“When you pull a goldfish about the size of a football out of the lake, it makes you wonder how this can even be the same type of animal.”
Said natural resources specialist Caleb Ashling about the pets humans are discarding in local ponds. They’re wreaking havoc on native species and habitats and the worst part? They probably don’t even remember how they got there in the first place…
SYDNEY COULD BE HERE FOR A WHILE...
NSW recorded a significant jump in local COVID cases adding weight to the theory that the lockdown of Sydney and surrounds will last beyond Friday, and could be extended for some weeks. Premier Gladys Berejiklian wouldn’t nominate a timeline for easing restrictions yesterday, saying it was “not the time to cut any corners”. The state recorded 112 new local cases yesterday – the overwhelming majority are close family or friends of previously announced cases, and at least 34 were in the community for part or all of their infectious period. The outbreak is now the biggest NSW has seen and yesterday was the first time the state has recorded triple digits for new local daily cases since the start of the pandemic.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
It could take another fortnight for the number of new cases to peak, experts say. And officials say the main area of concern continues to be the southwestern suburbs of Sydney where testing rates need to pick up. On the vaccination front, NSW Health is making the AstraZeneca vaccine available to consenting/informed residents over 40yo, and pharmacists across the state are being prepped to deliver jabs. And, Sydneysiders have been urged to fast track their 2nd dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to 6 weeks instead of 12 – which is the current federal health advice. And when it comes to financial support for those impacted by the lockdown, the NSW and Federal Governments are set to announce some details today. And Melbourne is on high alert after an “incursion” of cases from its northern neighbour.
AND WHAT’S NEW WITH THE PFIZER VACCINE?
Well, now that you ask… The Morrison Government yesterday said claims that Kevin Rudd brokered a deal to get doses to Oz more quickly are ruddiculous. The former PM received a pat on the back yesterday after it became known that he held a Zoom meeting with Pfizer’s global boss last month that was “purely in my private capacity as an Australian citizen”. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt denies the lobbying was behind last week’s announcement that some of Australia’s doses would be express mailed. Pfizer says reports “suggesting that any third party or individual has had any role in contractual agreements are inaccurate”. For Rudd’s part, he says he never claimed to have played a part in negotiations. And they say that pandemics and politics don’t mix…
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PRESIDENTIAL MURDER PLOT THICKENS...
A Haitian man suspected of playing a key role in last week’s assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has been arrested. In a blockbuster-worthy plot, authorities say Florida-based Christian Emmanuel Sanon wanted to become president and recruited the mostly Colombian men who stormed Moïse’s private residence last week from a US-based Venezuelan security firm. He had promised to make them his bodyguards, reports say. Twenty-one suspects have been arrested so far, with Haitian police working with Colombian officials to get to the bottom of the plot. The murder has left a power vacuum in Haiti with interim PM Claude Joseph fending off multiple challenges to his leadership, and gang violence erupting in the streets of the nation’s capital Port-au-Prince.
THOUSANDS RALLY IN CUBA
Thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets calling for the government to act as the country endures its worst economic crisis in decades. A double whammy of Trump-era sanctions and the pandemic has led to skyrocketing prices and food/medicine shortages. Cuba is also seeing a spike in COVID cases, and there’s discontent about the government’s handling of the pandemic, including the slow pace of the vaccine rollout with 15% of the population fully vaccinated. Ahem… President Miguel Díaz-Canel has hit back at a show of support for the protestors from a top US diplomat, claiming the protests were planned by US-backed mercenaries seeking to destabilise the country. A tightly-controlled Communist country, these are the biggest anti-government protests Cuba has seen for decades.
WESFARMERS HEAD TO THE PHARMACY
Having spun off Coles supermarkets in 2019, Wesfarmers is out shopping for a new venture with confirmation yesterday that its has made a $687 million offer for Australian Pharmaceutical Industries – the company that owns Priceline and Soul Pattinson retail stores and chemists. Wesfarmers, which owns retailers Bunnings, Kmart and Officeworks, would be taking its first step into the $25 billion pharmaceutical, beauty and wellbeing sector – the first of which is highly regulated given its role in dispensing drugs to Aussies. Wesfarmers boss Rob Scott says the offer is a good one given “the current environment and based on where the business has traded in recent years”. API says it’s not enough, but API’s largest shareholder Soul Patts has taken its temperature and declared it to be a hot offer. Watch this space…
IT’S COMING ROME...
Isn’t quite how England’s chant goes… Old Blighty’s 55-year drought for a major soccer trophy didn’t end yesterday losing 3-2 on penalties to Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley. It was Italy’s 2nd Euros title and their first in 53 years. Despite strict COVID rules, Italians took to the streets to celebrate. Things took a nasty turn on social media when racist abuse was levelled at 3 of England’s players who missed penalties in the shootout – Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka. Prince William, UK PM Boris Johnson and the country’s Football Association condemned the abuse. The FA said it will support the players affected and called for the “toughest punishments possible” for those responsible. “Anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team.”
BLACK WIDOW BREAKS THE BOX OFFICE
Superhero movie franchise Marvel’s latest offering Black Widow has smashed COVID-era box office records, raking in US$158 million in international ticket sales for its opening weekend. It’s the most any movie has made since the start of the pandemic, snatching the crown from the 9th film in The Fast and the Furious franchise released last month. While experts say that bodes well for upcoming films, streaming also played a part in Black Widow’s success. Disney reported sales of the film through the company’s Disney+ Premier Access platform raked in more than $60 million globally. They call it a “flexible distribution strategy” – something that will be with us post-COVID, pundits say. That’s ok, we prefer a bag of microwave popcorn anyway…
APROPOS OF NOTHING
A copy of Super Mario 64 has sold for $2.08 million. It’s the most ever paid for a single copy of a video game. Bet you wish you kept that plastic cover on…
Ever wondered what billionaire Elon Musk’s home looks like? Is a pop-up tiny house valued at less than many of his Tesla cars.
SQUIZ THE DAY
9.30am (AEST) – Cricket – T20 Series Game 3 – Australia v West Indies – Saint Lucia
8pm (AEST) – Rugby Union – Wallabies v France – AAMI Park, Melbourne
Birthdays for Patrick Stewart (1940) and Harrison Ford (1942)
• the establishment of the famous Hollywood sign, which originally read “Hollywoodland” but dropped the last four letters after a renovation in 1949 (1923)
• Frank Sinatra making his recording debut (1939)
• the Live Aid charity concerts, which raised money for African famine relief (1985)
• Kylie Minogue releasing her debut single Locomotion (1987)
• the founding of #BlackLivesMatter (2013)
• the election of former British PM Theresa May (2016)
2am (AEST) – Champion sprinter Usain Bolt verses a computer in a promotion for the US firm CarMax – live stream available to watch on Bolt’s Facebook page
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