Was the word Zaila Avant-garde spelt correctly to win America’s Scripps National Spelling Bee on Friday. Already a Guinness World Records title holder for her basketball dribbling, the 14yo wants to play the sport at Harvard before starting a career at NASA or as an NBA coach. If the weekend’s taught us anything, it’s to dream, believe, succeed…
SYDNEY BRACED FOR MORE TOUGH NEWS
The pace of locally acquired COVID cases in Sydney continued to pick up over the weekend with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian expecting to report more than 100 new cases today. There were 127 new local cases recorded Saturday and Sunday – 59 of those were infectious while out and about in the community. And the first death of the outbreak was reported yesterday – a 90yo woman who was unvaccinated, officials said. She is the first person with locally acquired coronavirus to die in Australia this year and the first in NSW for 10 months.
WHAT’S HAPPENING THERE?
Most of the city’s new cases are in the southwestern suburbs with many examples of the virus being transmitted within families across several households. That’s one of the factors behind the ramped-up ‘stay at home’ measures across Sydney and surrounds. It means things aren’t looking good for the easing of restrictions. “Given where we’re at and given the lockdown was supposed to be lifted on Friday, everybody can tell it’s highly unlikely at this stage, given where the numbers are,” Berejiklian said yesterday.
WHAT’S THE REACTION BEEN?
Victoria closed the border to all of NSW and the ACT at midnight. Premier Daniel Andrews told Victorians said it was an appropriate measure to take because “If there’s a problem in Sydney, there’s a problem everywhere.” Commentators yesterday said the next border to tighten is likely to be Queensland’s… Speaking of reactions, news on Friday that Australia’s supply of the Pfizer vaccine doses would be “ramped up” has been overstated, the company says. The number of doses the company has contracted to deliver to Australia remains the same at 40 million – it’s their delivery that has been brought forward. And how that all came about is a wild story involving former PM Kevin Rudd and a Zoom call…
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HAITI REQUESTS US TROOPS
Last week, the nation was thrown into crisis when President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, and yesterday the caretaker government asked the US and United Nations to send troops. Officials say the local police force is weak and lacks resources to protect key infrastructure as the interim administration tries to bring calm and prepare for elections. The US is unlikely to agree to the request, reports say, but intelligence agents will assess the situation and advise on how America can help. Haiti’s relationship with the US = #itscomplicated… And the UN has not yet responded. As for last week’s attack, it’s unknown who was the mastermind, but one report says it involved “a shootout with gunmen holed up in a foreign embassy, a private security firm operating out of a warehouse in Miami and a cameo sighting of a Hollywood star.” The plot thickens…
ABIY WINS ETHIOPIAN ELECTION
…and by a whopping margin. The nation’s elections board yesterday declared PM Abiy Ahmed won 410 out of 436 seats in last month’s poll. There are a couple of things to note… Those in Tigray, which makes up a 5th of the country, didn’t get an opportunity to vote because of fighting between regional forces and the government. And in the rest of the nation, there were complaints about how the election was run with Abiy’s Prosperity Party accused of harassing opposition officials and intimidating voters. Abiy has given human rights enthusiasts whiplash in the last year. Shortly after he came to office, he won the Nobel Peace Price in 2019 for releasing political prisoners and making peace with neighbouring Eritrea. This year, he’s been accused of overseeing ethnic cleansing in Tigray.
NORTH AMERICA FEELS THE HEAT AGAIN…
As much of Oz shivered through a cold weekend and southwestern Western Australia battens down the hatches, North America is baking again. California’s Mojave Desert hit temperatures in the mid-50Cs on the weekend as fires took off on the West Coast. Northwards to Canada, and the cost of their recent heatwave is being counted. One stinky problem has been the massive die-off of mussels and clams in British Columbia where it was so hot that they cooked in their shells. “I started having a look around just on my local beach and thought ‘Oh, this, this can’t be good,'” said Christopher Harley from the local uni’s zoological department. They are all things that Fox News’ new weather channel can cover when it’s up and running – it’s another meteorological event that’s has climate crisis followers worried…
BILLIONAIRE’S 90-MINUTE SPACE ODYSSEY COMPLETED
Sir Richard Branson has beaten Amazon founder Jeff Bezos into space overnight. Branson’s Virgin Galactic plans on taking paying customers on space rides next year. To test it out, he jumped onboard the Unity to reach the edge of space and come home again. Bezos plans on riding his own Blue Origin rocket for a similar trip into space on 20 July, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. So what about SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk? He met up with Branson before his trip and congratulated them on a “beautiful flight”. Instead of a quick up and down, Musk’s venture will go into orbit around the Earth. The first private flight is set for later this year.
GETTING YOUR SPORTS CHAT SORTED…
DOMINATING WIMBLEDON – Overnight, Novak Djokovic won his 20th grand slam equalling rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. He beat Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in 4 sets. But it was all about Aussies Ash Barty and Dylan Alcott and the pure joy of their wins. We won’t labour the details of Barty’s victory, but her parents watching her win and Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s tribute = all the feels. As for Alcott, his 2nd Wimbledon title sets him up for an extra special year with the Paralympics and US Open to go.
ARGENTINA VICTORIOUS AS ENGLAND HOLDS ITS BREATH – Argentina won their first major title since 1993 in their 1-0 Copa America win over the very fancied Brazilians. And England fans are super hopeful their team will break their title drought in their Euro 2020 game against Italy. That’s underway as we speak…
AND A QUEENSLAND FLAVOURED HAT-TRICK – For hosting rugby league’s State of Origin, not winning games… Wednesday night’s game has been relocated to the Gold Coast after it was relocated to Newcastle after it was relocated from Sydney… That’s the least of the NRL’s issues with a rush last night to move clubs from Sydney and Canberra to southeast Queensland for at least a month.
APROPOS OF NOTHING - WINNERS ARE GRINNERS EDITION
A men’s basketball friendly was played yesterday between Team USA and Nigeria – and Nigeria won. Really…
Jockey Jamie Kah won her 100th metropolitan Victorian race on Saturday. That’s 100 races this season… She’s the first to ever achieve the feat.
Also hitting to ton was Queensland’s Yeppoon Swans. On Saturday, the Aussie Rules side became the first team in the sport’s history to record 100 consecutive wins. “Being ruthless, putting in effort but showing respect is what we want to be renowned for,” said coach and player Christian Burgess. So good.
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ABS Data Release – Building Approvals, May (Additional Information)
Birthdays for Bill Cosby (1937) and Malala Yousafzai (1997)
• the marriage of King Henry VIII to his sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr (1543)
• Britain’s King Charles II ratifying the Habeas Corpus Act giving those under arrest the right to be brought before a judge or into court (1679)
• the death of US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (1804)
• legislation passed giving women 21yo and older the vote for Aussie federal elections (1902)
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