through hundreds of days of lockdowns during the worst of the pandemic.

Australia faces a massive surge in virus cases driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant. On Friday, the nation reported 130,000 new cases, including nearly 35,000 in Victoria state. Although many infected people aren’t getting as sick as they did in previous outbreaks, the surge is still putting severe strain on the health system, with more than 4,400 people hospitalized. It has also disrupted workplaces and supply chains.

Djokovic’s supporters in Serbia have been dismayed by the visa cancellations. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Friday accused the Australian government of “harassing” and “maltreating” Djokovic and asked whether it is just trying to score political points ahead of upcoming elections.

“Why didn’t you return him back right away, or tell him it was impossible to get a visa?” Vucic asked the Australian authorities in a social media address. “Why are you harassing him and why are you maltreating not only him, but his family and an entire nation that is free and proud.”

Everyone at the Australian Open — including players, their support teams and spectators — is required to be vaccinated.

According to Grand Slam rules, if Djokovic is forced to pull out of the tournament before the order of play for Day 1 is announced, No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev would move into Djokovic’s spot in the bracket.

If Djokovic withdraws from the tournament after Monday’s schedule is released, he would be replaced in the field by what’s known as a “lucky loser” — a player who loses in the qualifying tournament but gets into the main draw because of another player’s exit before competition has started.

And if Djokovic plays in a match — or more — and then is told he can no longer participate in the tournament, his next opponent would simply advance to the following round and there would be no replacement.

___

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Miami-Dade School Board Narrows Down Search For New Superintendent

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Miami-Dade School Board met Tuesday for hours to discuss efforts to replace outgoing superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

The list of candidates is down to three ahead of a future meeting that will involve public input.

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“We have identified 3 individuals by names,” said Lubby Navarro, District 7 School Board member.

The board’s vice-chair Dr. Steve Gallon made his recommendation for the next leader.

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“I would like to make a motion to make Dr. Jose Dotres as the new superintendent of schools,” says Dr. Gallon. “I stand in my charge; I am prepared with the three to have a conversation of who checks off all the boxes.”

The other two individuals include Jacob Oliva and Dr. Rafaela Espinal.

Some board members expressed interest in wanting a process where candidates would attend a public meeting soon.

MORE NEWS: Grammy Awards Rescheduled For April 3 in Las Vegas On CBS

“The majority wants a public process and I want a public meeting so my community can hear,” said Navarro.

Austin Carter

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Grammy Awards Rescheduled For April 3 in Las Vegas On CBS

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MIAMI (CBSLA)The 64th annual Grammy Awards will now be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 3, the Recording Academy has announced.

The ceremony was originally scheduled for Jan. 31 at Crypto.com Arena in downtown Los Angeles but was postponed due to growing concerns surrounding the Omicron variant.

READ MORE: Driver In Wilton Manors Hit-And-Run That Killed Two Children Pleaded Not Guilty

Trevor Noah will return as master of ceremonies.

With the Grammy ceremony shifting airdates, the CMT Music Awards will move from its originally scheduled date of Sunday, April 3 to a later date in April.

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Information about the date and location of the awards show will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Once we realized the need to move the GRAMMY Awards to a later date due to current health concerns, we came together quickly with our partners at the Recording Academy and CMT, to strategically reschedule these two incredible music events and utilize the full power of the ViacomCBS ecosystem to promote them,” said Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music, Live Events & Alternative Programming, CBS. “Coming out of an exciting month of college basketball on CBS, we’re thrilled to continue our programming momentum with these two big live events for television in the spring.”

“We are excited to take the GRAMMYs to Las Vegas for the very first time, and to put on a world-class show,” said Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “From the moment we announced the postponement of the original show date, we have been inundated with heartfelt messages of support and solidarity from the artist community. We are humbled by their generosity and grateful for their unwavering commitment to the GRAMMY Awards and the Academy’s mission. We appreciate the leadership CBS has shown during these challenging weeks and the flexibility of the CMTs and others who worked toward this solution.”

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The 2022 Grammy Awards will now broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena from 8:00-11:30 p.m. on CBS Television Network and available live and on demand on Paramount+.

CBSMiami.com Team

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Broward County State Attorney’s Office To Investigate Alleged Corruption By Miami Officials

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has recused herself and her office in the ongoing investigation into corruption claims made by former Mami Police Chief Art Acevedo.

The Broward County State Attorney’s Office will take over over the investigation after Governor Ron DeSantis ordered Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor to take it over.

According to a letter sent to the governor, Fernandez Rundle discovered a conflict of interest, saying that, “a substantial witness to potential wrongdoing is the brother of a senior attorney” in her office.

The investigation was opened when weeks before being fired, Acevedo wrote a memo accusing City of Miami commissioners Joe Carollo, Alex de la Portilla and Manolo Reyes of corruption.

CBSMiami.com Team

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