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The Loop: ANZ takes over Suncorp, Rugby Australia issues a life ban to a spectator, and the UK prepares for its hottest day ever

Hi there. It’s Monday, July 18 and you’re reading The Loop, a quick wrap-up of today’s news.

Brisbane-based banking and insurance company Suncorp has accepted ANZ’s offer of $4.9 billion to take over its banking operations — but the deal will take at least 12 months before the deal is finalized, and has several hurdles it will need to clear in the meantime.

ANZ is now tasked with raising $3.5 billion in additional funds to pay for the deal, and will need the approval of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

Queensland’s State Financial Institutions and Metway Merger legislation will also need to be amended for the takeover to go ahead.

Provided the deal gets the green light, it would make ANZ the third-largest bank in Australia for home lending, according to analysis from RateCity (using APRA data).

The next step is for ANZ to submit a merger authorization application to the ACCC, which the regulatory body is expecting to receive next month.

Tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses purchased by the federal government are yet to be administered, prompting questions about what to do with the excess, especially as new, variant-specific vaccines are being bought and rolled out.

To date, Australia has purchased 255 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, split between Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Novavax to provide cover should one or more fail to work.

Australia has millions more COVID vaccine doses than it needs.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

So far, only 60 million doses have been used, even with an increased uptake of fourth doses, while Australia has also donated more than 40 million doses within the Indo-Pacific, either from its own stockpile or procured from UNICEF.

What will happen to the rest? Federal Health Minister Mark Butler has ordered a review of Australia’s vaccine agreements, which will look at what to do with excess supplies.

“If it does turn out that we have a surplus, then I’d want to have a range of options in front of us as to what to do with any surplus vaccines we were contractually required to take,” Mr Butler said.

News you might have missed

  • An Australian teenager who was taken to Syria when he was 11 years old is believed to have died in the country, months after begging the Australian government for help. Yusuf Zahab, 17, had been held in Guweiran prison in Hasaka City, along with suspected Islamic State members when IS attacked the jail to free its fighters. It’s unclear when or how he died, but it’s believed he died in the prison.
A man wearing a blue jacket
Yusuf Zahab had previously told his family he was scared he “might die at any time.”(Supplied: Human Rights Watch)
  • Rugby Australia has banned a spectator for life after he was filmed climbing onto the roof of the SCG and urinating off the top of the O’Reilly Stand during the Wallabies’ loss to England on Saturday night. Rugby Australia has also condemned fans for making “offensive remarks” towards England staff at night.

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  • A report into the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, has found police “failed to prioritize saving innocent lives” at Robb Elementary school. The report criticized both state and federal law enforcement for inaction as a gunman fired inside a fourth-grade classroom.

What Australia has been searching for online

  • Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck: The celebrity couple dubbed “Bennifer” confirmed they tied the knot in a drive-through chapel in Las Vegas. Earlier, it was reported the pair had obtained a marriage license in Nevada, but Lopez shared the news they had officially wed in a newsletter sent to her fans of her. Lopez also confirmed she’s changed her name from Ella to Jennifer Lynn Affleck.
2x benniferpics
That’s Mr and Mrs Affleck to you.(Supplied: OntheJLo.com)
  • UK heat wave: The UK is expected to swelter through its hottest day in history on Monday, local time, with the mercury expected to hit 40C in London for the first time on record. A “jet stream vortex” is to blame for the heatwave, which is sending a mass of hot air over the country. The UK’s first-ever red extreme heat warning has been issued as a result, along with a level 4 health alert for Monday and Tuesday.
A woman wearing a tank top holds a pink hand fan while sitting on a London Underground train.
Londoners are doing whatever it takes to keep cool.(Reuters: Maja Smiejkowska)

one more thing

  • South Australia’s chimpanzees are on the mend after catching respiratory synctial virus (RSV).
  • The Monarto Safari Park announced its chimpanzee enclosure would be temporarily closed after the virus was detected last week.
  • As for where they caught the bug, Zoos SA chief executive said a rogue tissue that blew into their enclosure could be to blame.
  • To help them recover, the chimps have been sipping on tea with honey and lemon — yes, really — and enjoying homemade soup, along with getting plenty of rest.
A chimpanzee lays on the ground wrapped up in a red blanket
Chimps are just like us when it comes to recovering from sickness.(Zoos SA/Adrian Mann)

You’re up to date

We’ll be back in the morning with more.

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ABC/wires

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