Straya Briefly for 13/04/2020

Morning all,

Here’s today’s headlines:


  • Australians observe Easter Mass at home after coronavirus moves services online (SBS)
  • Two hospitals closed in Tasmania as Australia’s coronavirus deaths reach 59 (SBS)
  • Universities warn 21,000 jobs could be lost unless government boosts assistance (New Daily)
  • Scott Morrison Opens Up About The Simple Gesture Which Helps Him Do His Job Each Day (Ten)
  • Coronavirus triggers Australian self-sufficiency push (SMH)
  • Returning travellers the biggest coronavirus threat to Australia, Chief Medical Officer says (ABC)
  • Opinion

  • The world order is being remade. It was before coronavirus, and it is accelerating now (ABC)
  • The global crisis hammers home this truth: people matter more than religion | Brad Chilcott (The Guardian)
  • ‘Are we there yet?’: WA’s long road to post-pandemic normality (ABC)
  • I’ve offered to go back working in ICU, but my best work is done in palliative care | Anne Myers (The Guardian)
  • Netflix is now a ‘legacy’ company in an industry that keeps on growing (ABC)
  • Pressed pause (The Monthly)
  • Business

  • Victorian state of emergency extended for another month as new coronavirus cases decline (ABC)
  • Australia coronavirus: Tasmania to close hotspot hospitals and shut down retail trading in north-west – as it happened (The Guardian)
  • Australian universities warn Covid-19 relief package not enough to stop 21,000 job losses (The Guardian)
  • Fertiliser group Incitec ramps up ‘vital’ supply so farmers can feed Australians (SMH)
  • Why the coronavirus must spark a revival in Australian manufacturing (New Daily)
  • Frydenberg says easing coronavirus restrictions ahead of medical advice ‘dangerous and unrealistic’ (The Guardian)
  • World

  • Goodies star Tim Brooke-Taylor dies from COVID-19 (ABC)
  • Israeli president rejects request for coalition talks extension (Deutsche Welle)
  • Coronavirus update: UK reels from COVID-19 as death toll passes 10,000 (ABC)
  • Will Macron pass the test on coronavirus testing in Monday night address? (France 24)
  • Total Covid-19 deaths in France surpass 14,000 while critical cases continue to drop (France 24)
  • Christians celebrate socially-distanced Easter services (Deutsche Welle)
  • Climate

  • The Guardian view on the climate and coronavirus: global warnings | Editorial (The Guardian)
  • BlackRock to advise EU on environmental rules for banks (The Guardian)
  • Carbon emissions from fossil fuels could fall by 2.5bn tonnes in 2020 (The Guardian)
  • Adding a pinch of salt to El Niño models (Science Daily)
  • A rapidly changing Arctic (Science Daily)
  • Dark water ice Antarctica (ABC)
  • Sport

  • British motorsport great Sir Stirling Moss dies aged 90 (ABC)
  • Covid-19 has turned players’ lives upside down but rugby was already fragile | Will Hooley (The Guardian)
  • Sir Stirling Moss: ‘A true icon’ – tributes paid to ‘larger-than-life’ legend (BBC Sport)
  • Agustín Pichot launches campaign to become chairman of World Rugby (The Guardian)
  • Sport in Australia will survive Covid-19 but those currently in charge might not | Geoff Lemon (The Guardian)
  • Peter Bonetti: Former Chelsea and England goalkeeper dies aged 78 (BBC Sport)
  • Further reading

  • Big Data Could Undermine the Covid-19 Response (Wired)
  • Britain’s World Police in Mandate Palestine (Jstor)
  • Gig Work Relief, Auto Care, and More Car News This Week (Wired)
  • How to Cover Your Tracks Every Time You Go Online (Wired)
  • Social Distancing Is Bringing Drive-In Theaters Back to Life (Atlas Obscura)
  • Friday essay: today’s grandmothers grew up protesting. Now they have nothing to lose (The Conversation)

  • You can sign up for this briefing via email here.

    Lanka Briefly for 12/04/2020

    Morning all,

    Here’s today’s headlines:


  • Curfew Timings changed (Sunday Observer)
  • Lotus Tower to light up for ‘heroes’ fighting COVID-19 (Sunday Observer)
  • Inoculated with the Precious Blood of Jesus! (The Island)
  • COVID-19 : India gifts 10 tonnes of medicines to Sri Lanka (The Island)
  • Special reward for all police officers (Sunday Observer)
  • NCE helps smooth flow of exports (The Island)
  • Opinion

  • Aren’t Penal Code & ICCPR Act Adequate To Tackle ‘Corona’ Racism? (Colombo Telegraph)
  • Covid-19: Emerging Questions, Testing Times (Colombo Telegraph)
  • Kapital-II Is Where The Ground For A Crisis-Theory Of Finance-Capital Is Found: So, Now We Are All Marxists! (Colombo Telegraph)
  • Covid-19 Lessons Still Unlearnt On Human solidarity! (Colombo Telegraph)
  • Effective planning must for essential goods and services (The Island)
  • Winning The Pandemic & Losing What Is ‘Endemic’ – Truly Sad! (Colombo Telegraph)
  • Business

