Australia’s Queensland state on Wednesday said it would close its border with New South Wales state to hold back a second wave of COVID-19, while the country’s second-largest city Melbourne was set to shut most businesses from midnight.A surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne has forced the state of Victoria to impose a night curfew, tighten restrictions on people’s movements and order most businesses to stop trading from Wednesday night.Other states are imposing new restrictions of their own to prevent any spillover form Victoria and an even bigger hit to the national economy, which has plunged into its first recession in nearly three decades. Australia has withstood the pandemic much better than most other countries, with 18,729 cases and 232 deaths in a population of 25 million.But Victoria, which accounts for about a quarter of the nation’s economy, has nearly two-thirds of Australia’s coronavirus cases and is expected to report more than 700 new infections on Wednesday, according to media reports.Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has already shut her northeastern state’s border to Victorians, said travelers from New South Wales and the capital Canberra also would be barred from Saturday.”We have seen that Victoria is not getting better, and we’re not going to wait for New South Wales to get worse. We need to act,” Palaszczuk said at a media conference in Brisbane. After two months of no community transmission in the state, two travelers who returned to Queensland from Melbourne last month tested positive to the virus and there have been at least three cases of local transmission, the state’s deputy premier said.”It is clear now that Australia is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 and we cannot afford to have that second wave here in Queensland,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.Queensland, a popular holiday destination for people from the colder southern states, reported one new and 11 active cases on Wednesday.Victorians are bracing for the shutdown of a range of businesses from hair salons to furniture stores, and curbs on construction activity, meatworks and warehouses, hitting 250,000 jobs.In another blow to the economy, Australia’s number two airline, Virgin Australia Holdings, said on Wednesday it would axe 3,000 jobs under its prospective new owner Bain Capital.Topics :
DT: Were the candidates’ performances in line with expectations for tonight?I think Romney outperformed what a lot of people expected. I think Obama was a little bit flat and underperformed. But I think his supporters may have been more optimistic because he is such an eloquent stump speaker. That doesn’t necessarily translate to great debating skills. Those are different kinds of speaking styles. But nonetheless I think people thought that would play into his debate performance. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faced off during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver on Wednesday night.Communication Professor Tom Hollihan, an expert in political debates, analyzed the candidates’ performances in the domestic policy debate. DT: What do you think the two candidates should work on going into the next two debates?TH: I think they’re going to be trying to get Obama to show a little more energy, to be a little sharper and a little less long-winded. I think they’re going to try to get him to be a little more concrete in going after some specific things or flaws in Romney’s positions. I think [with] Romney, they’re going to try to say, “You gave as well as you got in this debate, but you didn’t make the final say. And you have to be more prepared about how to be concrete.”The foreign policy debate, I think, will be an advantage to Obama. This debate was somewhat of an advantage for the challenger because Obama’s most difficult set of facts is the nature of the economy right now. But he’s been so effective with the foreign policy debate that I’d look for that to be an advantage for the president. DT: To what extent do you believe the debate will affect the public?TH: What typically happens in these debates is that a challenger who can hold his own against an incumbent picks up at least some short-term gain in the polls. Whether or not that gain is maintained in days to come is really hard to determine. I think there is going to be some closing of the polls. I think Mr. Romney is going to see some advantage. But I think it will not be at all clear that he will hang on to that in days to come. DT: Did the debate raise any new issues in the campaign?TH: No, I don’t think there was much of anything new. It seemed to me that Obama tried to play the debate strategy very conservatively. He did not go on the attack. He really avoided issues like the Bain Capital or the exporting of jobs, he didn’t mention the 47 percent statement. He seemed to play a very conservative strategy. And Romney was much more in control of the emotional dimension of the debate, taking the attack directly to the president, being sharply critical of the president’s positions. I think that was the much more defining characteristic. I don’t think there was much substantively new in this