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Latest updates on Key Economic Indicators
Australian Dollar: $0.7690 USD (up $0.0007 USD)
Iron Ore Feb Spot Price (SGX): $167.49 USD (down $2.95 USD)
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Gold Price: $1,840.71 (up $3.32 USD)
Dow Jones: 30,946.20 at 3.08 pm NY time (up 131.94 on Friday's close)
All changes compared to 7am yesterday, except Dow Jones.
China has recruited 'Hundreds' of academics
The Australian - Page 1 & 4 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Max Maddison - PortMac.News Summary
China expert Alex Joske has used a submission to a parliamentary inquiry to raise concern about the extent of China's talent recruitment programs in Australia.
Joske says he has identified 325 scientists and scholars at Australian tertiary and government research institutions who have been 'recruited' by the Chinese government via programs such as its Thousand Talents Plan, and warns that the actual figure could be more than 600.
Joske told the committee that many academics have received fellowships worth more than $1m from the Australian Research Council while being employed in China.
Tennis doubts on player positives
The Australian - Page 3 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Rachel Baxendale, Courtney Walsh - PortMac.News Summary
Victoria recorded four new COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine on 19 January, including two Australian Open tennis players and a non-playing participant.
A total of seven cases are now linked to the grand slam event, after health authorities advised that two previously reported cases were instances of viral shedding.
However, Tennis Australia has suggested that at least two of the positive cases may also be instances of shedding past infections.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley has also claimed that none of the seven positive cases are tennis players.
There are currently 34 active COVID-19 cases in Victoria, and all but three are in hotel quarantine.
Business busts jump: Victoria leads nation in Covid insolvencies
Herald Sun - Page 9 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by John Dagge - PortMac.News Summary
Data from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission shows that 115 businesses in Victoria went into external administration in November, as Melbourne emerged from a 112-day lockdown.
The figures show that 306 buinesses collapsed nationwide during November, including 101 in New South Wales.
Overall, the number of Australian businesses that collapsed fell to a 20-year low in 2020, due to factors such as stimulus measures and loan repayment deferrals.
Sal Algeri of Deloitte expects an increase in insolvencies in 2021, although he does not expect the worst-case scenarios of some economists to be realised.
Permits the way to go: experts
The Australian Financial Review - Page 4 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Tom Burton - PortMac.News Summary
Professor Catherine Bennett of Deakin University has called for the federal and state governments to adopt a national travel permit system for future COVID-19 outbreaks.
She contends that this would allow authorities to quickly lock down affected areas, rather than imposing hard border closures.
Tourism industry leaders have also urged a uniform approach to interstate travel rules.
The issue is expected to be on the agenda for the national cabinet meeting on 21 January.
ScoMo hints at international travel this year
The Australian Financial Review - Page 1 & 4 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Tom McIlroy, Lucas Baird - PortMac.News Summary
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged the possibility that Australia's international borders could be reopened before the end of 2021.
Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy recently warned that international travel is unlikely to resume until 2022 at the earliest, but Morrison has indicated that this could be brought forward, subject to medical advice and the COVID-19 vaccination program.
Morrison has also signalled that the federal government may be open to additional financial support for the travel industry.
Student exodus to last 'Years'
Herald Sun - Page 11 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Matt Johnston, Shannon Deery - PortMac.News Summary
Universities Australia estimates that the national economy has taken a COVID-19 hit of between $3.1bn and $4.8bn due to the loss of revenue from international students.
It warns that this cost could blow out to $16bn over four years, including $5bn in Victoria.
International Education Association of Australia CEO Phil Honeywood has urged the state government to start allowing overseas students to gradually return, arguing that it has permitted 1,200 tennis players to arrive for the Australian Open.
Industry calls for 'HospoKeeper' to replace JobKeeper
The Australian - Page 1 & 2 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Rosie Lewis - PortMac.News Summary
Restaurant & Catering Australia CEO Wes Lambert has urged the federal government to continue to provide financial support for the hospitality industry after the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme ends in March.
Lambert has written to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan arguing the case for additional sector-specific support for hospitality workers.
Dubbed 'HospoKeeper', the wage subsidy would be available to accommodation and food services businesses that are 'substantially affected' by government-imposed coronavirus restriction, and would run for six months.
Care worker takes on compulsory vaccines
The Australian Financial Review - Page 5 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by David Marin-Guzman - PortMac.News Summary
The question of whether employers can legally require their staff to be inoculated for COVID-19 is likely to attract growing scrutiny ahead of the vaccine roll-out in Australia.
An unfair dismissal claim against aged-care provider Ozcare may become a test case for COVID-19 vaccination.
