“Best day ever!”
Said Amazon/Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos after returning safely from his 10-minute, 10-second flight into space. Coming from the wealthiest person on Earth, that’s saying something because yesterday has some competition…
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER COUPLE OF LOCKDOWNS
South Oz is the latest state to go into a week-long lockdown after 5 local cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus were reported. Victorians have another week of lockdown, and the rules on entering the state have been tightened after 13 new local cases were recorded yesterday. Queensland reported one local case – a woman who’d visited an exposure site in Melbourne. And [drumroll] NSW, 78 new local cases were reported yesterday. The shires of Orange, Blayney and Cabonne in the state’s Central West joined the lockdown overnight after a resident of Orange was infected by a delivery driver from Sydney. With 13 million Aussies now in lockdown (and in Sydney’s case, potentially for a while…), there are growing concerns about the impact.
The economy, to start. With Sydney and Melbourne going through a lockdown simultaneously, 45% of Australia’s economic engine is idling. More than $200 million has been paid out in disaster payments to eligible individuals and businesses in NSW and Victoria so far. And the lockdowns could cost Australia upwards of $10 billion, according to KPMG chief economist Brendan Rynne. And in industries feeling the effects of a harmful 2020, the cost is still being counted. Exhibit A: airports. Melbourne’s recorded its worst annual passenger traffic in almost 40 years, and Sydney’s reported a 70.9% fall in passenger numbers in June compared to pre-COVID times.
IT’S ALL SO BLAH…
And that’s putting it mildly. For those struggling with their mental health, a new study from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare yesterday showed that services like Lifeline have been hammered. There’s also been an increase in ambulance attendances for people considering self-harm in NSW and Victoria. But despite experts warning the pandemic could lead to more people taking their own lives, the data shows that hasn’t happened. A survey by consultancy firm PwC found it’s the most important societal issue according to Aussie workers, with a quarter of respondents experiencing mental ill-health and an inability to switch off from work in the past year.
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HARVEY WEINSTEIN BACK IN LA LA LAND
The jailed Hollywood producer has been extradited to California overnight, and his lawyers say they expect he will be arraigned on an indictment of 11 counts of sexual assault involving 5 women in the coming day. The alleged incidents took place between 2004 and 2013, and he denies them. Weinstein was found guilty last year of sexual assault and rape in New York, and he is serving a 23-year prison sentence. He is currently appealing those convictions claiming the judge and a juror were biased against him. His lawyers also appealed this extradition order saying he was not well enough to go. As for the claims from this group of actresses – if convicted, the maximum sentence is 140 years in prison. Almost 90 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault in a deluge of complaints that kick-started Hollywood’s #metoo movement.
HAITI SETTLES THE LEADERSHIP QUESTION, FOR NOW
The power vacuum that was left in the wake of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse will be filled by Ariel Henry. Interim leader Claude Joseph agreed to stand aside yesterday as pressure built to install Henry as PM, including from the US. Henry is a 71yo neurosurgeon who had been appointed PM just 2 days before Moïse’s murder. He says he will “lead the country for a short period of time until we can hold better elections,” and that’s expected to happen in 4-6 months. Pro-democracy activists had been agitating for Moïse’s removal over his conduct in office. They say whether it’s Henry or Joseph taking over, they’re Moïse men, and neither will allow a free or fair election. White House press sec Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden welcomed reports that “Haitian political actors are working together to determine a path forward.”
A CHALLENGE ON THE CROWN - THE SEQUEL
Crown Resorts is not suitable to hold Victoria’s only casino license, according to the Royal Commission’s lead lawyer Adrian Finanzio. In a closing submission to the inquiry yesterday, Finanzio said those in charge of Crown had acted illegally and inappropriately to put “profit ahead before all other considerations”. That includes efforts to dodge a multi-million-dollar tax bill… And he says that former Howard Government minister/executive chair Helen Coonan and chief executive Xavier Walsh are not the right people to turn around the culture inside Crown’s flagship venue. It’s another blow for the company, which was found unsuitable to operate its newly built Sydney Casino in February over money laundering claims and links to organised crime gangs. That sound you can hear is Crown’s potential buyers getting ready to take their offers off the table… The Commission’s final report is due on 15 October.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN...
If you like to get your smarty pants on from time to time, here’s a cracking opportunity. The Olympic Games start today, for Australia anyway. And when your nearest and dearest say “no, it starts on Friday, you nong,” you can follow up with “no, that’s the opening ceremony”. Then whack them with the following: our pitch for medals starts this morning. Leading the way are our softballers who face hometown heroes Japan, and tonight the Matildas are in action against arch-frenemies New Zealand in the women’s soccer. Somewhere in there, we’ll learn if Brisbane has won the one-horse race that is the bid for the 2032 Olympics. It’s so exciting you’ll want to jump all over your cardboard bed… A good look at the full schedule in Aussie time is here.
And the Sport Today team will be releasing a 3-minute podcast update at 6am every day of the Games covering what’s gone down and what to look out for. They call it The Tokyo Sprint, and if you’re a busy person, it’s the best way to stay on top of things. Look out for it in your preferred podcast app from Friday…
VALE DAVID LECKIE
He strode the Australian media landscape at a time when terms like ‘swashbuckling’, ‘abrasive’ and ‘larger-than-life’ were worn as badges of honour. And yesterday, at his farm in Bowral, NSW, with his wife Skye and 3 sons by his side, former Nine and Seven CEO David Leckie died after a long illness, aged 70yo. Leckie presided over Channel Nine in its 90s heyday – back when it was ‘Still The One’. Famously sacked from that job by Kerry Packer in 2001, it was Leckie who rose like Lazarus to take the reins at Network Seven 2 years later and turn it into a ratings winner. As famous for his long lunches and splenetic outbursts as he was for his deft ability to commission TV shows that kept a generation of Aussies glued to their small screens, Leckie was variously remembered yesterday as ‘brash’, ‘brillant’ ‘unvarnished’ and a ‘giant of Australian television”.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
Wild pigs produce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.1 million cars each year, experts say. And we’re not talking farts – they do it by uprooting soil in search of food. Thank goodness they can’t drive…
And if you’ve ever wondered how a horse would wear pants (as in, would they have just one pair on their hind legs or would they cover all 4 legs…), the answer is in.
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10.00am (AEST) – Tokyo Olympics – Softball – Australia v Japan
12.30pm (AEST) – Ambassador of Japan to Australia Yamagami Shingo addresses the National Press Club – Canberra
9.30pm (AEST) – Tokyo Olympics – Women’s Soccer – Matildas v New Zealand
International Olympics Committee to announce the host city for 2032 Olympic Games (hint: it’s Brissie…)
ABS Data Release – Retail Trade, Australia, Preliminary, June
Belgium’s National Day
National Lamington Day
•the birthdays of Ernest Hemingway (1899) and Robin Williams (1951)
• the creation of Central Park in New York (1853)
• Sirimavo Bandaranaike becoming the world’s first non-hereditary female head of government in modern history as PM of Ceylon aka Sri Lanka (1960)
• the release of Guns N’ Roses’ debut album Appetite for Destruction. It became the bestselling debut album of all time (1987)
Need to top up on a cream or a cleanser? We’re talking to the blokes too… Read the email every day this week and you’ll go into the draw to win a $100 gift card to spend with Adore Beauty.
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