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Friday, 22 January 2021
According to an analysis of Google searches, it’s Australia’s favourite takeaway. As it is in China…
BIDEN - SIGNED, SEALED AND DRESSED...
Somewhere between the swearing-in ceremony, a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, fireworks, and a TV special, Joe Biden’s first acts as America’s 46th president were to undo swathes of former President Donald Trump’s legacy. He did that with the stroke of a pen by signing 15 executive actions and two directives.
WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS?
Look, it’s not every day that one of the world’s superpowers does a 180-degree turn on several significant policies, and that’s what happened yesterday. A few hours into his term, and taking a few minutes to complete, Biden recommitted America to the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organisation. He ordered a halt to the construction of the US-Mexico border wall. And on his top priority, Biden started to put into place his plan to address the coronavirus crisis, with more to come. “There’s no time to start like today,” Biden said in his first comments to the media as president. And there’s no time for self-congratulations – ‘healing the nation’ following Trump’s seeding of “massive political divisions and an assault on truth” is a huge challenge that will take more than a signed order, pundits say.
SURE. BUT WHAT ABOUT KAMALA’S PURPLE OUTFIT?
Oh ok, we’re done with the policy stuff… Yes, Vice President Harris wore a striking purple coat and dress in a nod to a notable forerunner. First Lady Dr Jill Biden gave a young designer a go in a turquoise tweed ensemble. Breakout star of the day, the first national youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman, was decked out in Prada. (She said some cool things too…) And crowd favourite Michelle Obama power-dressed in plum. But what about the blokes, eh? President Biden was in a Ralph Lauren suit, coat and mask. And Bernie Sanders’ mittens – they were made by a schoolteacher using repurposed wool sweaters and recycled plastic bottles. Our style muse – incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Volumes was said yesterday about who wore what because clothes can say a lot in those big moments. That includes the hot accessory of the Biden administration – the face mask.
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COVID CONTROL SEES RESTRICTIONS EASE
Four days of no new locally-acquired cases of the coronavirus saw 3 states go ahead with easing restrictions overnight. Tassie has reopened to those who have been in Greater Brisbane and Sydney (except for 10 areas in the city’s west). South Oz has upped crowd limits at home and at event venues, but the border remains closed to people from Greater Sydney. And Queensland also raised crowd limits and removed the state’s requirement to wear masks. On the federal scene, Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday announced changes for travellers looking to come to Australia. From today, they will need to take a COVID-19 test and return a negative result within 3 days of their scheduled flight. And while on the plane, it’s mask on. They are measures to limit the arrival in Oz of new strains of the virus and ease thepressure on hotel quarantine systems. There was some good news for travellers – Emirates will resume flying to Australia from next week.
JOBS GROWTH ROUNDS OUT ROLLERCOASTER YEAR
Nine out of 10 Aussie jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic were recovered by Christmas, according to the Bureau of Stats – a “spectacular recovery”, analysts said. Last month, our unemployment rate fell by 0.2% to 6.6%, accounting for 912,000 Aussies who are out of work. Unemployment fell around the country (except in South Oz), with 50,000 mostly full-time jobs added in December. The latest figures show 200,000 more people out of work than this time last year, but that’s down from 1 million (7.5%) when unemployment peaked last July. Despite the good news, some economists warn that the Morrison Government’s plan to end the JobKeeper scheme in March could significantly impact unemployment. Reminder: those who have been stood down by their employers but receive JobKeeper are counted as being employed.
SPORT AND POLITICS MAKES FOR ANOTHER FRAUGHT OZ DAY
Cricket Australia is standing firm on its decision to remove ‘Australia Day’ from its Big Bash League promotions for upcoming games, instead referring to the national day as ‘January 26’. It prompted criticism from PM Scott Morrison yesterday. “I think a bit more focus on cricket and a bit less focus on politics would be my message,” he said. Following recommendations from an Indigenous panel to make the sport more inclusive of First Nations people, players from 3 teams will also wear Indigenous jerseys on the day – a first in Aussie sport. Sydney Thunder’s Brendan Doggett, a Worimi man, said “I hate conflict,” but “if we wear the kit and hopefully even start one conversation then that is a win.” Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews urged his state not to attend planned ‘Invasion Day’ rallies. Citing the ongoing COVID-19 risks, he said “now is not the time to protest”. But it is a time to come together – over lamb. Those themes have been brought to life with chilling consequences…
GETTIN’ HIP WITH THE COOL KIDS
Australia’s favourite music countdown, Triple J’s Hottest 100, is kicking off at noon (AEDT) tomorrow, ranking the top 100 songs of 2020 as voted by listeners. While big Aussie acts including Flume, Ball Park Music, G Flip and Spacey Jane are all contenders, it’s UK act Glass Animals’ single Heat Waves that is the favourite with bookmakers. But keep an eye on roughie Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews – or to be specific, dance duo Mashd N Kutcher‘s techno remix of him telling Victorians to “get on the beers” – a beat the yoof of Australia apparently think is groovy…
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Gee some people are talented… This guy takes people’s narky social media exchanges – including this gem about a stolen broccoli casserole recipe – and turns them into banging tunes. We’ve woken up 2 mornings this week with this song about butter in our heads…
Heading towards becoming Netflix’s most successful original series of the last 12 months? It’s not Bridgerton or The Queen’s Gambit. It’s Lupin (which you can stream with English audio or in its original francais with subtitles). We’re 3 episodes into the 5-part series about a con man with a heart of gold, and it’s so good. Can’t wait to finish it this weekend.
And Australia Day has been the prompt for highlighting this updated and easy prawn cocktail. Not that you need an excuse…
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National Cabinet meets
A wedding anniversary for Melania and Donald Trump (2005)
• the birthday of Michael Hutchence (1960)
• the deaths of Queen Victoria (1901) and Heath Ledger (2008)
• the landmark Roe v Wade ruling, which saw the US Supreme Court legalise most abortions (1973)
From 12.00pm (AEDT) – Triple J’s Hottest 100 kicks off
• the Shaanxi Earthquake, the deadliest ever recorded that killed 830,000 in Shaanxi Province, China (1556)
• the first musicians being inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, including Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, and Elvis Presley (1986)
10.00am (AEDT) – Triple J’s Hottest 200 kicks off, counting down numbers 200 to 101
Portuguese presidental election
UN International Day of Education
Birthdays for Neil Diamond (1941) and South Korean president Moon Jae-in (1953)
• Apple Computer Inc unveiling its revolutionary Macintosh personal computer (1984)
• the release of Adele’s second studio album 21 (2011)
• former US Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar sentenced up to 175 years in prison after being found guilty of molesting over 150 girls (2018)
7.30pm (AEDT) – Announcement of the Australian of the Year – ABC TV
The virtual World Economic Forum begins with the theme “Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust” (on until 29 Jan)
A birthday for Ukrainian comedian & president Volodymyr Zelensky (1978)
• Antarctica being identified as a new continent by Charles Wilkes’ American naval expedition (1840)
• the Beatles hitting #1 in the US for the first time with I Want to Hold Your Hand (1964)
• first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Australia, from a returning traveller from Wuhan, China (2020)
Australia Day, marking 233 years since Captain Arthur Phillip raised the Union Jack at Sydney Cove (1788)
A birthday for Ellen DeGeneres (1958)
• the Rum Rebellion, the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history (1808)
• the deaths of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and 7 others in a helicopter crash (2020)
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