As coronavirus cases increase in Victoria, the state has gone into full lock-down. Other states are scrambling.
Aged care homes have been particularly hard hit and the federal government has sent in emergency health teams to help.
On the lighter side, we look at electric cars in Australia, plant-based meat in supermarkets, and 5G conspiracies.
We also look at chefs to former dictators – giving a new definition to “your last meal”.
The one-minute weekly recap
- On Sunday, the Victorian government announced stage four coronavirus lockdown restrictions including overnight curfew.
- PM Morrison has announced a $1,500 pandemic leave disaster payments for Victorians isolating.
- QLD has also locked out travellers from greater Sydney. Queensland’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk seems to be a fan of Trump’s “build the wall” slogan.
- Prices fell 1.4 percent in the June quarter with childcare prices fell 36.7 percent and petroleum fell 30.1 percent. Now if we could only send the kids back to childcare.
- The ASX increased 0.5 percent in July, the fourth positive monthly gain
- International investors have shown confidence in the long-term prospects of the Australian economy with strong demand for the government’s latest issue of 30 year bonds. The proverbial can has been kicked a few more years down the road – the kids will pay it off?!
- Australia has granted “major project status” to an ambitious $22 billion plan to export power from a giant solar farm in the country’s north to south-east Asia via undersea cable. What? That sounds like progress! Energy other than coal or uranium!
- The ACCC has ruled that Google and Facebook must share revenue with media in Australia.
- The US economy shrank 9.5 percent in the June quarter while coronavirus deaths have passed 150,000.
- The CEOs of the four US tech giants were interrogated last week by a US senate committee on competition. Competition? What competition?
A Sniippet for You
Electric cars have few downsides except price (The Guardian, 30 July)
- Electric cars are easier to maintain and will have longer life-spans than petrol cars
- 100 percent torque with zero RPM
- Out of the 19.9m cars on Australian roads in 2020, only 14,253 are electric
- There are very few second-hand electric cars available, and Australia has become dumping ground for second-hand petrol cars
- A new company in Tasmania is trying to bulk import electric cars
Federal rescue teams sent to Victorian aged homes (AFR, 28 July)
- Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) have been sent to Victoria to help aged care homes
- Over 170 elderly patients have been moved to hospitals
- “Some of the stories we’ve seen are unacceptable and I wouldn’t want my mum in some of those places.” Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews.
Before you buy a holiday property in Queensland, read this (AFR, 31 July)
- QLD developers sell off building management rights with apartment owners having no say – illegal in NSW
- Caretakers can also sell their management contracts for a building, with apartment owners still having no say
- Management companies recoup the contract purchase price in fees
Home listings jump in July as vendors rush to sell (AFR, 4 Aug )
- Listings jumped 40.8 percent in Canberra, 34.2 percent in Hobart, 21.6 percent in Sydney, 15.7 percent in Brisbane, and 10.3 percent in Melbourne
- The increase is unusual for this time of year
- The large rise in Sydney and Melbourne’s listings over the past 12 months shows that the markets are deteriorating
Recessions are awful for young people – but things were already bad for Australians under 35 (The Guardian, 2 August)
- Since the GFC the average labour income of those under 25 has fallen by 14 percent in real terms because of a fall in hours worked and little wage increases
- 25-34 year-olds with bachelor degrees are substantially worse off in 2018 than in 2001
- Only 36 percent of twenty-somethings have a full-time job
V2food’s plant-based meat is heading to supermarkets (AFR, 4 Aug)
- Plant-based v2mince and v2burgers will be positioned in the meat aisles at Drakes outlets and had been priced so they weren’t any more expensive than actual meat
- V2food is a joint venture between CSIRO and Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods (owner of Hungry Jacks)
- Research by YouGov found that 49 percent of Australians want to cut down their meat consumption for health or sustainability reasons
A Sniippet of Finance advice
How to Know If You’ve Been Hacked, and What to Do About It (Wired, 19 July)
- The clearest sign that you’ve been hacked is when something has changed e.g. you can’t login with your usual username and password
- Get in touch with the company that owns your account; they have policies covering hacked accounts
- As well as a password manager, multi-factor authentication (MFA) should be turned on for as many sites and services as possible
A Sniippet of Brain food
What is the truth about 5G? (ABC Four Corners, 3 August)
- Full 5G (millimetre wave) promises data speeds more than 100 times faster than 4G and with less latency
- People are concerned about 5G’s radiofrequency radiation but it is similar levels to TV, microwaves, radio, and 4G
- 5G waves don’t travel as far as 4G and will require more antennas
- The first suggestion of a link between coronavirus and 5G was from an anonymous account that regularly posts pro-Russian government content on 19 January
A Sniippet of Trivia
- Fidel Castro’s passion for dairy products verged on addiction. He had a daily milkshake and once had 18 scoops of ice cream after a meal
- Saddam Hussein once emptied a bottle of Tabasco sauce into his chef’s kofta mix as a joke. When guests ate the koftas, they thought Saddam was trying to poison them.
- Many of the chefs have never recovered from the trauma of working for someone who could have had them killed at any moment