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The Informer: Floods, protests and the proliferation of afternoon naps

Flooding on the Lachlan River. Picture: Supplied
Flooding on the Lachlan River. Picture: Supplied

Rivers have surged and broken their banks following days of heavy rain, which has been falling across south eastern Australia.

Bathurst and Orange have both recorded more than 90 millimetres of rain in three days, with records across NSW falling amid the deluge.

Major flooding is likely at Forbes, Cottons Weir and Jemalong from early next week - with predictions to be made once the peak is observed at Nanami.

There is already moderate flooding at Cowra, where the Lachlan hit 12.4 metres about noon on Saturday.

But the rain, which is still lingering across NSW and the ACT, is expected to clear on Saturday afternoon.

In Melbourne, thousands of people have gathered in the city's centre to protest pandemic laws and vaccine mandates.

Weekend rallies in the city have steadily grown since COVID-19 restrictions were eased in October, with speakers reportedly telling the crowd on Saturday the state's premier, Daniel Andrews, should be sacked.

Victoria reported 1221 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, along with four deaths. There are 405 people in hospital with the disease in the state.

NSW reported 250 locally acquired COVID-19 cases in 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, down 36 cases from the previous reporting period. No new coronavirus deaths were reported in NSW for the first time in almost three months.

The ACT reported 11 new cases of COVID, while Queensland reported no new cases.

Have you been spending some time taking an afternoon nap while you have been working from home during the pandemic?

A new survey commissioned by a sleep health company found nearly half of Australians took a siesta at least once a week.

Carmel Harrington, who has a PhD in sleep medicine and written two books on the subject, says going back to the office for some will be somewhat of a shock, even if it's just a few days a week.

"We call it social jet lag," she said. "It's when your body has to deal with two different sleeping patterns and the effects can feel remarkably similar to real jet lag."

But the Olympics might counteract this: the community perceptions monitor prepared by Sport Australia found one in five Australians who watched the Tokyo Games said they were encouraged to be more physically active.

Finally, to overseas news: a judge in Los Angeles has ended the conservatorship that has controlled the life of pop star Britney Spears for 13 years.

Spears described the decision as the "best day ever".

"Good God I love my fans so much it's crazy!!! I think I'm gonna cry the rest of the day !!!! Best day ever. Praise the Lord. Can I get an Amen," the singer wrote on her Instagram account, followed by the hashtag #FreedBritney.

The conservatorship was set up and overseen by the singer's father after she had a public breakdown and underwent treatment for undisclosed mental health issues.

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This story Floods, protests and the proliferation of afternoon naps first appeared on The Canberra Times.