Aust shares dip but 1.27% higher for week

Australia’s share market has closed lower but provided gains for the week, with an analyst tipping that a good February earnings season could see the ASX return to the lofty 7000-points range.

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Emirates to resume flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane less than a week after cancelling services during coronavirus

Less than a week after it announced the cancellation of flights to three Australian cities, Emirates will resume passenger flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from next week.

From Monday, flights will resume to Sydney, while services will return to Melbourne from Tuesday and to Brisbane from Thursday.

Passenger flights between Dubai and Perth, as well as cargo operations to all Australian points, continue as scheduled.

Hundreds of Australians were last week left stranded after the major airline announced the cancellation on Friday night.

“We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers in the period where we had to temporarily suspend our services,” a statement distributed by the airline read.

“The pandemic has made international flying incredibly challenging, and the dynamic restrictions and requirements implemented by the different state authorities in Australia had added complexity and burden to our operations.

“This led us to temporarily suspend passenger services while we engaged with various stakeholders regarding crew protocols and other operational details.”

Emirates confirmed crew operating on Australian flights were already mandated to take a PCR coronavirus test 48 hours prior to scheduled flight departure times from Dubai.

“With the latest adjustments, these tests will be administered in their homes, and our crew will also observe self-quarantine in their homes from the moment of testing until their flight.”

“This is an added burden for our crew as individuals, for our rostering, and operating costs, and therefore this decision was made after careful review and consideration.

“We are grateful that our wonderful crew teams are very understanding and supportive, which has enabled us to quickly restart passenger services.

“The safety of our customers and colleagues is always our top priority, and as always, we work closely with the authorities and health experts in this regard.”

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Emirates suspends flights to three major Australian cities

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Covid: Nearly 2m people got first Covid vaccine in last week

Around 200 vaccines are being given every minute, the health secretary tells the Commons.

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ASX ends little changed, slips for week

Investors spent the week waiting for US President-elect Joe Biden’s economic stimulus plan details but failed to get a boost after it was revealed.

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COVID-19: Negative test requirement for people arriving in England delayed until next week | UK News

People arriving in England will have to prove they have tested negative for coronavirus from Monday – not Friday as originally planned, the government has announced.

“To give international arrivals time to prepare passengers will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure to England from MONDAY 18 JANUARY at 4am,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a tweet on Wednesday.

The scheme was originally due to begin at 4am on Friday 15 January.

Under the new rules, passengers arriving in England by plane, boat or train will need to have taken a coronavirus test within the previous 72 hours.

Those who fail to comply will face an immediate £500 fine.

The regulations also apply to returning UK nationals, but not to those entering from Ireland, any other part of the UK, the Falkland Islands, Ascension and St Helena.

Those landing from Antigua, Barbuda, St Lucia and Barbados do not require a negative test result on arrival until 4am on 21 January. After that date, the same rules apply.

Hauliers, children under the age of 11 and those travelling or assisting someone who needs urgent medical care are exempt.

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Announcing the changes last week Transport Minister Robert Courts said: “Both globally and domestically we are seeing significant increases in levels of coronavirus, including the emergence of worrying new strains.

“It is therefore imperative that we ensure we are doing all we can to protect travel, reduce the risk of imported infections, including from new variants, and protect our NHS while national lockdown and vaccinations take effect.

“We already have strong safeguards in place, including a requirement for mandatory 10-day self-isolation for the vast majority of arrivals and our Travel Corridors system remains critical in managing the risk of imported cases from high-risk countries.

“However, as a result of increasing instances of COVID-19 around the world, including the emergence of new variants, we are now taking additional steps to add a further layer of protection to safeguard public health.”

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US protests with armed Trump supporters planned for next week: FBI

“I don’t want to use the expression that we’re comparing apples to oranges,” Plati said, but the event is planned over a year with contingencies, and they anticipate the possibility of extreme violence.

Biden himself hasn’t expressed concern about his own security at the inauguration.

“I’m not afraid of taking the oath outside,” he told reporters Monday. “It is critically important that there’ll be a real serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage — that they be held accountable.”

Trump has approved an emergency declaration for Washington that lasts through January 24, the White House said.

The declaration states that “an emergency exists” in DC and orders federal assistance to supplement the DC’s response efforts.

It authorises Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.

There are several signs that the violence is not over.

The FBI has warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington DC in the days leading up to the inauguration.

This comes as Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf gave notice of his resignation, the latest senior Trump administration official to resign following last week’s deadly mob attack on the Capitol.

Wolf announced his resignation was effective as of midnight, Washington time, a decision he said was prompted by several court rulings challenging the validity of his appointment to lead the department.

Wolf did not specifically cite the storming of the Capitol, attributing his choice to “recent events”.

“Unfortunately, this action is warranted by recent events, including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary,” Wolf said in a statement. “These events and concerns increasingly serve to divert attention and resources away from the important work of the department in this critical time of a transition of power.”

Trump supporters scaling the wall of the US Capitol. The attack on the Capitol resulted in the death of five people.Credit:AP

An internal FBI bulletin warned that, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s January 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press. Investigators believe some of the people are members of some extremist groups, the officials said. The bulletin was first reported by the American ABC.

