“It looks lovely.”
Said Queen Elizabeth of the new rose named after Prince Philip. It was presented to her yesterday on what would have been his 100th birthday by the president of the Royal Horticultural Society, who is a man with a very apt name. It’s [drumroll…] Keith Weed. You can’t make this stuff up…
MORRISON HITS THE BIG TIME AS THE G7 CRANKS UP
The G7 leaders summit kicks off today in the UK, with PM Scott Morrison tagging along. The Group of 7 wealthy nations – the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan, plus some extras – will meet for 3 days in Cornwall. It’s their first get-together in 2 years after the 2020 meeting, which was meant to be hosted by former US President Donald Trump, was cancelled because, well, COVID. And a lot has changed since 2019…
WHAT’S GOING TO COME OUT OF IT?
There’s no need to guess – a leaked draft communiqué has provided the deets:
• Leaders will call for a new look into the origins of the coronavirus. US President Joe Biden is driving this. And host leader UK PM Boris Johnson will urge G7 nations to commit to delivering a billion extra COVID vaccine doses to developing countries over the next year.
• China has previously warned the G7 not to meddle in its affairs, but confronting Beijing’s strategic ambitions will be front and centre. In a clear swipe at China’s leadership, European Union leaders, the US, Canada, Japan and the UK will commit to taking action to combat the alleged use of forced labour of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province.
• And on climate change, there are commitments to shift to zero-emission vehicles and stop the direct funding of coal-fired power stations in poorer nations by the end of the year. That’s on top of an agreement last month to revise targets – a move praised by activists.
SO WHAT’S IN IT FOR AUSTRALIA?
To start with, it’s kind of a thing that we’re invited. This year’s G7 summit has been expanded to include Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea, giving Morrison a seat at the big table alongside the world’s most powerful democracies. There, he will have his first in-person chats with President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. And there’s a free trade deal to be done with UK PM Boris Johnson, fingers crossed. But it’s unlikely to go all Morrison’s way… His government’s reluctance to set more ambitious climate commitments could be challenged this weekend. Bring on the socially distanced leaders’ picture…
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COLD AND WET...
If you live in southeastern Oz, you’re forgiven for stating the obvious to whomever you meet because geez it was a day in weather… Wild storms wreaked havoc across Victoria with heavy rain and strong winds bringing down power lines. Emergency alerts were issued as heavy rain and flooding swept across the Gippsland region, with residents near Traralgon urged to evacuate after it received more than 270mm of rain in 24 hours. Reports this morning say conditions are easing, but flood warnings remain in place. And in NSW there were some incredible images as parts of the state received snow. And Sydney shivered through its coldest day in 37 years, reaching a maximum of 10.3C in the city centre. Stay warm and safe…
MELBOURNE EMERGES FROM LOCKDOWN AS FIJI BUNKERS DOWN
Melburnians are now free to leave their homes (within a 25km radius…) as the 2-week lockdown lifted overnight – just put your mask on if you’re going outside… As for yesterday’s update, and investigation is underway into the source of 4 new local infections from a single household. And there’s no further information on how the Delta (Indian) variant spread into the community. NSW and Queensland are also on high alert after a Melbourne couple drove to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast without an exemption. Meanwhile, Fiji is bracing for a nationwide lockdown as case numbers surge, pushing its health system to breaking point. The nation had no cases for a year until April this year, with the current outbreak linked to the dangerous Delta strain.
AUNG SAN SUU KYI CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION
Myanmar’s military rulers formally charged deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi with corruption yesterday, the military junta confirmed. It’s alleged she accepted cash and gold in bribes, and if convicted (which pundits say is all but certain…), she faces up to 15 years in prison. She’s previously been charged with importing walkie-talkies and inciting public unrest. Suu Kyi has been kept under house arrest since the military seized power in a coup in February but was moved to an ‘unknown location’ earlier this month as she and other senior party officials await trial next week. More than 800 civilians have been killed in the unrest so far, and an estimated 100,000 villagers were forced to flee into the jungle after fighting broke out between the military and a civilian resistance group named the Karenni People’s Defense Force. It’s one of several armed civilian forces to rise up in recent months. #SquizShortcuts
UPDATES ON SOME RECENT GLOBAL SHUTDOWNS
One customer unleashed the bug that caused major websites to go offline earlier this week, Fastly said yesterday. The bug was dormant in the content delivery network’s code since mid-May, but it wasn’t until the customer in question updated their settings that it let rip, causing a shutdown that affected governments, streamers and news outlets worldwide. The company handles 10% of the world’s internet traffic, so the outage has raised issues about the concentration of critical internet infrastructure. Meanwhile, the world’s biggest meat processor JBS Foods said it paid a $14.2 million ransom to Russian hackers to stop the cyber attack which halted its global operations, including in Australia, for 5 days. While officials warn paying ransoms sets a “dangerous precedent”, JBS boss Andre Nogueira said it was a “very difficult decision” to make, but it was done to protect its customers.
