Good morning, it’s Friday 5 February, and Imogen Dewey here bringing you the latest on the virus-that-need-not-be-named, Trump’s impeachment trial and still more about Craig Kelly.
Epidemiologists say we need to get guards out of quarantine hotel corridors and get fresh air and CCTV in – pointing out, reasonably, that it doesn’t make sense to man corridors given they could spread more infectious variants of Covid-19. The warning comes after an Australian Open quarantine hotel worker in Melbourne tested positive for coronavirus four days after another guard tested positive in Perth (where it’s still masks on outdoors, please). Authorities aren’t ruling out airborne transmission, but Daniel Andrews doesn’t expect the outbreak to affect the Australian Open – though the draw has been pushed back. Meanwhile, as our borders stay shut to most others, international students are starting to look elsewhere for their studies.
Controversial Liberal MP Craig Kelly’s rocky week continues, with posts disappearing from his Facebook timeline almost as quickly as the prolific correspondent has been posting. He is currently under fire for sharing Covid misinformation, especially from Labor, but even if the Liberals dump Kelly the Nationals are apparently “keen to bring him in”.
TikTok now plans to feature banner warnings on suspect content in a bid to dissuade users from sharing videos featuring misinformation. But one commentator says a teenager sharing his haranguing of Britain’s chief medical officer on the platform shows social media is “out of control” (even if his mum did confiscate his PlayStation as punishment). In other social media news, an Elon Musk tweet sent the price of “dogecoin” up by 50%.
Donald Trump might be off Twitter, but appears to have taken up a new post-presidency hobby: revenge – now focused on punishing Republicans he feels betrayed him. Democrats have now asked Trump to testify at his impeachment trial. A former UK ambassador has accused his own leaders of getting too close to Trump, seduced by “pie in the sky promises” on post-Brexit policy. Our own leader, Scott Morrison, has opted to use his first call with new US president Joe Biden to talk China, Covid and climate.
The Victorian and Queensland governments have attacked the federal Coalition over its industrial relations omnibus bill, saying the proposed changes would leave workers worse off and undermine state wage-theft laws.
The chief executive of furniture retailer Nick Scali is set to receive a multimillion-dollar dividend payment after the company’s fortunes were boosted by jobkeeper payments.
An alleged kidnapping victim who was rescued after waving through a hole in her own car’s boot had been detained for 13 hours, a NSW court has been told. The car was stopped on Wednesday on the Hume Highway, 20 minutes after another driver saw her hand waving for help.
Some witnesses were too afraid of repercussions from the Chinese Communist party to give public evidence to a Senate inquiry into issues affecting diaspora communities in Australia, something the committee’s Labor chair called “extremely troubling”.
Human rights groups have urged Japanese brewing giant Kirin to cut ties with its Myanmar business operations, alleging continued part-ownership of breweries there makes it effectively complicit in war crimes committed by the military (who have now blocked access to Facebook).
The US has announced an end to its support for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen, citing the role the bombing campaign has had in creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Archaeologists have unearthed bronze age graves at the Stonehenge site of a controversial new road tunnel, which experts have already suggested risks disastrous harm to the precious ancient landscape.
Human-caused global heating is directly responsible for the threat of a devastating flood in Peru that is the subject of a lawsuit against the German energy company RWE, according to groundbreaking new research. Meanwhile Brazilian mining giant Vale has agreed to pay $7bn compensation for a deadly dam collapse that killed 272 people.
“It’s too complicated to categorise myself as thriving or surviving,” writes 23-year-old Michelle Lim in her second contribution to our Dreams interrupted series. “But if the last year has proven anything, it has shown me that despite the adversities that young people go through, we still come through the other end, scared but determined.” Still, Brigid Delaney points out on a grimly related note, “if you thought the pandemic would bring on an era of affordable housing in Australia – you were wrong”.
As the world shifts to a more plant-based diet, we seem to be warming to the freezer aisle, writes Max Brearley. The mantra “fresh is best” is not always true – especially, says one chef, when it comes to seafood. Another seafood expert agrees the frozen section is nothing to be scared of. “I don’t subscribe to the bullshit of exclusively eat local. I mean, that’s fine if you live in Port Lincoln or Port Stephens or maybe Albany, but you know it’s urban imperialism gone wrong if you think you can do that in Sydney.”
Sam Van Zweden’s ambitious and looping first book tackles food – as well as class, mental health and diet culture – with intimacy and self-awareness. Her sprawling memoir “attempts to unpick the tangle of ideals, expectations and contradictions that lie at the heart of our relationship with food, with each other and with our own bodies”, writes Bec Kavanagh.
Michaela Coel has been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award for I May Destroy You, a day after her BBC/HBO show was snubbed at the Golden Globes. A relief to everyone puzzled about all the Emily in Paris nods (including one of the show’s own writers).
Still mulling over Craig Kelly? In today’s episode of Full Story, Lenore Taylor and Mike Ticher join host Gabrielle Jackson to discuss Scott Morrison’s public rebuke of Craig Kelly’s spread of Covid-19 misinformation and what responsibilities politicians and the media have in reporting on the pandemic and conspiracy theories.
Collingwood players have issued an apology for their part in allowing a culture of racism to develop at the club. An open letter attributed to “the 150 footballers and netballers of Collingwood” begins with the word “Sorry”, continuing that “through our silence we feel responsible for these injustices”. It comes in response to the Do Better report, commissioned in the wake of allegations made by former player Héritier Lumumba of a culture of racism at the AFL club.
A Q+A panel last night also tackled Collingwood’s racism problem. A Chinese company wants to build a $39m city (with major seaport) “on our doorstep”, reports the Australian. And according to the West Australian, arson investigators might have found the bushfire ground zero on the outskirts of Perth.
National cabinet will today discuss hotel quarantine and international flight caps, among other issues, and the federal government will release its future fuels strategy discussion paper.
And if you’ve read this far …
“They were dognappers and they knew what they were doing.” A 60-year-old dog daycare owner in Portland was “scared to death” when her van was stolen as she unloaded a client’s pet. It contained 12 dogs, including her own, Howard, who was on the front seat. Some fast-thinking local sleuths leapt to assist, tracing the vehicle in time to rescue the canine band. Someone should make this into a sweet animated film.
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