“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said, according to one official. The officials were not authorised to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The talk of armed marches next week isn’t limited to “radicalized” Trump supporters. State capital events on January 17 appear to be promoted by supporters of the anti-government, pro-gun “boogaloo” movement. Boogaloo followers want a second civil war or the collapse of society, and they don’t adhere to a coherent political philosophy.

Posts on social media sites have also promoted a “Million Militia March” on the day of Biden’s inauguration.

Army General Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters on Monday, US time, that the Guard is also looking at any issues across the country.

“We’re keeping a look across the entire country to make sure that we’re monitoring, and that our Guards in every state are in close coordination with their local law enforcement agencies to provide any support requested.”

He said up to 15,000 National Guard members could be deployed in Washington during the presidential inauguration.

The National Guard would bring their weapons to Washington and carry them based on discussions with the FBI, police and other agencies.

“Obviously, we’re very concerned that we want our individuals to have the right to self-defence,” the general said. “And so, that will be an ongoing conversation, and if the senior leadership determines that that’s the right posture to be in, then that is something that we will do.”


There are at least eight investigations into 17 Capitol Police officers related to the pro-Trump mob insurrection, a House aide familiar with the investigations told Washington news site CQ Roll Call.

Three Capitol Police officers are currently suspended with pay, the aide said, adding that it is unclear whether those suspensions are related to the eight investigations.

There are also investigations into social media posts and social media activity of Capitol Police officers.

AP, Washington Post, Reuters, McClatchy

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Residents urged to stay inside after second industrial blaze in Laverton North in a week

An emergency Watch and Act message is in place for Laverton North, with a wind change between 9pm and 10pm expected to push smoke towards the north-east.


Residents of Dohertys Road, Fitzgerald Road, Federation Trail and Maria Street have been told to take shelter indoors, close all windows and doors and turn off cooling systems.

Emergency Management Victoria has also advised residents to bring their pets inside to protect them from the effects of the smoke.

It’s the second industrial blaze in the area in a week, after a blaze in a large pile of metal and debris in Fitzgerald Road in Laverton North last Monday.

About 80 firefighters fought the 35-square-metre fire which threatened nearby buildings on the site.

The steel recycler was the subject of two fines totaling $16,000 fine after a fire at its Dandenong South plant in 2019.

Investigators found the facility, on Redgum Drive, had been accepting plasma cutting dust.

“[Plasma cutting dust] is a category C contaminated waste under EPA’s industrial waste regulations,” EPA investigator Steven Pugh said in January 2020, when the fines were issued.

“Category C waste must only be stored, transported and treated under strict controls by an EPA-licensed facility, and Norstar Recycling’s Dandenong South plant is not licensed to receive that type of waste,” he said.

One of the fines was also due to a failure to fix issues with the site’s stormwater management facilities.

“Stormwater management at any industrial site plays an important part in ensuring contaminants are not discharged to neighbouring properties or nearby waterways,” he said.

The Norstar Steel Recyclers group also owns plants in Reservoir and Bayswater North.

Those who have been exposed to smoke should seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024. Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call Triple Zero.

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A Week Into Full Brexit, the Pain for U.K. Businesses Has Arrived

“The things which are proving problematic are the things that we expected to be problematic,” Ms. Jones said. “So for goods, it’s all about the speed and accuracy with which people are preparing the right paperwork.”

Many U.K. businesses — at least 150,000, according to data from Britain’s tax agency — have never traded beyond the European Union, and so have no experience dealing with the customs systems.

The situation in Northern Ireland is an added wrinkle. Northern Ireland will remain partially in the European Union’s single market, an exception that avoids a border with the Republic of Ireland but creates a border in the Irish Sea. Logistics experts say the Trader Support Service, a free government service to help companies complete customs forms to send goods from England, Wales and Scotland to Northern Ireland, has been overwhelmed.

Some businesses anticipated cross-border problems with Europe, and filled warehouses with stockpiled goods — auto parts and pharmaceuticals, for example — before the end of the Brexit transition period. That has kept cross-border shipments at a fraction of their normal level so far. Over the next few weeks, as those stockpiles run down, business activity will pick up, exacerbating delays.

Another new problem faced by large retailers with international locations: “Rules-of-origin requirements,” which determine whether a product leaving Britain is “British enough” to qualify for tariff-free trade with the European Union. International retailers who use sites in Britain as distribution centers are now finding that they can’t automatically re-export their products to their stores in the European Union without facing tariffs — even if the product came from the bloc.

For example, a company could not import jeans from Bangladesh or cheese from France into a hub in England and then send it on to a store in Ireland without facing export tariffs. The British Retail Consortium said at least 50 of its members face such tariffs. Debenhams, a large but now bankrupt chain of department stores, shut down its Irish website because of confusion over trade rules.

As companies scramble to catch up to the rule changes, the question is: What does Britain do with the sovereignty and freedom it has secured from leaving the European Union? The government has to decide how much it wants to diverge from Europe’s rules, where it might want to deregulate, and if it wants to pay the price for that.

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ASX's first week of 2021 ends on high note

ASX traders’ first week of 2021 produced the best gains in eight weeks, but the coronavirus threat remains after a more infectious strain entered Australia.

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