Daily News Roundup

January 28, 2021


Thursday, Jan 28

New Zealand has emerged as the world leader in controlling COVID-19 with Australia coming in the 8th spot in a new international ranking of political leaders.

Australian think tank the Lowy Institute has ranked countries from around the world in a new interactive tool that crunches the data on confirmed deaths and testing rates.

Finding Australia is in the Top 10 countries in the world to tackle COVID 19, it also ranks smaller countries including Vietnam, Iceland, Thailand, Cyprus and Rwanda as top performers.

The worst country in the world to handle the pandemic according to the Lowy Institute was Brazil, followed by Mexico, Colombia, Iran and the United States which is ranked as the 94th country for performance in a list of 98 countries.

Surprisingly, the United Kingdom is ranked only 66th by the Lowy Institute, but it ranks India as 86th.

China was not included in the ranking at all, on the grounds there wasn’t enough publicly available testing data on COVID infections.


The top countries, with New Zealand the highest ranked and Australia in eighth position.Source:Supplied

“Although the coronavirus outbreak started in China, countries in the Asia–Pacific, on average, proved the most successful at containing the pandemic,’’ the report states.

“By contrast, the rapid spread of COVID-19 along the main arteries of globalisation quickly overwhelmed first Europe and then the United States. However, Europe also registered the greatest improvement over time of any region — with most countries there at one point exceeding the average performance of countries in the Asia–Pacific — before succumbing to a second, more severe, wave of the pandemic in the final months of 2020.

“Synchronous lockdowns across the highly integrated European continent successfully quelled the first wave, but more open borders left countries vulnerable to renewed outbreaks in neighbouring countries.”

“Meanwhile, the spread of the pandemic only accelerated in much of the Americas (North and South), making it the worst affected continent globally.”

Interestingly, the COVID performance index finds countries with “authoritarian” models of lockdowns and border closures have “no prolonged advantage in suppressing the virus arguing democratic nations dealt with the pandemic more effectively.

It follows debate over whether authoritarian countries including China had an advantage when ordering draconian lockdowns and COVID safety rules.

“Authoritarian regimes, on average, started off better — they were able to mobilise resources faster, and lockdowns came faster,” the Lowy Institute’s Herve Lemahieu said.

“But to sustain that over time was more difficult for them.”

The Lowy Institute argues democratic countries such as Australia had better long-term results.

Rich countries were susceptible to COVID because of international air travel but also had more financial resources to fight the pandemic

“Some countries have managed the pandemic better than others – but most countries outcompeted each other only by degrees of underperformance,’’ the report states.

“The severity of the pandemic in many countries has also changed significantly over time, with infections surging again in many places that had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks.


“No single type of country emerged the unanimous winner in the period examined. Variations between individual countries were far more substantial than those between broad categories of countries. Nor did a single theory convincingly explain the differences observed in national outcomes, despite some health measures proving far more effective than others.

“However, certain structural factors appear to be more closely associated with positive outcomes. For example, smaller countries (with populations of fewer than 10 million people) proved more agile than the majority of their larger counterparts in handling the health emergency for most of 2020.

“On the other hand, levels of economic development or differences in political systems between countries had less of an impact on outcomes than often assumed or publicised. There may be some truth in the argument put forward by the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama that the dividing line in effective crisis response has not been regime type, “but whether citizens trust their leaders, and whether those leaders preside over a competent and effective state”. In general, countries with smaller populations, cohesive societies, and capable institutions have a comparative advantage in dealing with a global crisis such as a pandemic.”


A split-second decision placed Kate Leadbetter, her partner Matty Field and their unborn baby in the path of a rolling car, leading to a tragedy that has rocked the nation. 

Ms Leadbetter and Mr Field were walking their two dogs, Frankie and Django on Tuesday and had decided to take a different path than usual, The Australian reported.

While usually the couple would usually turn right after leaving their home in Alexandra Hills, they turned left, instead, heading straight towards the intersection at Finucane Road.

The couple and their unborn son died at the scene after they were hit by an allegedly stolen car that police allege was driven by a 17-year-old.

The juvenile has since been charged with the couple’s murder and a raft of other offences, and police have revealed there could be precedent to charge him with a third count of homicide.

Ms Leadbetter’s sister took to social media to remember the pair, saying her heart will “forever ache”.

Last night, the community rallied together to hold a candlelight vigil for the pair, while Ms Leadbetter’s younger sister shared photos and a touching tribute online, saying she found comfort in the fact the pair had died “together”.