contest. Daily Trojan: Did voters learn anything new about the two candidates from the debate?Tom Hollihan: I think what they saw was two different visions for how to take the country forward -— one vision that is much more focused on using government as a resource to help people and another vision that is much more reliant on free enterprise and individuals and states as opposed to the federal government.What I don’t think they really learned was precisely what Mr. Romney will do. I think he stylistically did a beautiful job debating and I think he was very articulate at communicating his ideas. He seemed enthusiastic and prepared and ready to be there.I think the one problem was he was unable to be real concrete and specific in terms of how he would achieve these things. I mean, at one point, he was forced to say my view of government is not that you go in with a proposal but that you listen and negotiate and talk to people and that’s what [he] did in Massachusetts. And I think in the days to come, that’s going to be the focus of a lot of the Democrats’ energy and attack –— to say, “He hasn’t really articulated what he’s going to do. He’s walking away from most of the specific commitments during the course of his campaign so far and he isn’t promising exactly what he’s going to do or how he’s going to do the proposals he wants to get to.” DT: Who do you think ultimately won the debate?TH: I don’t ever answer that question in terms quite that stark. … It’s a matter of which candidate better achieved the objective they have to achieve. And I would give the advantage to Romney on that. I think the fact is the Republicans will be enthusiastic about how well he performed in this debate, whereas Democrats will be more likely disappointed that the president didn’t deliver a knock-out blow. DT: Do you think the audience picks up on that?TH: [With] the immediate audience, it’s always a little bit unclear. What we know about debates is that the partisan voters are likely to go in and find enough reasons to support their own candidate’s position to confirm what they already had believed to be true. Undecideds often don’t even watch the debate so they are more influenced by the spin and the press coverage and conversation with their pals following the debate.
With Guyana’s 49th Republic Day anniversary approaching, the Education Ministry on Friday launched its Mash band which will take to the streets of Georgetown on February 23 in a bid to capture the top prize.The launch was held at the Ministry’s Brickdam office in the presence of Education Minister Nicolette Henry; Director of the National Centre for Educational Research Development, Jennifer Cumberbatch; Head of the Unit of Allied Arts, Lorraine Barker-King and other education officials.The Education Minister explained that they have incorporated the concept of STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics – in their band and moreover, the classroom environment.“This is part of a larger drive by the Ministry, particularly in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and the Arts more recently this definitelyEducation Minister Nicolette Henry flanked by revellers as the Mash band was unveileddepicts the arts,” said Henry.According to the designer Neilson Nurse who represents Nandre’s Kreations, some 50 revellers will be participating in the respective categories.He said the sparkling gold and black costumes showcases the country’s oil sector, robotics and the use of technology in education.“The whole idea is trying to bring out robotics and the importance of education technology. Black is one of the colours you use when referring to technology and because we’re rediscovering El Dorado, we decided to go with a bit of gold.”Meanwhile, Lorraine Barker-King of the Unit of Allied Arts emphasised on the importance of arts in the education sector, in bringing balance in learning.“The Ministry of Education is a strong advocate of the arts, as well as a trailblazer and this is evident in having a unit which promotes the expressive arts and physical education,” said Barker-King.This year, 39 activities were scheduled to mark the Republic anniversary celebrations, held under the theme “Celebrate Mash 2019; With Victory in Mind – Rediscovering El Dorado”.Meanwhile, a chutney dance competition is expected to excite patrons over in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) at the National Track and Field Centre also on February 9.The Rosignol Stelling Road in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) will be the venue for this year’s semi-final of the Chutney Song Competition on February 10.Other exciting events are expected to take place within the month of February, including the Children’s Costume and Float Parade at the National Park and the Carib Soca Monarch final at D’Urban Park; both on February 16.This year the Masquerade Jamboree will be held at the Stabroek Square on February 21.The flag-raising ceremony will be hosted on February 22 to usher in the Costume and Float Parade on February 23.The Mashramani festivities do not end on February 23 this year, as a Champions in Concert is slated for March 9, in Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).