Good morning, this is Helen Sullivan bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Wednesday 5 February.
An eight-year-old boy has become the 13th confirmed case of coronavirus in Australia, as the government prepares to evacuate more Australian nationals from Wuhan. The boy is the youngest infected in Australia so far, and a Chinese citizen and from Wuhan. He was travelling in a group with a 44-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman who have been confirmed as Queensland’s other cases of coronavirus. The child remains in isolation at the Gold Coast University hospital in a stable condition. A group of 241 Australians have been moved into quarantine in the barely used immigration detention centre on Christmas Island. Some of those quarantined have complained the conditions in the detention centre are unhygienic, particularly the allocation of shared bathrooms, exacerbating the potential for transmission of an outbreak of coronavirus. Evacuee Belinda Chen told the ABC: “I understood that there would be very limited facilities here, but the actual condition is no facilities at all. It’s thousands of times worse than I imagined.”
Facebook has failed to stop a coordinated far-right operation profiting from disinformation and anti-Islamic hate almost two months after it was publicly exposed. The Guardian revealed in December that a network of Facebook’s largest far-right pages were part of a coordinated commercial enterprise that for years had been harvesting Islamophobic hate for profit, prompting promises from the social media giant that it would crack down on the network. Two months after Facebook was made aware of the scheme, an analysis by the Guardian has confirmed that a number of the pages are still feeding off anti-Islamic content to drive readers to the same for-profit, third-party websites.
Democrats are heading to New Hampshire with no frontrunner after the Iowa debacle. The candidates had hoped the Iowa caucuses would begin to sort out a chaotic primary field, identifying clear frontrunners. Instead, Iowa was a disaster. As a mobile app meant to help steer organisers through the caucus turned out to be defective, the contest fell into confusion. “They couldn’t organise a caucus in a brewery. Or a church, or a library, or a school gymnasium. Democrats’ heroic charge to end Donald Trump in the final battle for decency and democracy has spiralled into vote-counting carnage and chaos,” writes David Smith. Here’s a quick guide to the chaos. And with the proviso that this may all change once we have some actual results – who can we say are the initial winners and losers from this mess?
Scientists are racing to save endangered fish from bushfire ash. A desperate rescue mission to the only known habitat of the stocky galaxias, in Kosciuszko national park, may be the last hope for the species. The effect of the ash is compounded by dead leaves washing into waterways. As organic matter decomposes it draws oxygen from the water, potentially triggering mass fish kills. Ash and decomposing material have contributed to the death of thousands of native fish at more than 20 different locations across the Murray-Darling Basin and in coastal areas of NSW over the past fortnight.
“Dark money” would be eliminated from Australian politics under a plan by senator Jacqui Lambie, which would require the declaration of multiple small donations and for fundraising dinners to be declared as gifts.
Global heating is a serious threat to the world’s climate refuges. Biodiversity hotspots that have given species a safe haven from changing climates for millions of years will come under threat from human-driven global heating, a new study has found.
Nearly 10,000 people have now signed up to join a class action demanding compensation over the botched robodebt scheme, almost twice as many as were on board when the government ditched the most controversial aspect of the scheme last year.
Aboriginal drivers in Western Australia are more likely to get fines from police officers than traffic cameras. Senior police in Western Australia were warned 12 months ago of a “clearly disturbing” trend of Aboriginal drivers being overrepresented in police-initiated traffic stops.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite broadband service has taken its first step into the Australian market. The communications regulator has added the company to a list of satellite operators allowed over Australian airspace.
Dominic Raab has urged all British nationals in China to leave the country if they can as the coronavirus continues to spread. These are the coronavirus quarantine precautions around the world.
Senators began a round of speeches on how they think the third presidential impeachment trial in US history should end, before a final vote scheduled for Wednesday afternoon on whether to convict Donald Trump.
Boris Johnson has promised “urgent action” on the climate crisis, taking personal leadership of this year’s UN climate talks after a blistering attack by the sacked former minister who was to lead them.
Sinn Féin has stepped up its criticism of Ireland’s political establishment as polls show the party poised for a historic breakthrough in Saturday’s general election.
The first same-sex couple to dance at Vienna’s Opera Ball say they are continuing rather than destroying the event’s 200-year-old traditions, since they are “good dancers and stick to the dress code”.
Anita Heiss remembers the night Cathy Freeman won gold at the Olympics. “Most people of my generation know exactly where they were that night – in the stadium as spectators or volunteers, in their living rooms, in bars in other countries – and they can also recall in detail the atmosphere of that phenomenal moment for one athlete and her country.”
The specific origins of the coronavirus are still undetermined, but it seems the world has made up its mind about the culprit, writes Yang Tian: “An entire ethnic minority is living in the aftermath of having their humanity reduced to a virus strain on the world stage. Face masks worn by anyone of Asian descent now serve as scarlet letters that stain our identities and mark our otherness. It feels like we’re inconveniencing our society by simply existing.”
“We are very good at commemorating in Australia,” writes Ben Quilty, “Rightfully commemorating the slaughter of Anzacs at Gallipoli, the deaths of hundreds of thousands in war at our war memorials, the bombing of Darwin, the landing of Dirk Hartog on the Western Australian coast and the legend of Don Bradman in Bowral. We’re good at building memorials for people, if you’re white. In 2020 we need to continue the conversation around the recognition of the first massacres to take place, on our soil, in our midst.”
Scott Morrison regularly claims Australia is “meeting and beating” its emissions reduction targets. But is that true? In this episode of Full Story, Guardian Australia environment editor Adam Morton explains why we should focus less on targets and more on emissions.
On the eve of the 2020 AFLW season, Jack Banister talks to Carlton coach Daniel Harford. “Tucked away in his office, with a half-finished smoothie and a copy of the 2020 AFLW Prospectus on his desk, senior coach Daniel Harford is unfazed by the chaos, and the clock ticking away the hours until round one.“Yeah, bit going on,’ he says laconically.”
Quinton de Kock has led South Africa’s seven-wicket thrashing of England in the first ODI at Newlands. England’s World Cup-winning 50-over team stuttered back into action with a performance that choked on its own ambition early on before falling back on an old-school rescue job from Joe Denly, writes Barney Ronay.
The Australian reports that “Nationals leader Michael McCormack is being warned he could face another challenge before the election if he doesn’t improve his performance.” The ASX is set to rise as Wall Street and European investors are reassured by China’s central bank intervening to curb the economic impact of the coronavirus, according to the Australian Financial Review. On the ABC: urban farms in the Hunter Valley are feeling the impact of climate change.
Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe will deliver a speech to the National Press Club in Sydney.
A state funeral will be held for former Northern Territory chief minister Ian Tuxworth.
And if you’ve read this far …
Marc Veyrat, the French celebrity chef at the centre of the “Cheddargate” scandal, has declared he never wants a Michelin star for his new Paris restaurant.
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