Matty Field and Kate Leadbetter were expecting their first child when they were tragically killed in an accident at Alexandra Hills on Tuesday. FacebookSource:Supplied

“(It) still doesn’t feel real. You never really expect to lose three people you love so much without any warning,” she wrote.

“It’s one of those things you hear about but never think will happen to you and your family.

“When I say I genuinely can’t process this, I mean it … I would do anything to hear her laugh one last time and to have Matt pick on me over something stupid only a brother would pick on.

“They were two of the greatest people on this earth and were so happy, it’s the happiest I’ve ever seen the both of them.

“I find comfort in knowing they passed doing something they love and doing it together.

“My heart will forever ache and I’m going to miss them both more than any words could explain, but I will live every day for them and make them proud.”

On Wednesday night, Ms Leadbetter’s aunt and uncle made a desperate plea to firm up youth offending laws, as they remembered their niece as “everything that’s beautiful in this world.”

“I remember Kate as my flower girl … That was my nicest memory of Kate,” Danielle Leadbetter said from a roadside vigil on Wednesday.

Dozens of cards, floral tributes and gifts were left at the crash site on Wednesday, as the community mourned the tragic loss.

Kate Leadbetter was pregnant with her and Matty Field’s first child when they were hit by an allegedly stolen car while walking their dogs.Source:Supplied

Meanwhile, two GoFundMe accounts set up to support the couple’s family have passed their goals.

The first, set up to cover funeral costs, surpassed its $5000 goal on Wednesday night, and by Thursday morning more than $10,000 had been raised.

Organiser James Bellwood, a local who witnessed the crash, said “any amount will help.”

“Thank you for everything. The community is really coming together,” he wrote.

Another fundraiser was set up to support the couple’s dog, Frankie, who bolted from the scene before he was found “deep in bushland” on Wednesday morning. She has Addison’s disease and required urgent veterinary care.

However, the local vet waived Frankie’s fees, so the more than $7000 raised on that fundraiser will also go to help cover funeral costs.

The sister of Kate Leadbetter has thanked those who have donated to a GoFundMe set up to help the families cover funeral costs.Source:Supplied

Ms Leadbetter’s sister thanked everyone who had donated.

“The love you have all shown me, my family and Matt’s family has been so real and so moving and I’m very grateful that there (are) still good people in this world,” she wrote.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk extended her condolences to the Leadbetter and Field families on Thursday morning, saying she wants answers as to how it happened.

“Everybody’s heart’s breaking and I really extend my sympathies to the family of Kate and Matthew,” she told Channel 9.

“It is an absolute tragedy. It’s absolutely horrific, and things like this should never happen.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to Facebook on Wednesday night to pay his respects to the couple, saying he was heartbroken for their family and friends.

“Three beautiful young lives gone in the blink of an eye. I cannot begin to imagine the grief their families are feeling,” he wrote.

“I’d like to extend my thanks and support to the first responders and witnesses to this horrific accident who fought so hard to try and save their lives.”


Oscar and Emmy-winning actress Cloris Leachman has died at the age of 94. 

The actress and comedian had a Hollywood career spanning over seven decades, and her work in television saw her break multiple records: She was nominated for a record 22 Emmys, and won eight, tying her with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the most awarded actress in Emmy history.Cloris Leachman has died aged 94.Source:News Limited

Her breakthrough role came when she was well into her 40s, playing landlady Phyllis in the iconic 70s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which led to her own spin-off show, Phyllis.

She also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1971 film The Last Picture Show. She appeared in several hit Mel Brooks films during that decade, including Young Frankenstein and High Anxiety. 

Leachman didn’t slow down in the later decades of her career, giving it her all aged 82 as the oldest contestant to date on the 2008 season of US Dancing with the Stars and appearing in TV shows like Two and a Half Men, Hot in Cleveland, The Office and, most recently, the 2019 reboot of Mad About You.

The last of her eight Emmy wins came in 2006, for a guest role on the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle.

TMZ reports Leachman died of natural causes this week at her home in Encinitas, California, with her daughter, Dinah, by her side.

“She had the best life beginning to end that you could wish for someone,” her son told the outlet, adding that “she left everyone with a lot of love.”

Leachman was married to Hollywood director George Englund from 1953 to 1979, their union producing four sons and one daughter. The former couple stayed close long after their split: Englund helped Leachman write her 2009 autobiography.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.