For the second successive week, the number of Covid-19 cases globally has remained at the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, with over 5.7m new weekly cases, following nine consecutive weeks of increases.
The data, from the latest WHO epidemiological update published today, also said that new deaths continue to increase for the seventh consecutive week, with over 93,000 deaths. The South-East Asia Region continues to report marked increases in both case and death incidences.
India is currently driving the vast majority of this upward trend; however, notable increases have also been observed elsewhere in the region, for example in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
India accounts for over 90% of both cases and deaths in the region, as well as 46% of global cases and 25% of global deaths reported in the past week.
The highest numbers of new cases were reported from India (2,597,285 new cases; 20% increase), Brazil (421,933 new cases; 4% increase), the US (345,692 new cases; 15% decrease), Turkey (257,992 new cases; 32% decrease), and France (163,666 new cases; 23% decrease).
News Corp Australia is reporting the media company is poised to announce details of multi-million dollar deals it has secured with Facebook and Google under the news media and digital platforms mandatory bargaining code.
On Thursday News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson and Chief Financial Officer Susan Panuccio will hold a third quarter fiscal update in New York and the announcement may be part of that event.
According to the report in the Australian the deal with the global giants to pay for content in Murdoch’s Australian newspapers is close.
Seven West Media, owner of the West Australian and the Seven network announced a five-year deal with Google and a three-year agreement with Facebook.
Ahead of the budget next week, communications minister Paul Fletcher said the government would give the Australian Communications and Media Authority $4.2m to implement the code.
Just because we’re slowly coming back to the office, doesn’t mean those home renovations have stopped.
Building approval figures out today show approvals across Australia surged 17.4% in March thanks to ultra-low interest rates and the impending end of the government’s homebuilder grant scheme.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports private sector dwellings, excluding houses, rose 63.6%, while private sector houses rose 0.1%.
This March figure follows a 20.1% rise in total dwellings approved in February.
The homebuilder scheme – which provides $15,000 in eligible renovations plans – was meant to wind up on 31 March, which partly accounts for this enthusiastic surge in March applications.
But in April the scheme was extended for another twelve months, so economists expect these red hot building approvals figures to stay elevated.
New South Wales saw the largest building approvals growth, at 26.9%. Followed by Victoria at 24.7%, and Queensland at 12.1%.
Total dwelling approvals in Western Australia and Tasmania fell (-6.4% and -4.8% respectively).
Daniel Rossi, Director of Construction Statistics at the ABS, said:
The total number of dwellings approved in March was the second highest recorded, only exceeded by the November 2017 result.
All of these figures are seasonally adjusted.
See you at Bunnings!
The Morrison government will use next week’s budget to establish a national recovery and resilience agency and create a new climate service to help manage the risk of natural disasters.
The government will allocate $600m to the agency to fund resilience projects such as bushfire and cyclone-proofing houses, building levees for flood control, and improving the resilience of telecommunications and essential supplies.
Senior government figures, including Scott Morrison and the deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, are on the road in regional Queensland ahead of next Tuesday’s economic statement in Canberra.
The Coalition on Wednesday will also foreshadow a new round of the Building Better Regions Fund with a budget of $250m, as well as funding for business cases for water infrastructure projects in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania to the tune of $22.3m.
You can read Katharine Murphy and Paul Karp’s full report below:
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