  • Ceylon Cold Stores together with Keells Supermarkets and John Keells Foundation supports essential food distribution to disadvantaged households (The Island)
  • World faces new ‘Great Depression’ as virus toll mounts (The Island)
  • Atlas does it again, donates second AGV (The Island)
  • CCC to conduct private sector awareness seminar on recent changes in incoterms (Daily FT)
  • Papyrus to launch new range of ‘guilt-free’ fine papers at Sri Lanka Print 2020 (Daily FT)
  • India broadens rights for vulnerable groups though socially progressive legislation (The Island)
  • World

  • Coronavirus live news: Don’t yield to fear, says Pope, amid Easter lockdown (The Guardian)
  • It’s Trump v Biden, and experts say the President has one ‘significant strategic advantage’ (ABC)
  • A Muslim family holds the keys to this Christian church — but now it’s closed for the holiest time of year (ABC)
  • Easter celebrations continue under global lockdown (BBC News)
  • Coronavirus latest: US death toll crosses 20000 (Deutsche Welle)
  • Empty churches belie Trump’s Easter promise, highlight science’s role in keeping faithful safe (France 24)
  • Climate

  • Snow-white coral of once-vibrant Great Barrier Reef a sign urgent action must be taken | Adam Morton (The Guardian)
  • More pavement, more problems (Science Daily)
  • Pandemic worsens outlook for U.S. coal (IEEFA)
  • Analysis: Australia has an opportunity now to invest in the future (IEEFA)
  • Saudi solar solicitation attracts ultra-low bids, with prices at $0.016/kWh (IEEFA)
  • Getty Images Climate Visuals photography grant winners (The Guardian)
  • Sport

  • Paul Pogba: Man Utd midfielder ‘hungry’ to return to action (BBC Sport)
  • Coronavirus: Sheffield United furlough some staff (BBC Sport)
  • Rogers Cup: WTA Tour event postponed until August 2021 (BBC Sport)
  • Haas: US-owned Formula 1 team furlough majority of UK staff (BBC Sport)
  • Colby Cave: Edmonton Oilers forward dies aged 25 (BBC Sport)
  • Jonny May: England wing’s move shows Premiership confusion, says sports lawyer (BBC Sport)
  • Further reading

  • Why Being Laid Off Can Hurt So Much (Jstor)
  • Signal Threatens to Leave the US If EARN IT Act Passes (Wired)
  • Guajataca Lake in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico (Atlas Obscura)
  • Ramahyuck Cemetery in Perry Bridge, Australia (Atlas Obscura)
  • The Inside Story of the Beatles’ Messy Breakup (Smithsonian)
  • How Apple and Google Are Enabling Covid-19 Bluetooth Contact-Tracing (Wired)

  • You can sign up for this briefing via email here.

    What is natural?

    What does it mean for something to be “natural”? The concept is all over the place. As branding it is something to aspire to. A state that must be protected. Something distinct from humans.

    It’s especially jarring in discussions of nutrition and health. The absence of chemicals is ipso facto better for you. The diets of generations past something sacrosanct.

    But it’s often an arbitrary distinction.

    These orange carrots may not have been sprayed or grown with chemicals, but they’ve been altered by generations of farming. This slice of land may not have any obvious human alterations, no buildings or roads. But our presence in and around it has changed it. We’ve thinned it with our steps and diets. We’ve changed the climate, macro and micro.

    Our perceptions of nature are almost always skin deep. Our recognised impact only the most brutal. I’m halfway through a Quarterly Essay on the Murray-Darling Basin, where much of Australia’s agriculture is located and water politics is fierce.

    But right now I’m gripped by a contested state of nature:

    These stories of the river are increasingly contested, as the engineers attempt to model and restore some portion of “natural” flows. The irrigators on the Lachlan, in their interviews with me, posed the question of what the Water Holder thought the “natural” state of the Cumbung Swamp would have been, and what “sustainable” might look like. What is natural? What people remember from their childhood, what the traditional owners have recorded in stories, or what the water engineers’ models tell us would once have happened before we built dams and locks and weirs and drew away so much of the water for our own use? And how to account for climate change?

    The natural state lies outside living memory, in the realm of dreaming and anecdote. In both the real and the political landscape of the Murray–Darling Basin, nature is often referred to, used as a justification for action, but increasingly it is out of reach, a concept rather than a reality.

    Put aside that natural appears to be conflated with “healthy”. It’s temporal.

    The question seems to be about the baseline. At what point was the river system “natural”? And, if we pick a time when humans were present, why is it any more natural than it is now?