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Daily Archives: January 1, 2021

With the worst possible PM at the worst possible time, Britain’s got no chance of a happy new year

Back in the mid-’90s, when Tony Blair and I were picking Paul Keating’s considerable political brain ahead of the 1997 election campaign, among the many wise, colourful observations made by the then Australian prime minister was his view that “you can’t polish a turd”. Boris Johnson seems determined to prove …

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How to make us all a little better, starting with teenagers

They’re starting with teenagers, because we all know that they are the most irritating human beings to be around, and need the most improvement. Actually, that might not be the reason. Philanthropist Eric Schmidt, the former Google Alphabet executive chairman and investor who is behind the program, believes that it …

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Sydney’s new investor-grade towers crush their tenants and kill the city’s soul

I’ve always thought seventies modernism rather harsh. Some of the houses were lovely – perched on cliffs, tumbling down hillsides, open to bush or sea. But in the city, all those dull samey towers and endless red-brick walk-ups that Bob Carr so famously loathed seemed austere to the point of …

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Scott Morrison’s one-word gesture won’t unify Australia, but a bigger conversation might

Only hours before the clock ticked over into 2021, the Prime Minister of Australia announced a single word would be changed in the national anthem; from we are “youngand free”, to we are “one and free.” A gesture, he says, that “takes nothing away, but adds somuch” to our nation’s …

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After the vaccine: Sore arm, yes. Headache, maybe. Regrets, no.

That is not how most people who get the vaccine feel afterward, but reactions like Wilson’s were not uncommon in the clinical trial results of the two COVID-19 vaccines now being distributed across the United States. Pfizer, the company that makes the one she received, reported that some 13 per …

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Getting to the heart of things, deep in the Otways

For 20 years Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and Lorne weren’t on our radar. Too far. Apollo Bay wasn’t even mooted. Wye River – where’s that? It was the front beach, the surf beach, Fisho’s or my mate’s backyard for the endless summer Test match, all at Torquay. My reason for dragging …

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Renowned beauty was half-Australian princess of Burma

After World War I, the Limbin prince was allowed to return to Burma and his extensive family settled in Rangoon. Small and exquisite, with a will of steel, Princess Ma Lat was a free spirit whom nobody liked to counter. It was clear she would marry whom she chose. Herbert …

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Crown’s Sydney casino is at risk, but is it worth keeping?

Crown’s casino licence now hinges on former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin’s findings from the year-long investigation into the group, which was triggered by a series of reports by this masthead. The recommendations are due by February 1. Loading Crown could lose the licence completely, or have strict conditions imposed. …

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In duelling New Year messages, Trump reflects while Biden looks ahead

He repeated his call for vaccines to be distributed more quickly. Trump, who had COVID-19 in October, frequently played down the severity of the pandemic and oversaw a response that many health experts have criticised as disorganised, cavalier and sometimes ignorant of the science behind virus transmission. But in his …

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