WELCOME TO OCEANS FIVE
A 5th ocean will be added for the first time in the National Geographic Society’s 100 years of mapping. The organisation says it will now recognise the Southern Ocean, an oceanic ring that encircles Antarctica. Its claim to fame: it’s the only ocean to touch 3 others (the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian). Scientists have long known there’s a distinct ecological region at the bottom of the world, but there hasn’t been any agreement on the boundary of the body of water. Geographers debated whether the waters around Antarctica had enough unique characteristics to deserve their own name or whether they were simply a cold, southern extension of the other oceans. National Geographic Society geographer Alex Tait said the recognition had been considered “for years” as the term ‘Southern Ocean’ was increasingly used by scientists and the press. For extra points, it joins the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific for ocean status.
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
If you’re anything like us, you’ve bypassed a year of wearing makeup and have emerged into a world where it’s something you want to dabble in from time to time as you get out and about a bit more. Enter US Instyle’s best buys for 2021…
If you need something to watch on Netflix, make it the comedy special Bo Burnham: Inside. If you don’t know him, he played Carey Mulligan’s love interest in Promising Young Woman, and the multi-talented performer shot and edited it himself during lockdown. And as far as comedy goes, it’s super quirky = right down our alley.
It’s a long weekend for us, and that comes with an opportunity to take on a couple of recipes. One is our favourite chicken noodle soup. A note on that: we don’t count soup as food (it’s a liquid so derr…), but this has enough chicken and noodles to make it a meal… And for a new recipe, we’re giving this cheesy/spinachy spanakopita a go – but only because it recommends store-bought filo…
SQUIZ THE DAY
G7 summit begins (on until 13 June) – Cornwall, England
Euro 2021 and Copa America soccer tournaments begin
Birthdays for Hugh Laurie (1959), Peter Dinklage (1969) and Shia LaBeouf (1986)
• the marriage of King Henry VIII to his first wife Catherine of Aragon (1509)
• Captain James Cook happening upon the Great Barrier Reef (1770)
• Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức’s self-immolation at a Saigon intersection, creating one of the Vietnam War’s most iconic images (1963)
• Margaret Thatcher becoming first UK PM in 160 years to win a 3rd consecutive term (1987)
• the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Jurassic Park (1993)
• the WHO declaring H1N1 swine flu a global pandemic (2009)
11.00pm (AEST) – French Open Women’s Singles Final – Paris
Queen’s Official Birthday – UK
National days for the Russian Federation and the Philippines
• New Amsterdam legally becoming an English colony and renamed New York (1665)
• Anne Frank’s birthday (1929) – she received her famous diary as a birthday present in 1942
• the release of Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock (1954)
• Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison in South Africa (1964)
• the premiere of the first Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
• a coroner’s report ruling that a dingo was responsible for the death of baby Azaria Chamberlain in 1980 (2012)
11.00pm (AEST) – French Open Men’s Singles Final – Paris
Birthdays for Red Symons (1949), Stellan Skarsgård (1951), Tim Allen (1953), Chris Evans (1981), and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (1986)
• the birthdays of WB Yeats (1865) and Slim Dusty (1927)
• the premiere of the film Grease (1978)
Queen’s Birthday public holiday (sorry Western Oz and Queensland…)
NATO leaders summit – Brussels
Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial begins
Start of Men’s Health Week (until 20 June)
International Bath Day
Birthdays for Donald Trump (1946) and Boy George (1961)
• Captain William Bligh and his men reaching Timor after sailing 5,800 km in a 6-metre boat following the mutiny on the HMS Bounty (1789)
• the recording of first country music hit Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane (1923)
• the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London that killed 80 people and injured 74 (2017)
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