A home care assistant alleges that she was unfairly dismissed for refusing to receive a flu shot because she had experienced a severe allergic reaction when she was young.
The case will be heard by the Fair Work Commission.
Panel findings back PM's WHO criticism
The Australian Financial Review - Page 5 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Andrew Tillett - PortMac.News Summary
The independent panel that is reviewing the global handling of COVID-19 has found that the World Health Organization did not act quickly enough in responding to the pandemic.
The panel's interim report also concludes that health officials in China could have responded more quickly when the first cases of the novel coronavirus appeared.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attracted international scrutiny in April 2020 when he called for WHO to be given similar powers to United Nations weapons inspectors in responding to a disease outbreak in a country.
Almost 30% of Covid patients in England readmitted to hospital after discharge - study
The Guardian - Page Online : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Natalie Grover - PortMac.News Summary
New research in the UK has heightened concerns about the long-term health effects of COVID-19.
The research, which is based on data from Britain's Office for National Statistics and general practitioners, shows that 29.4% of the 47,780 people in England who were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in the first eight months of 2020 were readmitted within 140 days of being discharged.
Some 12.3% of them subsequently died.
In addition, a total of 14,140 were diagnosed with respiratory conditions, including more than 6,000 who had never experienced respiratory problems prior to contracting the virus.
$50bn boost in rush for new homes
The Australian - Page 1 & 2 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Simon Benson - PortMac.News Summary
New data shows that the federal government received 75,143 applications for the HomeBuilder grant during the first phase of the scheme, including more than 35,000 during the last three weeks of 2020.
The Treasury had forecast in June that it would receive just 27,000 applications for the grants by 31 December.
The unexpected surge in demand for HomeBuilder will result in the cost of the scheme rising from $688m to around $2bn.
However, the scheme is now expected to boost residential construction activity by up to $18bn over the next year and increase broader economic activity by $50bn over this period.
The HomeBuilder grant was reduced from $25,000 to $15,000 on 1 January.
Scrapping responsible lending laws a 'disaster'
The Guardian Australia - Page Online : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Ben Butler - PortMac.News Summary
There is growing opposition to the federal government's plans to abolish responsible lending laws, which were introduced in 2009.
Drew MacRae from the Financial Rights Legal Centre has urged Senate crossbenchers to vote against any such move, while Financial Counselling Australia CEO Fiona Guthrie warns that scrapping the responsible lending regime would make it easier for lenders to take advantage of borrowers.
The final report of the Hayne royal commission recommended that the responsible lending laws be retained.
Shares surge on investor hopes
The Australian - Page 19 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Rebecca Le May - PortMac.News Summary
The Australian sharemarket rallied on 19 January, with the S&P/ASX 200 adding 1.10% to close at 6,742.6 points.
Bingo Industries rose 20.44% to $3.30 in response to a takeover bid, while Tyro Payments was up 25% at $2.90. Meanwhile, Westpac rose 1.94% to $21.60 and Dominos Pizza Enterprises finished 7.97% higher at $89.59.
Digital news code looms as early test of Biden era
The Australian Financial Review - Page 8 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Tom McIlroy - PortMac.News Summary
Sydney University associate professor Salvatore Babones says incoming US president Joe Biden is likely to strongly support the nation's technology companies.
This could result in the US putting pressure on the Australian government to water down its revenue-sharing code of conduct for digital platforms.
The Trump administration has also expressed its opposition to the proposed code of conduct.
Professor Babones adds that Netflix and Disney+ may also lobby Biden to oppose any move to extend local content rules to streaming platforms in Australia.
Australia's proposed media code could break the world wide web, says the man who invented it
The Guardian - Page Online : 20 January 2021 - Original article by Calla Wahlquist - PortMac.News Summary
The federal government's revenue-sharing code of conduct for digital companies has been criticised by computer scientist and internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee.
He has used a submission to a Senate inquiry into the proposed legislation to warn that the code would undermine the world wide web's fundamental principle of being able to freely link to other web sites and content.
He warned that requiring digital platforms such as Facebook and Google to pay to host such links could make the web unworkable if other countries were to adopt similar measures.
'Just leave us alone' Facebook demands
The Australian - Page 5 : 20 January 2021 - Original article by David Swan - PortMac.News Summary
Facebook has used a submission to a Senate inquiry into media diversity to argue that itself and Google have already been subjected to intense scrutiny in Australia over the last four years, and the inquiry should therefore not focus on them.
Facebook also contended that the inquiry should recognise that Facebook is not responsible for the challenges facing the Australian news industry.
Facebook also argued that news content is not a major source of its revenue.