A young Highlanders fan. Photo: Martin Hunter/Getty Images

This weekend, New Zealand's Super Rugby league will become the world's first major sports league to return from the shutdown without crowd restrictions.

The state of play: Some 20,000 fans are expected to be on hand in Dunedin when the Highlanders host the Chiefs, the first Super League game since mid-March.

  • And a record 35,000 could show up on Sunday in Auckland (New Zealand's largest city) when the Blues host the Highlanders.

The backdrop: There are currently no active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, and the country largely opened up its society on Monday, including stores, restaurants and public transportation.

  • Overall, New Zealand has confirmed 1,154 cases and 22 deaths from over 294,800 tests. It has reported no new cases for 21 days.

Meanwhile, in Australia ... Australian rules football also resumes this weekend. Though Australia is not quite ready for full stadiums, 2,000 fans will be in the stands for a game between the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows.

Go deeper: New Zealand is now free of coronavirus

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Sep 13, 2020 - World

Dozens arrested during lockdown protests in Melbourne, Australia

Lockdown protesters marching from the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Dozens of lockdown protesters in Melbourne, Australia, were arrested after facing off with riot police for a second straight day on Sunday, per Nine News.

The big picture: The Victorian state capital has been under a nightly curfew since Aug. 5 amid surging coronavirus cases. From midnight Sunday, the curfew was being cut by an hour to 9pm–5am. Victoria's states of emergency and disaster were extended until at least Oct. 11, as state officials confirmed Sunday 41 new cases and seven more deaths from COVID-19. All other states and territories have reported single-digit or zero cases for weeks.

Go deeper: Australia plunges into first recession in 30 years

Pelosi: Trump wants to "crush" ACA with Ginsburg replacement

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" that President Trump was rushing to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he "wants to crush the Affordable Care Act."

Why it matters: Pelosi wants to steer the conversation around the potential Ginsburg replacement to health care, which polls show is a top issue for voters, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration has urged the courts to strike down the law, and with it, protections for millions with pre-existing conditions.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' Armageddon option

A makeshift memorial outside the Supreme Court yesterday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Furious Democrats are considering total war — profound changes to two branches of government, and even adding stars to the flag — if Republicans jam through a Supreme Court nominee, then lose control of the Senate.

On the table: Adding Supreme Court justices ... eliminating the Senate's 60-vote threshold to end filibusters ... and statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. "If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021," Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) tweeted.