“Pack your bongo and get out of the country.”
Said Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce to English far-right commentator Katie Hopkins. She was brought to Oz by Network Seven to join Big Brother VIP, but breaches of hotel quarantine could see her sent home. All that aside, the quip is now our go to phrase of farewell…
‘QUASHING’ COVID TURNS SOUR
As 12 million Aussies emerge from a weekend locked down, the coronavirus case tally continued to rise over the weekend. In Victoria, 36 new local cases were recorded – all cases to date are linked to the current outbreak, including a case in Mildura. Premier Daniel Andrews said while officials were on top of things, he couldn’t yet say if the lockdown will end tomorrow night. Meanwhile in NSW, the government announced new restrictions as the state reported the death of a Sydney woman in her 90s and 215 new local cases taking the outbreak total to 1,242 cases. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the measures put in place more than 3 weeks ago weren’t “quashing the curve”.
WHAT NEW RESTRICTIONS?
They’re some of Australia’s strictest measures of the pandemic so far. Non-essential businesses in Greater Sydney and surrounds are closed. And with 70% of new cases coming from residents of southwestern Sydney, residents of 3 local government areas are not allowed to leave their areas, except for ‘authorised’ workers. And all construction work in the locked-down regions will be suspended until 30 July – that will cost the NSW economy about $1.4 billion, reports say. Berejiklian says it’s necessary because ”what we haven’t managed to do is really budge that stubborn number every day for the last few days.” And she says she knows that “many people will be very angry and upset with me,” she said.
SPEAKING OF ANGRY AND UPSET…
The Morrison Government has taken a big popularity hit in the latest Newspoll. Support for the government has sunk to its lowest level this term as the Coalition trails Labor 47:53 in the 2-party preferred stakes – a position that would see it well and truly lose an election. And dissatisfaction with PM Scott Morrison’s handling of the crisis has risen significantly in the last 3 weeks. Of those polled, 52% say he’s handling the pandemic well at the moment, down from 61% last time and 82% a year ago. Despite the poor report card, Morrison is ahead of Labor leader Anthony Albanese 51-33 in the better PM stakes. Those surveyed in the nation’s 2 largest cities might feel more forgiving when they aren’t locked down…
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ANYONE ELSE IN LOCKY D?
Only Australia’s Olympic track and field team, albeit briefly on Saturday… The COVID scare involved an official who flew from Melbourne to the team’s pre-Games training camp in Cairns, returning an inconclusive test. The official later tested negative, and that allowed the athletes to be let out hours later. More than half of Team Australia have arrived in Japan (and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gets there today…) ahead of the competition, which kicks off later this week. Not that things will be seamless… Two teammates in the Olympic Village from an unnamed country were confirmed to have COVID yesterday. Another athlete not yet in the Village and a South Korean member of the International Olympic Committee also tested positive. Games chief Seiko Hashimoto said plans are in place to respond to any COVID situation in the coming 3 weeks.
AND INDONESIA STRUGGLES AS THE UK SHAKES IT OFF
Our northern neighbour is now outstripping India and Brazil on new daily infections. Indonesia reported more than 54,000 infections and 1,200 deaths in its latest numbers, and 27% of tests are coming back positive making it the world’s epicentre for COVID. The World Health Organization says the peak is yet to come. Meanwhile, almost all of Britain’s and many of Scotland’s COVID restrictions will be lifted today. That isn’t to say that COVID is no longer a problem… Yesterday, Health Minister Sajid Javid said he has the virus, putting PM Boris Johnson into isolation because they met late last week. That all comes as the UK reported 48,000 new daily cases yesterday. Officials are concerned, but with 53% of the population is now vaccinated it’s a different situation from when new cases were that high in January.
NORTHERN HEMISPHERE BATTLES EXTREME WEATHER
At least 188 people have died in some of the worst floods Europe has seen in 200 years. The cleanup has started in western Germany and Belgium as waters recede. Authorities say they expect to find more victims. And there are concerns about the vast amounts of floodwater in river catchments, so downstream residents have been evacuated. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who visited the area overnight, said “I can almost say that the German language doesn’t have words for the destruction that’s been wreaked.” These pictures show what she’s getting at. Many leaders are pointing fingers at climate change with heavy rainfall and floods also affecting Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria and the Netherlands. It’s also on the minds of those in Northern Ireland, which recorded a record high temperature of 31.2C in Ballywatticock. And speaking of extreme conditions, there are now more than 70 fires burning on America’s west coast. The largest is in California and southern Oregon as dry forests, strong winds and hot weather make the blaze difficult to get under control.
TOUR DE POGACAR
It’s a back-to-back triumph in the Tour de France for Tadej Pogacar, the 22yo Slovenian cyclist who rides for UAE Team Emirates. And he’s not done it by halves – along with taking out the overall individual win, Pogacar is also this year’s King of the Mountain and best young rider. “He rides like we don’t exist,” said Spain’s Enric Mas. As an indication of how dominant his Tour de France campaign was, just 2 riders – Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz – finished within 10 minutes of him at the end of the penultimate stage. Pogacar said the win is more enjoyable than last year’s because he hadn’t expected to take it out in 2020. And there’s no rest for the victorious – he’s off to Tokyo tomorrow to compete in the road race. Not that he’s predicting great things with little time to recover. The best-placed Aussie in the Tour was Perth lad Ben O’Connor who came in 4th.
AS YOU WERE SAYING…
We can’t remember the last time we looked up an actual dictionary – it’s all online searches now… And so when sites like dictionary.com release a list of 300 hot new words that “mirror the world around us,” we’re all ears. The big new entrants include pandemic-flavoured terms like ‘long hauler’ to describe someone dealing with the lasting effects of COVID. Also reflecting the times are words related to the “race and justice dialogue that followed last year’s police-killing of George Floyd” like ‘minoritise’ – aka “to make (a person or group) subordinate in status to a more dominant group”. And for something a bit slangy – youse should be on the lookout for a zaddy today. Just as long as the yoof of North Korea don’t get any ideas…
APROPOS OF NOTHING
A fingerprint on the buttock is something you’d be forgiven for associating with something problematic – but on this occasion, it’s a revelation. Experts at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum have found what they believe to be Michelangelo’s fingerprint on a wax sculpture.
2020 and 2020-the-sequel have been difficult for those trying to plan weddings. Which is filling 2022’s wedding guests with dread…
And if actress Gillian Anderson’s invited to a wedding – or anywhere – she’ll be sans brassiere. “I don’t care if my breasts reach my belly button,” she says. Wonder what former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt would think…
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Evening – The Muslim festival Eid al-Adha begins
Birthdays for Brian May (1947) and Benedict Cumberbatch (1976)
• the death of Matthew Flinders, the cat-loving leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia, at 40yo (1814)
• the premiere of Man Men (2007)
• Despacito becoming the most-streamed song ever – it’s now been streamed 6.8 billion times (2017)
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