Daily News Roundup

July 2, 2020



The Northern Territory has recorded its first coronavirus case since April after a 30-year-old man returned home from overseas via Melbourne, reinforcing the stand of other states to block their borders to Victorians.

The man had flown to Darwin via Brisbane on Monday, after returning from a virus hotspot in Melbourne

The news came as Victoria recorded 77 new coronavirus cases overnight, including 13 linked to outbreaks, 37 discovered in routine testing and 27 that are still under investigation

NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the Darwin man had quarantined in Melbourne after returning from overseas, and then spent time with family in one of the city’s hotspots.

“People will be anxious hearing this, but can I assure Territorians that this individual followed all the precautions,” she said.

“This is a returned traveller and all the precautions have been followed so there is a very low risk to the community.”

She said the man had flown to Darwin via Brisbane on Monday and returned a positive test result for coronavirus last night.

“We will be getting in touch with some of those on the Brisbane-to-Darwin flight as we look into this,” she said.

Meanwhile, as infections surge across the US and states impose new restrictions, President Donald Trump says he hopes the virus will “disappear”.

Speaking with Fox Business during an interview at the White House, Mr Trump said he still believed the virus, which has killed more than 125,000 Americans, would go away.

“I think we’re [going to] be very good with the coronavirus,” he said.

“I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”

Mr Trump has made similar comments in the past.

In March he claimed the virus would disappear “like a miracle” and suggested infected people could get better by “sitting around and even going to work”.

His latest remarks came as the number of infections continued to surge across the country.

On Wednesday the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 43,644 new cases across the country in a 24-hour period.

Texas recorded its largest single day spike, with 8,076 confirmed by the state’s health department.

Louisiana recorded its largest spike since April, with authorities confirming another 2,100 infections.


The publisher of a Sydney newspaper has lost its appeal in the high-stakes defamation case of actor Geoffrey Rush, who was awarded a record multi-million dollar payout.

Nationwide News appealed after the Oscar winner was last year awarded almost $2.9 million in damages over defamatory articles published by The Daily Telegraphs in 2017.

The stories alleged Rush behaved inappropriately towards Eryn Jean Norvill, his co-star in the Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.

He denied the claims.

The record payout included $850,000 in general and aggravated damages, $1.9 million for past and future economic loss, and $42,000 in interest.

The full Federal Court today dismissed all grounds of the appeal, meaning the awarded damages stand.

The decision comes eight months after the appeal was heard before the full Federal Court, comprising Justices Jacqueline Gleeson, Richard White and Michael Wheelahan.

Nationwide News said the damages awarded were excessive and singled out several legal decisions made by the original judge, Justice Michael Wigney, which it argued were legal errors.


Landmark research by a Western Australian academic has found male and female magpies don’t have the same song, with the louder, chattier birds more likely to be female.

Researcher and Associate Professor with the University of Western Australia, Amanda Ridley, said there was still much more to learn about how the birds communicate, reports the ABC.

“It’s really fascinating that a bird that’s so iconic in Australia hasn’t had all that much research done on them,” Ms Ridley said.

“It’s not always obvious to the human ear, but we’ve found females call a lot more often and at much higher maximum and minimum frequencies.

“This is new information. Magpies are famous for their song — it’s such an evocative Australian thing.

“But not much has been looked into around differences in their calls and this is the first time it has been reported that males and females call differently.”

Ms Ridley has been studying the well-known birds for eight years and has made some surprising discoveries.

“They are one of the most vocally complex songbirds in the world,” Ms Ridley said.

“They have really complex communication compatible to rudimentary human language.”

“We’re looking more and more into the vocals and what we’ve also found is that magpies can tell the difference between individuals who give them reliable information and those who don’t.

“So they can tell if another magpie is lying.”

Ms Ridley recorded two magpies in the wild, one that was signalling/warning other birds in its group when it saw a predator, a snake, and another that signalled when it did not actually see the predator or was not sure there was danger.

Both calls were played to several groups of magpies they have been studying and the call from the bird who saw the predator — the reliable call — was passed on and the birds responded as if there were danger.

The second call was not passed on and the birds ignored it.

Ms Ridley said Australians will be hearing the magpie song for many months to come as breeding season will continue until it peaks around August and September.

She said many people didn’t know magpie songs could last up to 70 minutes and achieve volumes in excess of 80 decibels — as loud as a lawn mower.

“There’s a lot more to learn,” Ms Ridley said.

“I think magpies can still teach us a lot about communication, cognition and cooperation.”

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