Morning mail: Melbourne lockdown, Afghan evacuation plea, my neighbours the Whitlams |

Good morning. It’s Monday 7 June: Melbourne is still in a coronavirus lockdown, a lot of people are in favour of mandatory vaccines for frontline workers, and Meghan and Harry have had another baby. This is Imogen Dewey with the main stories to start your week.

Two further cases of local Covid-19 transmission – a resident and a nurse at an aged care home – were identified yesterday in Victoria in addition to the two infections officially recorded by the state, as Western Australia was put on alert when a returned overseas traveller tested positive after leaving hotel quarantine. Labor leader Anthony Albanese yesterday called for purpose-built quarantine facilities in every state before the next election, saying, “We can’t afford to keep having these lockdowns.”

Federal health minister Greg Hunt yesterday announced an extra 330,000 vaccines would be directed to Victoria, calling for people to seize the “moment of momentum” and get a jab. A new survey shows more than three-quarters of Australians support a mandatory vaccine for frontline workers in aged care and other vulnerable settings.

Zooming out: more than 200 prominent figures, including former world leaders, are urging G7 countries to pay two-thirds of the US$66bn ($85bn) needed to help vaccinate the world’s poorest.

And the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, AKA Harry and Meghan, have announced the birth of a daughter, named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor after the family nickname for her great-grandmother, the Queen, and in honour of her late grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales. The baby is eighth in line to the British throne.

Australia

A retired Australian officer has estimated 1,000 Afghan allies and their families are in danger and need to be resettled in the coming weeks.
A retired Australian officer has estimated 1,000 Afghan allies and their families are in danger and need to be resettled in the coming weeks. Photograph: The AGE/Fairfax Media/Getty Images

The Australian government is under increasing pressure to do the “right thing” and evacuate Afghan staff who have supported its diplomats and soldiers across Afghanistan – and are now in serious danger of reprisals by the Taliban.

The NSW government has purchased more than 60,000 hectares of farmland near Broken Hill for an outback nature reserve, home to at least 14 threatened species. It’s the state’s second-biggest national parks land procurement in the last decade

The world

‘Critics may point out that the president would do well to face up to attacks on democracy at home,’ writes Martin Pengelly.
‘Critics may point out that the president would do well to face up to attacks on democracy at home,’ writes Martin Pengelly. Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters

Joe Biden will use his visit to Europe this week to “rally the world’s democracies” in a reset of US foreign policy after four turbulent years under Donald Trump (who returned to the stage this weekend).

Benjamin Netanyahu has said a newly formed Israeli coalition that is poised to unseat him as prime minister was the result of “the greatest election fraud” in the history of democracy.

Myanmar’s security forces reportedly killed 20 people in clashes with villagers on Sunday. If confirmed, the death toll would be one of the worst days of violence in the country in nearly two months.

Turkey’s environment minister has pledged to defeat a plague of “sea snot” threatening the Sea of Marmara, with a disaster management plan he said would secure its future.

A new wave of repression in Uganda has led to the abductions of dozens more opposition activists by security forces. President Yoweri Museveni, 76, has been in power for 35 years, and there is mounting evidence of systematic human rights abuses under his rule. Singer turned politician Bobi Wine, Uganda’s main opposition leader, has demanded the world “not turn a blind eye”.

Recommended reads

‘It was a time when everything seemed possible and most ideas for social reform resulted in services to the community.’
‘It was a time when everything seemed possible and most ideas for social reform resulted in services to the community.’ Photograph: Keystone Press/Alamy Stock Photo

“When Gough Whitlam moved into my Cabramatta street, my life was transformed,” Christine Sykes writes. “The Whitlams came from another world. Gough and Margaret were tall, university-educated and spoke with a BBC accent. My parents hadn’t been to high school. But Whitlam’s reforms directly benefited me and my family, and while many have been wound back or diluted, I believe the foundations for his vision of equality remains with me – and, I hope, in Australia.”

Shokupan is the anti-sourdough. Subtly sweet, soft and highly photogenic, Japanese milk bread is on the rise thanks to a slew of bakers and cafe owners. As one tells Annie Hariharan, the closest thing he and his family could find when they moved to Australia was white bread from Brumby’s Bakery. “But it was never quite the same.”

Plus: oh, for the love of cod! (AKA what happened last night on MasterChef).

Listen

When Covid-19 emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, much of the focus of the initial investigation fell on a seafood market. But in the months since, no definitive link has been proved. While scientists initially poured scorn on a lab leak theory, suspicion has recently fallen on the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which studies coronaviruses. In the absence of any other confirmed origin, Joe Biden has asked US intelligence agencies to consider the possibility and to investigate.

So how seriously should we take it? Today on Full Story, the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont looks at the available evidence.

Full Story

Full Story

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.

Sport

A fan in support of the Long Walk and Dreamtime match between Essendon and Richmond at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
A fan in support of the Long Walk and Dreamtime match between Essendon and Richmond at Perth’s Optus Stadium. Photograph: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos/Getty Images

“Followers of Australia’s Indigenous game have a dream,” writes Scott Heinrich, “that one day the ‘A’ in AFL is no longer a derisive symbol of branding spin, but illustrative of a sport that truly belongs to the entire nation.”

Roger Federer has pulled out of French Open, a day after reaching the fourth round, to protect his knee before Wimbledon.

The end of any sporting season is generally a time of discovery, writes Emma Kemp. Australian football has learned – again – that scheduling domestic and international fixtures concurrently can cause a bit of a problem.

The Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan has smashed the women’s 10,000m record by 10 seconds.

Media roundup

Crime agencies believe Qantas has been infiltrated by bikies and other organised crime groups for “activities that pose a risk to national security”, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. A UK-Australia free-trade agreement would “stand up for rules-based trade against those who threaten to undermine it” (read: China), a British trade secretary writes in the Australian. On a related note, the ABC has suggested Beijing “shot itself in the foot” in its trade war with Australia.

Coming up

A report is due out on the future of the NSW economy.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or comments about any of our newsletters please email newsletters@theguardian.com.

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