Morning mail: schools may not be Covid-safe, Beirut unrest, restaurant side hustle

·7 min read
<span>Photograph: Daniel Pockett/AAP</span>
Photograph: Daniel Pockett/AAP

Good morning. Schools in New South Wales and Victoria may open their doors next week, but teachers are concerned not enough has been done to welcome them back safely. Restaurants and bars are also slowly reopening as restrictions ease, but many found a lucrative side-hustle during lockdown – fashion.

Teachers are warning that some students will be left out in the cold – literally – when schools go back next week, as plans to make classrooms Covid-safe will not be ready. Concerns have been raised over poor ventilation, a lack of air filters and no guidance on how to safely manage class sizes. Principals say they will not be able to fit every student in classrooms if they adhere to the NSW government’s ventilation report, which says how many students should be in each room. “We have situations where room capacity leaves eight to 10 students out in the cold, literally,” the senior vice-president of the NSW Teachers Federation, Amber Flohm, said. Schools in NSW and Victoria have been promised air purifiers and ventilators, but do not currently have them.

Rural Liberals are backing the “upsides” of climate action and a move towards a net-zero emissions target despite warnings from some within the federal Nationals that regional Australia would “pay the cost” of decarbonising the economy. Liberal MPs are speaking in favour of more ambitious targets before a crucial Nationals meeting on Sunday where MPs will consider the Morrison government’s plan for emissions reduction cuts. Federal Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey said he did not believe regions would “cop it in the neck” from the shift in policy after the Nationals leader in the Senate, Bridget McKenzie, said this week the regions would “pay the cost”.

A bow-and-arrow attack that left five people dead in Norway appears to have been an “act of terror”. Police said the 37-year-old suspect was a Muslim convert with previous criminal convictions who had previously been flagged as a possible extremist. “The events in Kongsberg currently appear to be an act of terror, but the investigation … will determine in closer detail what the acts were motivated by,” the intelligence service PST said.


Australian supplies of hydroxychloroquine became strained as it was considered a potential Covid treatment, before being disproved by medical studies.
Australian supplies of hydroxychloroquine became strained as it was considered a potential Covid treatment, before being disproved by medical studies. Photograph: George Frey/Reuters

Lupus sufferers pleaded for more supplies of hydroxychloroquine before the federal government told Clive Palmer it didn’t want more of the 33m doses he wanted to donate as a potential Covid treatment. In some cases patients with legitimate need for the drug were unable to fill prescriptions due to shortages.

Financially subsidising egg freezing for non-medical reasons has widespread support among Australian women, a new study suggests. The process, which costs about $10,000 per cycle, is only subsidised for women with medical conditions.

Political donations from gambling agencies have skyrocketed and there accusations that the Australian horse racing industry has received special treatment in regards to allowing crowds at major events.

Labor has accused the Coalition of playing politics with “women’s and children’s” lives after pressure to pass the controversial visas cancellation bill. Labor senator Kristina Keneally has called for the government to do more to protect victims of domestic violence on temporary visas.

There is increasing pressure for the government to toughen up its “toothless tiger” of a proposed federal integrity commission, amid criticism from a growing number of Liberal MPs, the crossbench and experts that the draft bill is too weak.

The world

Protesters demand the removal of Tarek Bitar, the lead judge of the port blast investigation, near the justice palace in Beirut.
Protesters demand the removal of Tarek Bitar, the lead judge of the port blast investigation, near the justice palace in Beirut. Photograph: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

At least six people have died in Beirut’s worst street violence in 13 years. The clashes, which forced much of the city into lockdown by heavy fighting, were triggered by a protest against a judicial probe into the massive blast in the city’s port last year.

A Chinese man has been sentenced to death after a court found him guilty of killing his ex-wife by dousing her in petrol and setting her alight while she was livestreaming on social media.

A UK police commissioner has resigned after being told there was a “catastrophic lack of confidence” in his position after victim-blaming comments he made after the murder of Sarah Everard.

A Canadian woman is “grateful to be alive” after a meteor crashed through her roof and on her bed, narrowly missing her.

Recommended reads

Fashion has become a vital “side hustle” for Australian bars and restaurants struggling through lockdown. Restrictions have forced the hospitality industry into survival mode, which gives wearing your local joint on your sleeve – or your bag or your head – a certain poignance. It’s not just about limited runs or a clever design; these items say you care about your city. “Souvenir T-shirts have a greater meaning to consumers now. There is a mutual understanding of helping neighbourhood hangouts and the unspoken clout in wearing restaurant merch,” says Kraggy, a mononymous prints and graphics strategist.

While researching depictions of miscarriage in popular culture, Isabelle Oderberg found herself re-watching Six Feet Under and the series’ episode in which the character Brenda has a miscarriage the day before her wedding. It was an honest and nuanced and, even after two decades, the show still feels ahead of its time, Oderberg says. “There are many issues we don’t deal with well, as individuals and as a society. At the top of the list must surely be death … So it was quite the punt for Alan Ball to set an entire show in a funeral home. And even more so to open every episode of the drama with a death. Sometimes these deaths are heartbreaking; sometimes they’re comedically dark; sometimes they’re just ordinary. But it worked. It still does.”


What do you do when the existential threat of climate change lands at your door? In the first episode of this three-part series, we look at how families, communities and Pacific leaders are facing huge decisions about the future of their islands and trying to figure out if they can stay on their land, or whether they’ll be forced to leave.

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.

Farhad Bandesh made wine in Iran before he was forced to flee. He has now brought that ancient tradition to Australia. Lifestyle editor, Alyx Gorman, recommends this story about one of the many ways that asylum seekers and refugees contribute to Australia’s vibrant food and wine culture for today’s episode of Australia Reads.

Listen to the best of Guardian Australia’s journalism on Australia Reads podcast on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.


Rugby league Immortal Norm Provan has died, aged 89. “He was an idealised version of the game’s ultimate player – strong and tough, skilled and composed, dedicated and selfless. Except that this idealised version of the man did exist. He did play, and he was truly phenomenal,” writes Nick Tedeschi.

Media roundup

Dreamworld is suing the engineer who certified the Thunder River Rapids ride as safe just a day before the disaster that killed four tourists, reports the Courier Mail. A woman has been arrested after allegedly pretending to be a doctor and handing out more than 600 fake exemptions for Covid testing, vaccinations and mask wearing, according to the Brisbane Times.

Coming up

A judgment is due today in a NSW’s vaccine mandate test case.

And if you’ve read this far …

Actor Daniel Craig has revealed he frequents gay bars to avoid the “aggressive dick swinging” of hetero spaces.

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