Daily News Roundup

February 18, 2020

Tuesday, FEBRUARY 18

Supermarket giant Coles has admitted underpaying staff in its supermarket and liquor stores and has allocated $20 million to pay employees what they are owed.

The company said it was reviewing arrangements for staff who were paid a salary under the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA) and had so far found about 5 percent of supermarket and liquor store managers were not paid correctly.

The total underpayments plus interest came to $16 million from its supermarket arm and $4 million from the liquor division and affected 1 pc total staff.

Chief executive Steven Cain apologised to affected staff and said they would be contacted once the review was finalised.

“We aim to make Coles a great place to work, and apologise to those team members who have been unintentionally affected,” he said.

“We are working at pace with a team of external experts to finalise our review. Once completed, we will contact all affected team members, both current and former, to remediate any identified differences in full.”


China has published the first details on nearly 45,000 cases of the coronavirus disease that originated there, saying more than 80 per cent have been mild and new ones seem to be falling since early this month.

The report from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention gives the World Health Organisation a “clearer picture of the outbreak, how it’s developing and where it’s headed”, WHO’s director-general said at a news conference.

“It’s too early to tell if this reported decline will continue. Every scenario is still on the table,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The new disease, called COVID-19, first emerged in late December in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, and has spread to more than two dozen other countries.

China says about 70,000 people have been infected and more than 1770 have died in mainland China, but numbers are questionable because the country is counting many cases based on symptoms rather than the methods WHO uses.

The new study reports on 44,672 cases confirmed in China as of February 11.

The virus caused severe disease such as pneumonia in 14 per cent of them and critical illness in 5 per cent.

The fatality rate for these confirmed cases is 2.3-2.8 per cent for males versus 1.7 per cent for females.

That’s lower than for SARS and MERS, two similar viruses, but COVID-19 ultimately could prove more deadly if it spreads to far more people than the others did.


Australian Hollywood star Margot Robbie says she would love to have dinner with Prince Harry and Meghan in Los Angeles, describing the Duke of Sussex as “a great guy”.

The Sun newspaper in the UK has reported the The Oscar-nominated actor, who has known Harry for some time, said the couple “have their reasons” for moving away from the UK.

Harry and Meghan are living in Canada with their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor as they prepare to drop their royal styles and quit the monarchy in favour of financial freedom.

“I have known Prince Harry for a while and he is a really great guy,” Robbie told The Sun.

“I know as much as anybody what a big decision it is to move halfway across the world.

“I still miss London a lot but I had my reasons for moving and they have their reasons for the decision.

“It isn’t something taken lightly. If they are going to spend more time in LA, we would love to have dinner with them.”

Harry and Meghan are due to officially start their new life outside royal duties in the spring of this year.

They had initially hoped for a dual role, supporting the Queen, the Commonwealth and Harry’s military associations, but the idea was deemed unworkable.

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